I was recently invited by Lyn St. James to be the opening key note speaker at the Women with Drive II conference held at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Lyn, the first woman selected as Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, and I met 23 years ago at a Women’s Sports Foundation dinner in NYC. Although Lyn didn’t know anything about sailing and I didn’t know anything about racing cars, we had mutual respect for the excellence we each pursued in our respective sports. This is where our conversation started about creating pathways to advancement for women to reach the highest echelons of competition in each of our sports.
As a coach, mentor and speaker, Lyn has worked tirelessly for more than 30 years to create opportunities for and develop women drivers. Through the Lyn St. James Foundation— setting up clinics, raising sponsorships and promoting young drivers– she has changed the way decision-makers value women behind the wheel and in all areas of the motorsport industry. In 2021 she founded WIMNA (Women in Motorsports North America) with Beth Paretta, CEO/ Team Owner Paretta Autosport to foster mentorship, advocacy, education and growth for women in the motorsport industry.
Lyn St. James at Women with Drive II
You Can’t Be What You Can’t See…
One of the most resonate topics with this audience was the “3-legged stool” concept that I call SEA, necessary for girls and women to excel at anything.
SEE: Possibility and inspiration in others that look like you.
EQUIP/EXPERIENCE: Consistent development and pursuit of excellence
ACCESS/ ALLIES: Enablers for inclusion, participation and competition.
By building bridges at events like WWDII, we create opportunities to learn from one another. The exuberant energy in the room validated for me the power of seeing women excel at the highest level. As we work together to increase women behind the wheel, on the water and in the boardroom, it’s encouraging to see how much we have in common.– LLB