If tyre brands were people, then Michelin would be my best friend. We have done a lot together; we’ve made films about tracks days, gone to Le Mans together, had a passenger ride with Le Mans driver and world champion Allan McNish, tested slicks in Portugal, explored the limits of winter tyres and more. We have enjoyed so many highs and the events I have done with them has complemented my writing, presenting and used car business. Being an automotive social butterfly, they are conducive with my obsession for all things motoring.
Therefore, it was a great honour to be asked to an event not as guest this time but as an integral part of the event, one of the performers if you like. Michelin chose 10 inspirational women to talk to school girls aged 13 to 14 about their careers and education. I was one of those 10 and so headed up to Stoke – on – Trent, the town famous for its pottery, and since 1927 tyres, to inspire the ladies of the future.
Michelin ran this event because they believe in giving something back to the community. It sounds cliché but a company of their size and stature really ought to appreciate the town in which their UK offices are based, and they do. They are also very pro women, which here at Girlracer we love. When I was at school (not sounding old before my years now) we did not enjoy such special attention and did not have the opportunity that young people now have. This event proves that times have changed and young people have more choices.
Inspirational Women included Sara Williams, Chief Executive of North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, our guest speaker, who explained how her career developed from wanting to run museums and ‘be different’ to what the commerce does for local businesses, and that there is one in every town.
Other Inspirational Women included a dentist who set up a practice with her husband, a ‘Detective Superintendent’, an ‘Author’ and a ‘Footballer’. The capacity in which I was in: ‘Business Woman, Motoring Journalist and Racing Driver’, equipped with my most recent three page spread, including front cover photo, about my racing, I was ready to talk to the girls. There were ten tables, consisting of approximately eight girls on each table and we had ten minutes before a horn sounded to move us on to the next table for another ten minutes. It was a kind of speed dating style affair enabling the girls to ask as many questions as possible to get to know our careers and education, hopefully to inspire them and help them with their chosen career paths.
Some of them did not know what they wanted to do yet, which was fine because actually although I have always had direction sometimes that direction has changed and it is important to at least know that you want ‘to be something’; plans can change. Once you know where you want to be, the next stage is to work out how to get there. I encouraged them to stay focused and set themselves goals.
It was an inspiring day for everyone involved and the atmosphere was buzzing with future prospects and existing achievements. Thank you Michelin for inviting me and honouring me with such a title and responsibility in helping young girls of today become successful women of the future.