We profile women who have achieved success in automotive and motorsports with integrity, passion and sheer determination. These women define the term AutomotiveWoman.
We are automotive leaders.
We are motorsport professionals.
We are women inspiring the next generation.
Who Am I: Christina Nielsen
Company: Accelerating Change
Current Position: Co-founder of Accelerating Change and Professional Race car driver
Years at Current Position: 13+ yrs combined
Christina Nielsen – 2x Champion in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and made history as a women by being the first to win it and has competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 3 times.
Accelerating Change was co-founded by Christina Nielsen at Mariana Small. A company that focuses on creating experiences and possibilities for women within the automotive space while collaborating with companies who want to target a female based audience.
Describe a typical day at work.
A lot of build up and then the exciting days. Being a race car driver or putting on events requires quite a bit of time behind a computer screen and on the phone. There is a lot more time that goes in to the “preparation phase” compared to what people think but it is a lot of moving pieces that needs to fall in to place. The nice thing is I can do the majority of my work from anywhere as long as I have my phone and computer (and a signal).
The race weekends and events are of course high-energy and a lot of fun. Lots of adrenalin combined with performance focus goes in to both types of weekends/events. These days are the ones that makes it all worth it and is the best part of my job.
Describe a current job-related responsibility which keeps you on your toes, daily.
Working with exciting partners. Whether it is a race team I am racing with, my business partner Mariana within Accelerating Change or our partners like Michelin, Porsche or BMW, I am excited to be working with them and of course feel a responsibility to deliver the best result possible to the ones who give me opportunities.
As a woman, tell us the most challenging hurdle you’ve had to overcome while climbing the professional ladder?
Gaining respect and watching out for the bad people. It is always fears competition within our industry. As a women I do believe it takes longer to gain the respect and learning who your “people” are can be difficult to read from time to time and working with the right crowd who has your best interest at heart is not always so easy to find. One of my main focuses if not my main focus, is who I associate myself with.
When met with discouragement, how do stay focused and/or prevail?
You have to believe in yourself ALWAYS, but I also go back to – find the people who has your best interest at heart.
Being assertive is considered an asset in business. As a woman, how do you balance the need to be your own champion with the stigma associated with the term, when it’s applied to women?
It is a tough balance. The joke is normally if a guy is assertive “he must really mean it” if a woman does it she can be a drama queen or a diva.
It is not always easy to manage. I do think the ability to read people and situations comes in to play here and you need to be versatile with how you can make sure you are heard depending on the type of crowd or situation.
Someone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. What was your one BIG professional mistake, and what did you learn?
You can never avoid “the politics”.
Career defining moment, to-date.
As a driver, winning the IMSA WeatherTech Championship for the first time.
For accelerating Change – our first women’s track day. Over 45 women signed up and I never thought that would be possible for our first event because I normally only see 1-2 women at normal 60 day with normally 60 people.
Words of wisdom you received from a mentor; you’d like to pay forward?
Quality over quantity. Stay focused on what you are passionate about and find ways to make that attractive to others instead of spreading yourself thin trying to please everyone.
If you switched career paths tomorrow, what would you do?
Event planning and take Accelerating Change to the next level.
What piece of advice would you share with women keen to follow in your footsteps?
Always look at the long term goal not the short term goal. That way you stay true to your values and yourself as a person.
Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years from now?
I want to be hosting events on a global level with Accelerating Change and when someone says “women in automotive” the next 2 words should be “Accelerating Change”.
Fill in the blank:
I came. I saw. I conquered!
Morning person, or night owl?
Turning into more of a morning person the older I get!
Favorite workout, or best way to blow off steam?
Tennis and Pilates using the specific equipment for it.
Netflix & chill or a good book?
Hobbies outside of work?
My workouts and anything that involves my family and friends.
Best motorsport documentary or movie of all time. Days of Thunder. Rush. Ford vs Ferrari. Other?
Days of Thunder.
If you won the lottery, what’s the first extravagant gift you’d purchase yourself?
The Ferrari I won the championship in as a collector item.
Charities or Causes you support:
Race for Kids.
How do we connect with you online?
Instagram, facebook and twitter: @Christinaracing