These boots are made For driving. Cars and careers.
By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara
“When is the last time you got your boots dirty?” Emily Miller, founder of Rebelle Rally, a women-only off-road competition, said to the crowd gathered for Women’s Day at The Chicago Auto Show, as she changed into her desert dusty boots.
Miller has worn many boots over the years, from major event planner to off-road driver winning races around the world, Rebelle Rally Founder, and inspirational speaker. This driven, determined woman was once in a car for 22 hours without getting out!
I was also beyond impressed that she didn’t begin racing until age 30, beating both age and gender barriers and biases.
As she changed from professional shoes into her off-road boots, a powerful visual launch for her talk, this tiny but mighty woman gave one of the most inspiring speeches I’ve heard, full of life lessons and encouraging words. Check out my Facebook live video of her speech right here.
Learning to Become Master of the Road
Miller has taught thousands of men and women to push past their comfort zone to become masters of the road, both in their personal and professional lives.
I was particularly struck by her trajectories on how most women learn a new skill, like off-road racing, versus how most men learn. Women tend to ask intelligent questions, take copious notes, and begin cautiously, but make a steady climb.
Men tend to bring ego to the table and want to jump right in, crash and burn, return with a bit more caution, still balk at listening to direction, and proceed in an up and down wave.
Overcoming the Stigma of Being a Woman In the Auto Industry
She was also adamant that women make great drivers, and not to let self-doubt or bullying stop a smart, determined woman’s forward momentum, on the road or in the workplace.
It was truly a treat to meet Emily Miller, and her presentation was an excellent addition to The Chicago Auto Show’s Women’s Day.
Back in the “bad old days,” women at auto shows were basically relegated to being glorified hood ornaments in bikinis and high heeled shoes. Thankfully, in 2018, women are firmly in the driver’s seat, making inroads in racing, automotive manufacturing and design, and driving the majority of car purchasing decisions for American families.
Women have given past stereotypes the boot, and we’re driving toward an enlightened, more egalitarian future.
This post was written by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara, a Chicago-based writer and founder of ChilLMama