Name: Vicki Bowman, CMP, CED, CSEP
Company: VB Group Marketing & Event Resources
City, State: Palatine, Ill.
Years in the Industry: 19 (coming up on 20 in April)
How did you first get involved in the industry?
I started in 2003 at MCI in a sales support role and within 5 months, I was promoted to Marketing Manager. It was a whirlwind move and I felt like I finally found my “home”. The people both inside MCI and in the industry were inspiring leaders and always challenging me – I truly grew up professionally there.
Who has inspired your career?
So many leaders. Ana Budisin and Patricia Ziska of MCI took me under their wings early on and were my original role models of what it was to be a strong women in a traditionally man’s world of the bus industry. There were many others along the way though – other OEM’s had women in leadership and I may not have interacted with them as much as my own team but I watched and learned from – Debbie Piner, Brenda Borwege and Lindy Norris. Lynn Brewer of ABA was a huge inspiration for me as well as Elizabeth Hall, Erin Ducharme, Michelle Wiltgen and Gladys Gillis.
What has been the greatest challenge/opportunity in your career?
The greatest challenge for me for many years was finding my voice and learning when/how to use it. I have never been quiet about my ambitions, my confidence in what I feel are my strong skills and my work ethic. What I have learned is to listen first, observe and proceed with intentional focus. I have a true confidence after all these years that is a result of the support and guidance of my mentors – both men and women – and professional maturity. Also, COVID was a blessing in disguise for mere; it created the opportunity I needed to be nudged out from the security of my role and into a situation I had dreamed of living for years. I am blessed to have a strong, supportive, team of incredible women who work side by side with me at VB Group and I could not be happier with this new chapter in my career.
What advice would you give to others about working in this industry?
Be patient but focused. Have goals but set the bar high. Then do the work. Network by giving your time to projects and organizations related to your work (like WIB) to bring in the broader perspective and build genuine relationships in the industry. The foundation of success to me is a supportive network of peers that are earned by leaving a little fingerprint of yourself on everything you touch. Lastly, remember that there is more value in helping others shine than always making sure you are the one who shines.
Why is it important for you to belong to Women in Buses Council?
These women are sitting in the exact same seat as I am. Building their own legacies and working hard not just for themselves, but to clear the way and lay the groundwork for the generations of women behind us. They combine education, networking and giving opportunities to shine to the women who chose to call this industry home. WIB has been a blessing to me – especially these last few years. As my term as Marketing Chair comes to a close, I hope to become more involved in the other committees of WIB and ABA to continue connecting, learning and growing.