Nearly 100 of the car wash industry’s leading female participants and the people who support them gathered for the first ICA Women’s Leadership Experience, held November 14-15 in Chicago.

“It was amazing to see women come together and share our experiences in a judgment free space,” said Lacey Curry, car wash leader for Baltimore, MD-based Royal Farms Car Wash. “I can’t wait until next year.”

The event kicked off with an evening welcome reception to provide attendees with an opportunity to connect with one another and set the tone for the event. “We all experience very similar things,” said Danni Reeves, multi-site manager for Breeze Thru Car Wash with locations in Colorado and Wyoming. “To have those open conversations and meet others in the industry is a great opportunity. I’ve had more of a learning opportunity here than I have had at a lot of shows I’ve attended.”

A full day of focused education featured sessions on Attracting and Retaining Women in the Car Wash Industry, Differences in Gender Communication Styles, and a facilitated panel of female leaders in the industry. “The speakers were an inspiration as to what women can achieve if they work for it and do not let anyone say they can’t,” said Zips multi-site manager Rebecca Maass.

“This has exceeded my expectations,” said Katie Balash, president and CEO of Vaughan Industries. “To see nearly 100 people at the inaugural event reflects that the industry needs this sort of education.”

“Based on the feedback we’re receiving, we’re already looking at ways to extend the experience,” said ICA COO Claire Moore. “We’re excited for the opportunity to bring this segment of the industry together.”