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RVWA Hosts Third Annual Open House Breakfast

RV Women's Alliance

One thing was clear Tuesday morning at the Open House breakfast hosted by the RV Women’s Alliance (RVWA) – good networking means many things, but it starts with “knowing and owning what you bring to the table.”

And with every table filled by RV industry professionals – some at their first RVWA gathering, plus a few from outside industries – it was standing room only for the third annual event.

Susan Carpenter
RVWA President Susan Carpenter with some opening remarks.

The alliance’s President Susan Carpenter kicked off the morning at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana, by thanking Jessica Rider, current managing director, as she passes the baton to her successor Patricia “Trish” Carrera.

“Jessica was the perfect person to serve as our first managing director. Her management of the organization, operational expertise and work with the board of directors helped set the groundwork for the long-term success of our organization,” Carpenter previously said in a release.

“Trish comes to us with incredible experience delivering value to members and partners, while harnessing the power of volunteers – something that is very important to the success of (RVWA).”

Trish Carrera

Next on the agenda was a talk from Susan Tybon, president and CEO of YWCA North Central Indiana, who touched on the upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

“21% of the population’s workforce is dealing with domestic violence or sexual assault,” Tybon said. For the 1 in 4 women facing these situations at home, oftentimes work is the only place to escape.

“Teach what you can do to help your employees,” she said. “What are you doing in your workplace to show employees this is a safe space to talk about domestic violence?”

One recommendation was having posters in public bathrooms with info about the YWCA Safe Haven hotline – 866-YES-YWCA.

Breakfast then pivoted to its final activity, a “Networking with Purpose” training led by Lippert leadership directors Bill Coughlin and Rachel Lindvall. The interactive talk gave attendees a chance to learn about others’ job experience and tackle a hypothetical situation with their table “teams.”

RVWA breakfast
The meeting featured a fun exercise focused on networking and connecting with others.

“Networking often feels like you have to sell yourself,” Coughlin said. “But the power of networking is learning, growing and sharing ideas. What’s your greatest strength and how do you share that with someone else?”

“Sometimes we have to look outside of our four walls,” he said. “How many of you would feel honored if someone from another company asked for your opinion? We have to open our minds and can’t surround ourselves with only people who think just like us.”

RVWA will host its annual Education Symposium on Oct. 11-13 in Chicago.

Open House week stays open through Thursday morning.

Jordan Benschop

Jordan Benschop is the managing editor of RV PRO magazine.

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