Lyn St. James, a seven-time Indianapolis 500 participant, and Beth Paretta, a former automotive executive and current owner of the Paretta Autosport IndyCar team, have launched Women in Motorsports North America (WIMNA), a community of professionals supporting opportunities for women across all disciplines of motorsport, the organization announced.
By creating an inclusive, resourceful environment, the 501 (c)(3) charity looks to foster mentorship, advocacy, education and growth to help ensure a successful and effective future for women in professional motorsports roles, the organization said
Planning for the organization was initiated in the summer of 2021 when Lyn St. James, the seven-time Indy 500 driver and recent inductee into the Automotive Hall of Fame, contacted Beth Paretta, former automotive executive and current IndyCar Team Owner of Paretta Autosport.
St. James and Paretta began collaborating on the creation of the organization in 2017. Together they contacted a team of about 40 other women currently working as professionals in motorsport, along with some male allies, and a working group was formed in August 2021 to advance the idea to reality.
“There has long been a need for a place where all the professional women working in motorsports can come together to collaborate and elevate their opportunities,” said St. James. “Beth and I had spoken about this subject on a number of occasions, and we decided to develop a platform and bring in some of the many talented professionals currently employed in the sport to join committees and build a charity to be a place women could go for resources who want to work in motorsports.”
“We are proud to have such a strong, varied working group of professional women and men who have helped shape our purpose and strategy. Our strength is in our members and the breadth of their perspectives across many disciplines including engineers, drivers, team management, PR/marketing, track operations, sponsor relations and event promotions,” said Paretta. “As we strive to increase opportunities for women to work in motorsports, WIMNA will be a resource for people considering or advancing their careers. The organization will help us all work together to identify, train, and support new talent to continue to produce a pipeline of future experts in our sport.”
The goal of the WIMNA is to encourage, support and mentor more women to pursue careers in motorsport, educate about the sport and the types of careers that can be found, communicate how the motorsports industry can better reach, encourage and attract women to roles, as well as advocate and inspire more programs be created, St. James and Paretta said. Additionally, the organization was awarded a 501 (c)(3) charity status and will support scholarships, mentorship programs and internships for women.