Susie Wolff helps inspire women to get into STEM subjects

FORMER F1 test driver Susie Wolff is among the successful Scottish women who will take part in a speed-mentoring session at a conference to inspire women to get into STEM subjects.

Susie Wolff, former F1 driver.
Susie Wolff, former F1 driver.
Susie Wolff, former F1 driver.

Wolffe will be joined by Mamta Singhal, a global toy design engineer and Emma McGuigan, MD for Technology at Accenture UK & Ireland, at the Inspiring Women Conference in Edinburgh this month,

All three will be manning ‘mentor hubs’ for delegates to quiz them in more depth.

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The event itself will tackle leadership and how to overcome adversity for women looking to smash the glass ceiling.

It particularly emphasises the fact that there are the role models in Scotland that students and young business women seeking a STEM career need to inspire them.

In a recent Accenture survey more than two thirds (70 per cent) of girls interviewed still believe that the science and technology sector lacks high-profile female role models.

Wolff made history in July 2014 when she became the first female in 22 years to drive on a Grand Prix Weekend.

A fierce athlete, she has challenged perceptions in the male-dominated sport over the past three years.

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She was featured in Harper’s Bazaar’s November 2015 Daring Issue, which celebrated the most exciting women of 2015 and those who have dared to be different.

When asked what advice she would give a woman starting out in the motorsport industry, she said: “Initially it is about earning the respect of your team or colleagues. Work hard, be dedicated, show your passion and focus on performance.

“Like most industries, motorsport is performance based so if you perform your gender is irrelevant.”

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Another speaker, Mamta Singhal, who has worked for companies including Dyson, Hasbro and Mars, said: “Be determined and driven to make change happen. The big thing I learned was that nothing is constant and adapting to change is fundamental to succeeding in a role and corporate environment. I also learned nothing moves at the rate I expected - whether it is people, processes, product development or clients and anyone who has managed complex projects will know this is a common issue.

“I recall a time when I was a junior engineer in industry where I had 30 or more projects internationally, so learning who worked at different rates and adapting to different cultural styles was a learning curve for me.

“The most exciting time was working with non-European countries like the US and in the Far East and South America; working with those teams taught me a great deal. While at Hasbro, I remember working with a great team in Mexico on Action Man plus working heavily with the Far East on developing board games.

“I only had a few years of work experience at that time but quickly learned to modify my style and flex when necessary. My role at Mars was mostly Europe based but I did travel a lot during those days so I learned to always have a packed suitcase at the ready.”

The Inspiring Women Conference will be held in Edinburgh on March 17.

For more stories on tech and innovation, visit The Scotsman Future Scotland