After a three-year hiatus, the Detroit Auto Show is back, and I was lucky enough to attend Friday night’s Charity Preview. It did not disappoint.

The charity portion of the auto show is expected to raise about $3 million for six local children’s organizations. This is an incredible thing we’ve seen happen at past auto shows.  But there were also some big changes.

It was smaller. The event was held on a very balmy September for the first time — not a frigid Michigan January. I loved not having to worry about an ice storm or snow.  Given that I was representing ParkMyFleet, it was great seeing so much innovation. There were plenty of EVs, of course.

The mobility startups took center stage, positioned side-by-side with the big-name auto companies instead of being relegated to the basement as they have in past years. 

The best part of this event was engaging — in person — with so many of my industry connections, including Scott Mullan and Steve Patton of EY and seeing Chris Thomas and Jessica Robinson again from Assembly Ventures

The glitzy event is often and aptly dubbed the auto “prom.”

Being a mom and a high-powered executive is a constant delicate balancing act

While I would’ve loved to stay until the end — I had to be back home by 9:30 pm to host about 50 marching band students from my son’s high school and about 15 parents.

To pull off both events meant shopping for a corn hole set (always a crowd pleaser) and 20 pounds of halal chicken — as well as all the other food — earlier in the week so my son could whip up the fajitas and salad he had planned for the night. 

Before I headed to the auto show, I strung a bunch of LED lights in the backyard, lugged and set up several tables, and arranged the games and drinks so that everything was ready to go when I walked in the door.

My son’s party — hours of dancing, food, games, and hanging out — was a success. At the end of it, I did some cleanup and went to bed by 2:30 am. Whew!

Even now that my kids are getting older, playing both mom and high-powered executive never stops being a delicate balancing act.

It means working a day job and a 24/7 parenting job — a juggling act that I know many can relate to.  Yet, even on hectic nights like Friday, I managed to get everything into place and enjoy a fantastic evening.

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