By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) named Natalie Simon the latest #SheIsSEMA Spotlight member. Simon is an SBN select committee volunteer and a marketing manager at Ford Motor Co.
Having been with the company for seven years, Simon enjoys working with a diverse team of people on exciting and cutting-edge products. Each day presents its challenges that enable her to think outside the box and non-traditionally.
SEMA: What is most challenging part of running your business or job?
NS: I’m currently in a new role as marketing manager. As I sink my teeth into this new position, I’m learning more and more about what I don’t know and how much I have to still learn. Every day presents its challenges, but as I continue to navigate this role, I’m impressed with that I was able to utilize from the day before and build upon.
SEMA: How many years have you been in the industry and what was your first industry job?
NS: I’ve been in the auto industry since 2006. I’ve bounced around many jobs —mostly agency, and now with Ford. My first job in the industry was working for an agency of record for General Motors as the purchasing coordinator for GM Events. I was able to move into an event-planning role shortly thereafter. Events have always been my first love.
SEMA: What are three qualities that got you to where you are today? How have these qualities benefited you?
NS: One: The willingness to learn from those around me. Surround yourself with people who you’re able to learn from every single day. Listen to them and take as much as you can from their experiences. The good, bad and ugly. Two: The ability to take changes. You’ll never realize how far you can get when you take a chance and step a little outside of center. Get a little uncomfortable! Three: Humility. It’s incredibly important to be humble. Know when you’re rocking it, and understand when you need help. Being humble means reaching out for assistance, even if you don't want to. Sometimes it’s a hard pill to swallow, but the benefits you get when you are able to ask for help will pay off big time.
SEMA: Who are your role models or mentors in the industry? How have they helped you along the way?
NS: My first boss when I was working for the agency for GM was my first “real boss” and gave me the confidence to go outside of my comfort zone. She allowed me to ask a lot of questions. (Sometimes even what I thought were “dumb” questions!) She taught me that even the silliest of questions could be the same ones that other people could be thinking about. In short, don’t be shy.
SEMA: Who was the most influential person on your career/goals?
NS: Instead of saying something about one person, I’d have to say that the women I surround myself with are influential and teach me something every single day. My girls bring me up each day because I get to work with them and take what I’ve learned from them into life and the workplace.
Do you know, or are you, a woman with a career in the automotive industry? Fill out a #SheIsSEMA spotlight form to submit a self-nomination or nominate a colleague and highlight how you or she is contributing to the specialty-equipment industry. Selected candidates are automatically eligible to be considered for SBN’s #SheIsSEMA Woman of the Year award, featured on SBN’s social media, SEMA eNews and recognized on the www.sema.org/she-is-sema website.