Cars are for everyone.
That’s how Jennifer Maher sees it. She’s the new CEO of LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma.
“We are working to reimagine what the museum’s experience is all about,” Maher explained. “We are shifting from a visual experience to a hands-on, immersive one that brings visitors coming back repeatedly for family and youth programs, events and special exhibits.”
Maher described the importance of inspiring the next generation of children who are looking for ways to connect to a passion, a hobby, a potential career or, at the very least, a community of like-minded enthusiasts.
That can be done by “delivering opportunities to explore the past, present and future of automotive technology,” Maher said. The museum is organizing STEM education opportunities for students across the region.
“We’re all wired differently,” Maher said. “For many, cars are the connector to friendships, sense of community and, for some, careers. When we find our ‘peeps’ and interests that pique our curiosity, intellect, skills and passion, we find our place in the world.”
Maher has found her place in a male-dominated field. She acknowledges that she stands out at national conferences and conventions, but that could change.
“I find the industry extremely welcoming and excited to welcome more women into it,” Maher said. “It’s time we embrace women’s passion for cars, driving and careers in the automotive industry and get to the point in our storytelling that people no longer see it as a ‘male-dominated’ field.”
The museum is launching two new initiatives—Women Techs Rock and Women Driving Change. The overall plan is for the museum to become “a beacon in Tacoma that is a great community partner, that attracts visitors and drives tourism, that helps to empower schools and educate students and that provides exciting and engaging experiences for people of all ages.”
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