"Women Driving Excellence" at Chicago Auto Show (Video!)

I love looking at cars, sort of, but I do know that women are the most influential when it comes time to make the decision for a new car for the family. According to Forbes, women influence more than 85 percent of car sales. Additionally, Forbes states that women have full or partial say over a staggering $80 billion worth of spending on cars and now represent 52 percent of new car buyers in the U.S. which is why "Women's Day" and "Women Driving Excellence" were such great ideas at the Chicago Auto Show!

ChicagonistaLive, a live-streamed monthly show hosted by Beth Rosen, MJ Tam, Nancy Loo, David Grotto and Duong Sheahan, presented a fun-filled day of activities for the ladies plus an incredible awards show, Women Driving Excellence, that honored eight inspiring women recently at McCormick Place during Women's Day.  The event debuted last year and was a hit from the start.  It attracted mostly women, but this year, it was a very mixed, appreciative crowd who oohed and aahed over the opening performance.  Students from St. Therese Chinese Catholic School presented an exciting and colorful Lion & Ribbon dance in celebration of the Chinese New Year that had the crowd snapping away on their I-phones.  It was a great start to a sleepy morning and put everyone on notice that this event wasn't your grandma's knitting party.   

Held on a Nissan sponsored stage, the event began with a welcome from Beth Rosen and MJ Tam.  Emcee Anupy Singla (WDE 2013 honoree, darling author of www.IndianasApplePie.com ), presented the 2014 honorees.  They included Karyn Calabrese (restaurateur/wellness expert/author);  Mary Couzin (CEO/founder of Chicago Toy and Game); Jory DesJardins, Elisa Camahort Page and Lisa Stone (www.BlogHer.com  founders, which is an AWESOME blog!) ; Susanna Jung (president and CEO of Price Futures Group); Sherren Leigh (CEO/founder Today's Chicago Woman Mag, one of my very favorites--so wonderfully Chicago-centric); and Natalie Martinez (NBC Chicago reporter).  

 After hearing the inspiring words from these honorees, the crowd was energized by fitness guru Andrea Metcalf.  She had everyone "stand, stretch and connect."  Stars of the hit musical "Phantom of the Opera", Ben Jacoby and Julia Udine, sang tunes from the production and fans clamored for photos with the dynamic duo following their appearance.  They were so cute AND so talented!   Miss Lori, a popular, nationally recognized family TV host with a HUGE presence, performed songs of love in honor of Valentine's Day. (Check out her website here!).

The 2014 Chicago Auto Show's "First Look for Charity" raised more than $2.3 million for 18 local charities.  Congrats to ALL!

Check out the fun from a past Auto Show below on Watch312.com !  (Fab fotos courtesy of Mila Samokhina and Travis Haughton

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