AVONDALE, Ariz. - Over 400 industry professionals gathered at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 7-8 to participate in Women in Motorsports North America’s (WIMNA) Women with Drive III Summit - Driven by Mobil 1.
Drivers, team owners, presidents of racing series, track owners, engineers, mechanics, medical staff, communications professionals, students, male allies and others were in attendance.
Within the first few hours of the summit, several key themes began to emerge.
Following a warm welcome from Lyn St. James, Beth Paretta and Cindy Sisson, the conference opened with a keynote discussion with Gregory Strategy Group founder and Sonoma Raceway General Manager Jill Gregory and NASCAR President Steve Phelps.
Phelps set a powerful tone for the event, detailing the intentionality behind a host of recent changes made by NASCAR.
“It’s not change for change's sake; it's change that drives the sport forward," Phelps said.
Gregory tackled the topic of "badassery," another theme carried throughout the event.
"Seeing everybody in this room, I think whether you call it being a badass, having no fear…you just have to have faith in what you're doing and your strategy, whatever that is," Gregory said.
"As long as you know the goal, you can put your badass tendencies to work."
The first-panel discussion titled, "Building a Community” and presented by Hagerty, addressed the theme of community.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” Mobil 1 Automotive Brands & Partnership Manager Ryan B. Allen said, quoting a popular African proverb.
The themes of embracing change, fostering community, and unashamedly claiming the "badass" label were carried throughout the remainder of the summit.
The two-day summit boasted an impressive lineup of over 80 panelists, presenters and speakers.
“The Women with Drive Summit Driven by Mobil 1 is a must-attend event, whether you are a driver, team owner, motorsports journalist, engineer, etc., regardless of gender,” Taylor Fern said.
"I find the stories shared throughout the two days are profound, relatable, informative, and empowering. Aside from the great networking, the event truly makes you feel a part of a community capable of accomplishing many great things."
Fern is an accomplished racecar driver, third-year law student and Operations Manager at The Sam Bernstein Law Firm.
The recent accomplishments of many members of the WIMNA community were celebrated on stage after Day 1. Julie Jorgenson received the Busch Light Accelerate Her Contingency Award after amassing 478 points in the program's bespoke points system.
"It has been very cool to work hard even to get more than just the track championship at Elko,” Jorgenson said. “So being able to have, you know, that title and then this title as well has skyrocketed my confidence.”
For her efforts, she was awarded $125,000 toward her racing program. This year’s nominees for the Jostens SHEro Award were also recognized.
Powertrain Engineer at NASCAR R&D Abigail Hempy received the WIMNA National SHEro Award. Jostens' Vice President of the Motorsport Division, Curt Bruns, presented Hempy with a custom WIMNA necklace and the charge to "continue to be courageous, bold and badass."
Attendees were asked to submit three words that describe what WIMNA represents.
"We are a community…that's the No. 1 word selected," Sisson said.
The words "change" and "badassery” were also prominently featured.
On the summit's final day, Sisson took to the stage to announce that Women with Drive IV will be hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2024, and Mobil 1 will continue to be the presenting partner.
Penske Entertainment Chief Talent Officer Kristin Weeden accepted the summit's torch from Phoenix Raceway President Latasha Causey, who was represented on stage by her predecessor Julie Giese.
“We’ve got big shoes to fill in terms of what we experienced here,” said Weeden.
On the first day, it was announced that the student who collected the most business cards during the summit would receive a prize.
Danielle Irey took full advantage. As the winner, Irey became the first to receive a complimentary admission to next year's summit.
"Attending the Women with Drive III Summit was a great experience, especially as a student very close to graduation,” Irey said. "Hearing from all of these women and networking with professionals and fellow students helped give me the confidence to continue my journey in the motorsports industry.
“Cindy Sisson and Lyn St. James are true embodiments of Women with Drive, and I am honored to have shared the room with them and every other person in attendance. Women with Drive is an event that I believe every woman in the industry should attend, and I cannot wait to attend next year's summit in Indianapolis."
Sisson went on record to set a goal for attendance at next year’s summit, shooting for 800 participants in 2024.
Sisson’s only request is that you register early. There is a high chance you will receive a warm and personalized welcome from Sisson in your inbox shortly after you do.
To learn more about the Women with Drive III – Driven by Mobil 1, please visit: http://www.womenwithdrivesummit.com
For more about WIMNA, visit: https://womeninmotorsportsna.com/
LinkedIn: Women in Motorsports North America
Women in Motorsports North America is a community of professional women and men devoted to enabling opportunities for women across all motorsport disciplines. Founded as a 501c3 in April 2022, WIMNA is quickly establishing its positive impact on motorsports, supporting and creating resources that enable women drivers, technicians, engineers, operations staff, business-related, media, and more to thrive in the industry. Best known for its Women with Drive Summit held each year, WIMNA also provides resources, mentorship, coaching, career connections, and more. Learn more at www.womeninmotorsportsna.com.
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Cindy Sisson, Executive Director, WIMNA