I am sharing advice from some of the top females in the automotive industry from the exclusive 2017 Heels & Wheels event in Portland, Oregon.
“You’re so lucky.”
“You have the best job ever.”
“I SO want to be you when I grow up”….these are just a few things I hear when people learn that I drive a new car almost every week.
I’ve loved cars and trucks, actually anything with four wheels, since birth. I had more Hotwheels and Matchbox cars than LEGOs or dolls. By age 6 my Dad was teaching me how to drive from his lap, and by 10 I was driving on private dirt roads in the country. Mom would say if they weren’t able to find me in the house or the yard, I’d be sitting in one of our cars pretending to drive across the country. My passion for automotive runs deep.
Recently, I attended one of my favorite automotive events 2017 Heels & Wheels. Ironically, I met the founder Christine Overstreet at a media launch I attended in San Diego. I was one of three female journalists out of 20-30 attendees. The other journalists treated us as if we were invisible. A year later I attended my first Heels & Wheels, and fell in love with the atmosphere.
H&W is my baby because I would look around at events and see women in the back. Men snickering because of the questions they would ask, or not understanding things in a technical way. Yet – we (women) don’t always need a car for its “car” value.
We don’t necessarily need to know the HP or torque. We are curious about safety, features, how it drives, usability. Not saying I don’t love me 575 hp, but as a daily driver – I need to know what fits my lifestyle. So, hosting women every other year, gives us all a place to ask those questions and try out cars how we will use them in our lives as moms, as business owners – as whatever our life path determines our specific need. No one judges, no one eye rolls – we all come together and have a very enjoyable time, testing vehicles that we would consider to showcase to like women and provide them useful information. Christine Overstreet, Overstreet Events
Instead of telling you about the AMAZING vehicles I drove (Aston Martin, Lexus LC500,Jaguar F-type, etc.), I thought I’d share some words of wisdom from other attendees. I asked each of them for some advice for women that want to enter the automotive industry.
When asked to share some advice with a woman just entering the industry…
“No one knows everything at the start so don’t be intimidated about asking questions. It’s how you learn.” Nicole Wakelin, Contributor The Boston Globe
“Seek out a woman mentor in the automotive industry (in-house, agency, PR, product planner, etc.) and have regular, ongoing meetings/conversations with her as you navigate the automotive world.” Marissa Borjon, Mazda PR
“Be authentic. I’m tired of people all copying each other with the fashion poses. Be original. Also… get involved because you have a passion for AUTO!!! Not because it’s a free car to drive or for hopes on a free press trip. Auto press trips are exhausting and a lot of work but rewarding if you truly care about learning. I’d also recommend talking to auto journalist and getting to know how a lot of this works. My first Heels and Wheels I talked to Sue Mead and a few other traditional auto journalists who took me out in the cars when we drove and actually taught me a lot about the industry and even car terms. ” Jasmine Risso, Simply Real Moms
“Let your passion guide you. Most women I’ve met, whether in the industry or writing about the industry, developed a passion at an early age. Find your fellow “chicks who dig cars” and have a conversation – not just about the cars they love but what path led them to the career they are in.” Fadra Nally, All Things Fadra
“Don’t be ‘that guy’, learn to drive a stick and learn how to drive on a race track. You HAVE to be able to drive a manual transmission.” Jill Ciminillo, MAMA President
Great advice from friends and colleagues that love the automotive industry as much as I do.