Introducing October's member of the month - Berveleen Mashonga, Product Manager in Product Planning & Strategy, Hyundai Mobis

on October 05, 2023
Engaging in conversation with our October Member of the Month, Berveleen Mashonga, Product Manager in Product Planning & Strategy at Hyundai Mobis.
Why did you join the Women Automotive Network?
When I first found the Women Automotive Network, I was and still am really excited. Before joining the network, I knew less than 5 women in automotive and I lacked inspiration. I can say I felt a bit lonely in the industry. I had no one to share my experiences or to even ask for advice. However, after joining the network and becoming active, I have met so many amazing and inspirational women who some are not only mentors, but great leaders in the industry. I am inspired daily and I am really thankful for the network because I feel my career confidence and motivation has sky rocketed since joining!
Why is DE&I vital to you? 
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are what I believe makes any group work effectively. We all come from different backgrounds, have different experiences and ideas, which can be used to elevate any platform or what I call - makes the world colourful. I am striving to make a footprint as a woman who studied mechanical engineering (from the age of 16) I was one of the only 2 to maximum 6 women in any class of sometimes nearly 40 people. I want girls who look like me, to know that they can be an engineer, they can work in automotive too. Also, I am very girly, charismatic, open and bubbly - which apparently are not skills engineers usually have. But I am here to change that because diversity is not only about the colour your skin but everything that makes use unique. 
What is the number one automotive trend you are keeping up with currently? 
I specialise mainly in future technologies for parking and in-cabin for vehicles. And I have been travelling around the world speaking about parking technologies. In-fact, I gave a panel discussion and presentation in Michigan a few weeks ago which was really eye opening. I went to teach and I also learnt a lot from the industry professionals. I also recently spoke in Belgium about the future of parking trends and innovations.
What are your predictions for the automotive industry in 2023?
Ultimately, I see the growth within electrical vehicles. The global EV market is expected to grow by 29% in 2023 according to research. Connected and autonomous vehicles may be a few years away but we are currently seeing an increase in developments and technologies on the market already. The increase focus on sustainability in the automotive industry is noticeable. This is to reduce the industry's environmental impact hence why we see automakers continue to develop and adopt more sustainable technologies such as EVs and hybrid vehicles
Who is your inspirational woman? 
I have so many! But Cindy Trimm, a woman who is an empowerment specialist. One of my favourite discussions from her, is when she speaks about how our thoughts control our realities. This was mind-blowing because before this discussion, I had never paid attention to what was happening inside my brain. I highly recommend one of her YouTube videos: "Think like a rockstar"
What is your proudest career moment? 
2023 has been great to me. I have been having so many proud career moments which I can say started the day I moved from the UK to Germany. 8 years on the 25th of August 2023 and when I think about it, I am empowered by my own journey. To answer the question, finally achieving my dream of becoming an international public speaker. I had my first international speaking opportunity in July 2023, where I was flown to the USA. I will add another cheeky proud moment - this was my very first project in automotive where I had to learn on the job. I started working lets say today, and the next day, I had to fly to Slovakia to work there on a project for one of the biggest German OEMs. I was lucky to have support, and people that were training me on the job. I gained a lot of work stamina while I was in Slovakia. 
What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome? 
Self doubt and imposter syndrome! My goodness, I cannot count how many times I felt inadequate, or intimidated by other people because I was undermining myself. I worked HARD (the capital letters are needed for emphasis) and I still work hard to cheer myself on. A good support system in also important in these cases but if you can manage to pull yourself up and believe in yourself, then you have the winning ticket to life!
What was your first car? 
Before I answer this - it is not because I work at Hyundai Mobis, that my first car was a Hyundai i10. But, it was a coincidence I promise. 
What advice would you offer to those considering starting a career within the automotive industry?
Be your biggest cheerleader. Trust your feelings and learn, learn, learn! I didn't find my dream job in one go. I tried different fields within automotive. I worked in finance, project controlling, program management - I even know how to use SAP... I could tell you more. Be open to learning new things even if they may not be so aligned to your work description (of course within reason). When I first started , I was keen to explore different fields because I was not sure what I wanted to do. It was really difficult straight out of university to make this decision but I am glad I kept an open mind and powered through and now I work in R&D on automotive technologies.
In a word, what is the opportunity for women in automotive currently? 
Connect with Beverleen on LinkedIn

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