By Amanda Gubbins
Dan Kahn became the chairman of the Young Executives Network (YEN) July 1. “I’ve been a member for probably a decade but became actively involved about three years ago,” he says.
Kahn has been involved in the automotive aftermarket his entire adult life, working his way through high school at a speed shop before discovering a passion for communications and journalism, which he studied in college. Kahn found ways to incorporate these skills in the automotive industry, writing and editing automotive publications throughout college and landing a job at Petersen Publishing immediately out of school. When the Internet took off, Kahn made the transition to digital media and eventually moved into public relations and marketing in the automotive industry.
Five years ago, Kahn started Kahn Media—a firm that helps brands in the aftermarket communicate directly with consumers by assisting with marketing, public relations and social media strategy. “It’s a rewarding challenge—we get to work with legendary brands and promote incredible products on the traditional side of the industry while helping them find the cutting edge of communication,” he says.
Kahn first started to plug into YEN when he was featured in a “Member of the Month” article. After meeting some of the network leadership and seeing the kinds of things they were doing, Kahn was appointed to an open seat on the Select Committee. “I got involved on the communication side and really had a good time. Being new to the Select Committee, I was fortunate to have worked with Lee McGuire (immediate past chair). She really understands the ins and outs of the network and showed me how to get the most out of my volunteer experience,” Kahn says.
From Kahn’s perspective, YEN is important because it helps bridge the gap between generations to keep the industry strong. For some, there is uncertainty about the next generation of employees and leaders and a fear about where the industry is headed. YEN offers an environment where the next generation of industry leaders can learn from a diverse group of people.
“My goal for the next two years is to help the industry see young executives as the next wave of business leaders. We will continue to provide great programs and a platform for young executives,” says Kahn.
A couple of YEN programs that highlight this goal are Launch Pad—an opportunity for individuals to pitch their business ideas and gain feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, and the Member Activation Program—a chance to explore new possibilities by partnering with other councils and spending time with their Select Committees.