Be a Part of Parking History
Women In Parking Group Sets Inaugural Conference
By Colleen M. Niese
Researchers asked a large sampling of Ohioans and Californians to rate their overall happiness with living in their respective states. The research team had to predict which state was going to score higher before the results were submitted. Not surprisingly, most team members assumed that California would yield a higher number of happy residents when compared with Ohio. However, while Ohioans did note the weather as a negative aspect (Californians listed cost of living), the overall happiness rating was dead-even between the residents of the two states.
The researchers weren’t really evaluating who was happier so much as how their perceptions played a role in their decisions. This was one of a number experiments that Daniel Kahneman, author of “Thinking Fast and Slow,” conducted over a decade to learn how the brain’s two different thought patterns affect our decisions and overall relationships, both personal and professional.
This line of work, which continues to expand into all sorts of different disciplines, is one pillar of Julie Winterich’s opening keynote address at the inaugural Women In Parking (WIP) Conference. The one-day event, March 20, follows the Parking Industry Exhibition 2014 at the same Chicago-area venue, the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL.
Winterich, an Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology at Guilford College, also has been involved, for the past 20 years, in research projects that have yielded rich data in the area of gender bias and how it can play out in the workplace when it comes to development, promotion and retention.
In her address, Winterich will share her insights on the issue, so that the WIP attendees can increase self-awareness when it comes to building and sustaining business relationships. This session alone promises attendees a unique learning lesson in how to question inherent perceptions related to managing others, working on teams and enhancing individual leadership effectiveness.
Her keynote talk, “Gender Trends in the Workplace Today,” will set the stage for what will be a first-ever one-day event: bringing together parking professionals from all spectrums to discuss and actively plan how our industry can advance women to improve diversity (not just for diversity’s sake) and take advantage of what such workplace diversity has proven to bring – increased financial results, an enriched corporate culture, and career satisfaction for all individuals concerned.
Winterich’s session will be followed by two highly interactive panel discussions: “Building and Planning Your Personal Wealth” and “Women In Parking Member Benefits Review.”
Facilitating the Personal Wealth session will be Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor Rebecca Krutko and Jennifer Elskes, an Estate Planning and Probate Attorney with the law firm of Stephenson, Snokhous & Fournier. Attendees can look forward to learning more about how to plan for the future from a financial perspective, regardless of age or economic status. This session promises to reveal all sorts of practical tips that attendees can put immediately to use.
The Member Benefits Review, hosted by the WIP Leadership Board, will ask for feedback from attendees specifically related to the collective group’s career and networking objectives and priorities. This interactive discussion will play a key role as part of the Board’s short- and long-term strategic planning.
The other day on NPR, I heard a researcher who was trying to figure out why the top engineering universities had a 10-1 ratio of male vs. female graduates over the past several years. His conclusion, while simple, spoke volumes: Younger females have less access to female engineers as role models because there are fewer female engineers to follow.
Which brings us to the topic of the inaugural WIP Conference’s closing keynote speaker, Melissa Raczak: “Promoting Diversity Within the Workplace.”
Raczak started her career working in parking for a national brand, before relocating to The Netherlands as a Business Consulting Director for Deloitte, leading transformative programs globally within the cable industry for the past several years. Her aspiration is to further help other professional women to be successful, by working with Women to the Top type of programs across Europe.
During her session, Raczak will share her insights and experiences on creating diversity within leadership teams to drive improved work product and customer service. Given her background in parking, Raczak can partner leadership principles with practical, industry-specific examples to ensure that attendees gain realistic on-the-job application throughout her presentation.
The inaugural WIP Conference promises plenty of opportunities for all attendees to leverage one of the core member benefits: networking. The event actually kicks off March 19 with a cocktail reception and dinner, so that all will have ample time to make connections that could support both personal development and business growth.
The one-day conference itself, March 20, will provide additional networking chances at both breakfast and lunch for parking professionals to catch up and make plans for future engagements.
Attend the inaugural WIP Conference to learn and improve your career, all while being a part of parking history – the first of many WIP annual events where parking professionals gather to discuss and act on advancing female careers within the industry.
The 2014 Women in Parking Conference conveniently follows the
this year’s annual PIE Show. For more information and to register, go to www.womeninparking.com.
Colleen M. Niese is Chairperson of Women In Parking
and a Principal at The Marlyn Group. Contact her at
Article Abstract from January, 2014