Nathalie Bauters MINI Communications Manager BMW of North America, LLC>

Nathalie Bauters was appointed as MINI Communications Manager for BMW of North America, LLC, in October 2008. Nathalie joined from Chrysler LLC. While there she was Manager, Product and Marketing Communications with responsibilities for international auto shows and driving events, and before that Marketing Manager for SRT and Motorsports. Nathalie began her career in the auto industry at Chrysler Europe in Brussels, Belgium. She has over 16 years of experience in automotive product and marketing communications. Her responsibilities include communicating all MINI product and technology, marketing, lifestyle activities of the brand. Nathalie is a Belgian citizen, and has lived in the United States for the last 10 years.

HerHighway’s Editor in Chief Christina Selter sat down with Nathalie at the NAIAS in Detroit Michigan for a one on one interview regarding how the automotive industry has opportunities for women and why it is so important for women to seek a career in automotive.

Who have you mentored who did someone mentor you in this industry to help you get started?
I was fortunate to work with wonderful people throughout my career. Prior to joining the automotive industry, I worked in the hotel industry. I had no experience with cars and had no mentor.

As a woman what features are your favorites in a car?
The design of the car, the look and feel, inside and out. A car is very much a lifestyle product and therefore it is important that you enjoy the way it looks, love the way it feels and most importantly enjoy the way it drives. I also believe that it is great to be part of a community – the Jeep and MINI brands have a passionate following here in the US, and attending club events is always a great social experience.

Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for females?
Probably because it is a male dominant environment. Men are typically more car savvy than women, and they often have a more technical/engineering background. It seems that the auto industry in the US is more female friendly in comparison to some other parts of the world.

Why did you want to work in the auto industry?
Because it is a global environment attracting people with multicultural and socially diverse backgrounds. I enjoy racing, and love spending time in the outdoors – the Dodge and Jeep brands were right up my alley.

First automotive job?
PR Assistant to the VP Public Relations, Chrysler Europe in Brussels, Belgium.

Proudest professional achievement?
Organizing Jeep Adventure Africa. Operating with teams from all over the world in a challenging environment (Botswana, Namibia, Zambia) provides satisfaction beyond belief. Journalists still talk about this event…

Current challenge at work?
Balancing the daily operations needs with what is going on in the outside world. Identifying how your product is part of a trend that is relevant today.

Dream job?
PR Professional for an premium lifestyle brand.

What sports or activities did you enjoy in school or/and currently?
Tennis, horseback riding, swimming, camping, adventure travel.

What you do to relax?
Yoga, swimming, spending time in mother nature.