SEMA Hall of Famers Lead Women’s Roundtable

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Nov. 1, 2017—GiGi Carleton vividly remembers taking part in the very first SEMA Show. Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles. It was 1967, it was outdoors during the winter, and it was cold.

And, she stood out like a sore thumb.

“I was the only girl that was really involved in all of that, with the guys,” Carleton (photographed at middle, above) recalled on Wednesday, at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, while standing in a convention room packed with women who work in the auto industry.

“And now look at it. I think it’s fantastic. I’m so proud of the industry.”

On Wednesday, Carleton helped lead the Women in Leadership Roundtable, powered by SBN. She was joined on the three-person panel by a pair of other SEMA Hall of Fame members: Amy Faulk, and Charlie Van Cleve. During a 90-minute discussion, they imparted their wisdom on the current generation of women in the automotive industry, touching on subjects such as leadership, and achieving a balance between one’s home and work life.

While the industry has largely changed for the better since Carleton, Faulk (at left) and Van Cleve (at right) began their careers, females still face an uphill battle in some respects, the SEMA Hall of Famers noted. And, in many ways, the path to a leadership role hasn’t changed all that much for women, they noted.

“Hard work,” Carleton said, helped her ascend in her career. “And I knew I could do it; I had a lot of confidence in myself.”


Said Van Cleve: “It’s all hard work and perseverance.”


The accomplished women passed along several pieces of advice on Wednesday. The pearls of wisdom included:


-        Seek out intelligent, trustworthy mentors.

-        Strive for having a work/life balance, and leave personal issues at home during the workday.

-        Realize the value of training and education, for both yourself and your employees.

-        Express positivity as much as possible while in the workplace.

-        Be indispensable to your employer, by displaying a peerless work ethic and desire to do less-than-desirable tasks.

-        And, perhaps most importantly, communicate clearly with your coworkers.


“The most important thing,” Faulk noted, “is making sure everybody understands what their job is, what the goal is … and then making sure everybody is committed to it.”


As they looked around the room at the end of their discussion, the SEMA Hall of Famers seemed to share one, final thought:


“I think we should all be proud of this business we’re in,” Carleton declared. “All this didn’t exist 50, 60 years ago.”

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