Women Leading Innovation – Female Automotive Executives Discuss Shared and Micro
Mobility at WCX 2020

The shift to mobility is transforming the automotive industry into one of the most exciting places to be. From ride share technologies and sustainability to autonomous vehicles and connectivity, it’s clear that the future of mobility isn’t just about vehicles – it’s about the bigger picture of connecting people with where they want to go. Some of the biggest innovators of change are female executives, who are transforming the road ahead in this traditionally male-dominated industry.

To gain a better understanding about the shift in the industry, the WCX 2020 SAE World Congress Experience, April 21-23 in Detroit, will include a panel discussion: Women Leading Innovation – Shared and Micro Mobility. The panel discussion will feature executives addressing how new platforms will be part of a new, integrated transportation ecosystem. In advance of their appearance at WCX, these respected leaders shared their views on how disruptive technologies can successfully integrate into the existing landscape, challenges on the road ahead, and what it takes to be a successful executive in such a dynamic industry. Don’t miss out on this panel at WCX by registering today.

Panel members include:

  • Emily Castor Warren: Director of Policy, Nelson/Nygaard
  • Caroline Samponaro: Head of Micromobility Policy, Lyft
  • Hilary Cain: Director, Technology and Innovation Policy, Toyota
  • Sabrina Sussman: Senior Manager, Public Partnerships & Policy, Zipcar

What are the biggest challenges facing the mobility industry?

Emily: I spend most of my time focusing on the challenges cities and governments face with respect to outcomes in our transportation system. That means everything from congestion, traffic fatalities, emissions, and mobility access for underserved communities.

Hilary: I’m not 100 percent convinced the public is as far along as we are. This technology is exciting, but it’s also potentially scary. I think we’ve got to make sure the public understands where we’re heading and why it’s a good thing.

Has it been difficult for you to succeed in a traditionally male-dominated industry?

Sabrina: I’ve been lucky to have been surrounded by strong women and men who have been incredibly supportive of me. Certainly there have been challenging moments, but I think that has made me a more empathetic leader.

Hilary: It’s not infrequent that I’m the only woman in the room. At those times, it’s not lost on me that the people involved in creating the mobility solutions are not always representative of the customer base using them. As you think about the future of mobility for women, there are unique needs and features that might be more fully considered and incorporated if women had a greater role in their development.  

What advice would you give to young female executives in the field?

Sabrina: I think it’s really important to not be afraid to ask questions. I have found that the people asking questions are usually the ones who are three moves ahead.

Caroline: Really value the voice you bring to the table. It’s not enough to just be in the room. Making sure that you’re informing decisions about transportation is going to have a huge impact on the behavioral changes we want to see in the world.

What are you most excited to see in the future?

Hilary: I’m most excited about the access to mobility that self-driving cars will provide for the portion of the population that is currently unable to drive. I include my mother in that as she is currently disabled. What would it be like for her to get from her home to the store or to see her friends or the doctor without the challenge of finding a person to drive her?…this is something we can’t underestimate … how much it will mean for the people who are directly and indirectly impacted by a disability.

Emily: I'm passionate about creating change in the transportation systems because right now, the status quo represents a great threat to sustainability for human civilization and the environment. For the first time, we’re starting to see mainstream adoption of alternative modes of transportation other than owning a car.

Sabrina: Technology is the great equalizer because everyone needs to get from Point A to Point B. I’m passionate about the technology and solutions that make these trips safe, more efficient, and more accessible.

Caroline: I’m excited about how the bike can really change cities. When you get people out of cars and onto two wheels, you do bigger things and improve the daily experience of living in a city.

Hear more from these women and explore the future of mobility at WCX – register today.