Mentor program inspiring girls in motorsport

Thursday 14 July, 2022
There are plenty of young girls getting mentored by FIA Girls on Track ambassadors and champions.
After a successful opening campaign at this year’s Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix, the Michelin Mentor program is well and truly in full flight.

As part of the Michelin Mentor program, FIA Girls on Track’s Ambassadors and Champions are being paired up with girls who attend Girls on Track events across the country.

The program was launched in April at the Career Development and Mentoring event at Albert Park where the girls were treated to a number of development workshops, a meet and greet with the program’s ambassadors and champions, a tour of the Triple Eight Garage and a three-hour workshop with the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN.

10 lucky girls were then paired with FIA Girls on Track Ambassadors and since then, the mentors have been meeting up with the girls regularly via Zoom to discuss their goals, ambitions, and career aspirations within the motorsport industry.

Some of the ambassadors holding mentor roles include Triple Eight Race Engineering Co-Owner and RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship TV Presenter Jessica Dane and Triple Eight Racing Head of Operations and Technology Romy Mayer.

Having been an ambassador of the overall FIA Girls on Track program since its inauguration in 2018, Mayer believed the new mentoring initiative was a fantastic addition.

“The Girls on Track mentoring program is an amazing opportunity for girls to connect with women in the motorsport industry,” Mayer said.

“Adding incredible value to the next generation by a tailored one-to-one experience with a mentor in the field they would like to pursue a career in.

“The mentee receives direct guidance on their pathways and actionable next steps. Not only will they get to experience firsthand what their future job might be like, they also have the chance to build long lasting relationships with mentors who will guide them on their journey.

“I’m very proud to be a mentor for this unique program.”

With the mentoring program also focused on avenues outside of the racing side of motorsport such as media and commercial, media personalities Emma Notarfrancesco and Nadine Armstrong are also mentoring girls.

An experienced motorsport personality herself, Notarfrancesco was thrilled to be able to help young girls develop into the sport.

“The mentoring program is the perfect way to keep the young women motivated – offering them an additional step after they partake in our Girls on Track event days,” Notarfrancesco added.

“Our program gives girls the opportunity to have one on one time with the ambassadors, whereby they can seek advice and learn more about the industry. Our role is to offer support and assist in creating opportunities.

“We also have the pleasure of watching them embark on their journey in motorsport. It really is a fulfilling initiative and something I’m extremely proud to be involved in.”

While the mentoring program has been a hit for the mentors, it’s been just as effective for the mentees.

Elise Manewell, who has been spending time with Shannen Kiely praised the Erebus Motorsport Managing Director for her leadership.

“I was lucky enough to be selected after the event to be mentored by Shannen and I’ve been able to have Zoom meetings with her where she has given me further guidance on my career,” Manewell said.

“Some of that has ranged from university advice and highlighting roles that I’d be suited to.

“Thank you to the Girls on Track team for this amazing opportunity.”

In addition to the 10 girls to receive mentorships as a result of the program, there have been many other FIA Girls on Track attendees getting real-life experience.

One of those is South Australian Caitlin Neller, who has been doing work experience on two occasions with Champion Courtney Tyler at Jam Motorsport.

Caitlin Neller GOT
"The part that I enjoyed most about the FIA Girls on track Program when I attended in March earlier this year was walking though Jam Motorsport’s workshop because when I walked into the workshop I didn’t feel out of place, it felt like home,” Neller said.

“I found all of the other activities engaging because they were hands on and that suited my learning style.

“To be honest, I am so lucky to have Courtney as my mentor, she has been so supportive and nice to me. Courtney has welcomed me into the world of motorsport with open arms, which showed me that the motorsport industry has so many career opportunities and it doesn’t matter that I’m a girl.

“I feel so lucky and privileged to have this amazing experience with the Jam family because I the more experience that I can get, the easier it is to understand the sport and gain the knowledge to have a job in this industry.

“My goal at the moment is to try to get as much experience as possible in all areas of mechanical engineering in the motorsport industry, and I’m so thankful that Jam Motorsport are welcoming me back so I can do that.”

Click here for more information on the FIA Girls on Track Program.
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