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After recently attending Social RecruitIn, hosted by LinkedIn at the Excel Centre in September I felt a sense of passion and unity after keynote speaker, Susie Wolff spoke about her experience and story of becoming a racing driver.
Wolff made history when she became the first woman in 22 years to drive at a Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone on the 4th of July 2014. She explained that this was a pivotal moment in her career and one that she had set her sights on from a very young age.
Like many industries, motorsports has big rewards and big risks with constant pressure to develop and innovate. For the drivers there is huge pressure to deliver, as such it is important to stay in the moment.
Wolff discussed the importance of teamwork in the industry, particularly when analysing risk. Everything is risk calculated, from strategists spending 7 hours assessing various different approaches and scenarios, in order to react in the moment and to make sure they make the right call. Although Monaco 2015 is a clear example of being prepared but getting it slightly wrong as the decision cost Hamilton first place at the Grand Prix.
Finally she discussed Diversity. Wolf described that she had only ever been in one interview where she wasn’t asked “what’s it like trying to succeed in a male dominated environment.”
She detailed that “when I am out on track you don’t see the driver, you don’t see my gender, the only thing that matters is the time on the stop watch, performance is power, and if you have power you have success.”
However, in a recent interview with the BBC she explained that she will “hang up her helmet” at the end of the season, following her gut feeling to retire from the sport. In a career defined by her passion and demonstrating the importance of building a strong character and dreaming big Wolff said that she does believe women can compete at the highest level in motorsport.
When asked if she had hit a brick wall, she explained “I hit a glass ceiling but I don’t believe that it is just because of my gender. Formula one is the absolute pinnacle of the sport, every driver is fighting to get on that grid, there are very few opportunities and there are many very good drivers who happen to be male that also haven’t made it. I just came to represent much more because I am a woman. “
Susie ended the talk by giving three bits of advice to her audience;
1. Do something you enjoy and you will never have to work a day in your life
2. Follow your gut feeling
3. Dream big
She ended her BBC interview by saying “I do want to start an initiative at some point where I aim to celebrate the women that are there already (behind the scenes) and inspire the next generation to show them that motorsport isn’t just for boys.” Thus far Susie’s career has already inspired many girls to explore motorsport and has proved that she is the perfect role model for young women.
With these steps forward I hope that the in the future women are not interviewed about breaking into a male dominated industry but celebrated for their technical skills and being at the top of their game.