Porsche celebrates women in the driver’s seat during Monterey Car Week

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From left: Dustyn Kim, Christine Simmons, Stephanie Chung, Soon Hagerty, and Ayesha Coker
From left: Dustyn Kim, Christine Simmons, Stephanie Chung, Soon Hagerty, and Ayesha Coker Huesyin Erturk

Among the parade of classic, collector, and new cars that gather at an astounding rate during Monterey Car Week, one can also experience rare moments of self-reflection, inspiration, and motivation. This was certainly the case at the Porsche Zentrum, a one-of-a-kind pop up experience featuring unique artist collaborations, hands-on activations, and a speaker series—all open to the public.

The week’s Porsche theme, Dream in Color, translated to sophisticated displays that played on the brand’s iconic and evolving color palette, paired with an instantly recognizable California cool aesthetic we’ve come to recognize via the Instagram set. The experience felt like a luxurious yet achievable dream and you too could take home a piece of Porsche with you, albeit a pocket-size leather keychain and not a roadster.

The speaker series attracted daytime crowds, with themes touching on design, color matching, and vintage values. The Driven Ambition panel was arguably the most dynamic of the series. Stephanie Chung, Chief Growth Officer of Wheels Up, moderated the panel with enigmatic energy that amped up the live audience. Joining her onstage was Ayesha Coker, Vice President of Marketing for Porsche Cars North America; Christine Simmons, most recently the Chief Operating Officer for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Dustyn Kim, Chief Revenue Officer for Artsy; and our own Soon Hagerty, Senior Vice President of Brand at Hagerty.

From left: Dustyn Kim, Stephanie Chung, Soon Hagerty, Ayesha Coker, and Christine Simmons; Huesyin Erturk

As you can imagine this powerhouse all-female panel had a lot to say. Chung set the theme by asking each woman to talk about how they are living their dreams today and shaping the dreams of others daily. Kim led off by advising the audience to first set “the big fuzzy dream” and rest assured that you can refine it as you go. She also counseled others to ask for help and “make your ambition known.” Her fellow speakers agreed in unison that women need to be better about using their network. Simmons further emphasized the need for “advocates not just allies” in her male colleagues. And above all, Coker asks women to “give yourself some grace” and the flexibility to pivot when things don’t go according to plan.

From left: Stephanie Chung and Soon Hagerty; Huseyin Erturk

When asked what “being driven means to you,” Hagerty said “resilience, confidence, and calm” with a focus on “bringing people together and showing kindness.” Simmons concurred adding one must “listen first” and “have empathy.” “To get someone to sell something for you when they don’t own it, that is real power,” said Simmons.

The panel went on to discuss failure, for Coker “failure is never final.” “I see it as an opportunity, it’s hard to earn something but even harder to keep it.” said Coker. Chung chimed in with a Charles Barkley quote, “If you’re afraid of failure then you don’t deserve success.” Simmons drew cheers when she touted that “you need to create a safe place for failure, otherwise YOU ARE the failure—fail unapologetically.”

Time flew by during this lively discussion and then it was time for questions from the audience. A young woman sitting in front asked “what has been your defining moment?” Hagerty replied with a story about facing failure and turning it into a pivotal opportunity. A former boss had promised her the opportunity to run the company and after many months of training, he pulled the plug last minute. For the first time in her life, she quit without the next job lined up. While it was frightening, she used this moment to finally take the leap into starting her own PR agency.

Lastly when asked what’s next, each panelist echoed themes around helping other women and leaving a legacy. Perhaps a legacy like the one that continues today with Porsche.

President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Kjell Gruner, joined the women on stage afterwards. Huesyin Erturk
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