Gaining Competitive Advantages: Tips from a NASCAR Champion


Juniors and Sophomores met with Landauer.

Two time NASCAR champion, Julia Landauer uses her platform to advocate for more women in STEM fields, especially male dominated areas. Landauer graduated from Stanford with a degree in science, technology, and society and is one of Fortune’s most powerful women. At the Great Hall in Germantown, Landauer was the keynote speaker for an event hosted by cityCurrent, an organization that “works to power the good through events, media, and philanthropy.” Hutchison students had the opportunity to meet and speak with Landauer at the event and ask questions ranging from her studies in college to her appearance on the 26th season of SURVIVOR. Landauer has many accomplishments in racing: being the first and youngest female champion in the Skip Barber Racing Series, first woman to win a championship at Motor Mile Speedway, only female member of the NASCAR Next Class of 2017, and finishing 5th in the NASCAR Euro Series, the highest an American has ever finished.

Landauer structured her presentation around points she hopes listeners will take to heart for themselves. The first point is that we must own who we are; she uses the experience of her SURVIVOR season to talk about how being not authentic to herself cost her the prize and garnered negative perspectives of her. She explains that it’s important to be intentional about how you present yourself, “People make split second decisions about us, so if we’re not intentional, we might be missing opportunities to help guide the people we’re talking with to really know us on a deeper level.” Being authentic will attract like minded, enthusiastic people who help one become more comfortable in their skin and reach their goals.

Her second point is to meet people where they are. Three things Landauer does to help her when moving racing teams is intentional and approachable communication, understanding different lived experiences, and actively building allies. Landauer really stresses how important building allies are, especially for women in male dominated positions because unfortunately, male voices are taken more seriously. Landauer says, “I hope we can get to a point where everyone’s voice is equally loud, but until then using those allies is really powerful.” To get to this point, Landauer presented four points to help: speak up if you see bias, normalize active involvement, be situationally aware, and ask and listen because “Teams thrive when every member is empowered to be an active participant.”

Her last point she shared was that dreams demand discomfort. Landeaur acknowledges that women are taught to be uncomfortable with some challenges, but realizing that helps to fight to actively overcome that. Our goals will guide us through discomfort if we focus on them like the Northern Star. Junior Abby Martin attended the panel and said having these conversations and representations are important because it helps with encouragement and the most interesting thing she learned was “how women are still so different from men in the STEM world, and how much farther we have to go to be on the same level as them.”