APRIL'S MEMBER OF THE MONTH: LAURA SCHEDIWY, HEAD OF DACH @WHAT3WORDS

on April 16, 2024

Why did you join the Women Automotive Network?

Joining the Women Automotive Network (WAN) was a no-brainer for me. As the Head of Automotive DACH, and one of what3words’ first employees based in Germany, building a broad network of peers who I could discuss recent developments with and learn from has been crucial for me. The WAN boasts such a strong community of individuals looking to propel positive change and innovation in the sector, and I’m proud to be a part of it.


Why is DE&I vital to you? 
It’s been proven over and over that diversity, equity, and inclusion are more than just corporate buzzwords: they are the key to success in business. I’m lucky to work for a company like what3words that places immense value in DE&I. We’re on a mission to become a global addressing standard to help everyone talk about everywhere, so it's imperative we recognise and embrace a wide range of cultures and expertise. This improves our decision-making processes, fosters creativity and creates fair opportunities – all of which make my day-to-day work so enjoyable!


What is the number one automotive trend you are keeping up with currently?  
This might not be the most glamorous answer, but digital cockpits! It’s been great to follow the innovation and development OEMs are putting into this area as they look to compete with smartphones. Moving away from conventional and often purely functional services, to offer a far broader spectrum of features and technologies and ultimately bring the best possible experience to drivers. As part of this, I’ve definitely seen an increased emphasis on seamless voice input. This, amongst other things, has led to an uptick in demand for our tech within the sector, as inputting street addresses into in-car voice navigation can be quite frustrating.

Who is your inspirational woman? 
In my personal life, I’m surrounded by countless women who inspire me everyday: my mother, for her relentless efforts to pursue equal opportunities for all; my sister with her seemingly endless creativity; and my friends from all over the world who empower me and others to explore life off the beaten track, just to name a few. Professionally, I’m inspired by Clare Jones, CCO of what3words, with her unwavering leadership of the business development team, working relentlessly to establish what3words as a global addressing standard. She really does lead by example, whether it's wowing the audience at a big tech event like CES, or negotiating future integrations with some of the biggest names in business. Not only that, in her free time, she volunteers to help vulnerable women in London. An absolute powerhouse!

What is your proudest career moment?
Fittingly for this interview, one of the proudest moments of my career was being shortlisted for the Women Automotive Network’s ‘Brightest Star’ award. Being nominated alongside incredible peers at Audi, Volkswagen, SEAT and Keyloop was such a privilege. In September I attended the annual award ceremony near Stuttgart, which further solidified my appreciation for this community. Connecting and sharing stories and experiences with like-minded women who are pushing the boundaries of the industry was invaluable – and I am excited for upcoming events and projects together!

What was your first car?
Although it isn’t technically my first car, the car I actually want to highlight thanks to the lasting impression it left on me is my grandmother’s red Honda Concerto (automatic, with a panoramic glass roof). The moments we spent in that car were always filled with so much joy, laughter, and classical music (my grandmother was a pianist… and chances are she chose the Concerto model just because of its name).

What advice would you offer to those considering starting a career within the automotive industry?
Just dare to take the leap and it’ll be a fun ride! There’s so much opportunity and a strong sense of momentum among women in the automotive space, and I’d encourage every woman interested in the industry to embark on this journey. To help with the steep learning curve you’ll have, I highly recommend finding yourself a mentor at the start of your career, and of course become one yourself once you’ve settled in!

In one word, what is the opportunity for women in automotive currently?
Not to be cheeky, but I’d like to share three words to describe the opportunity for women in automotive (I have to stay with the what3words theme here!): transformative, exciting and infinite.

 

 

 

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