WinA Member of the Month
This month we are delighted to feature Automotive Journalist Nadine Armstrong. With a love of cars and motorbikes her entire life, Nadine had only dreamed about turning her passion into a thriving career.
With a unique voice and a passion for the Automotive Industry, Nadine forged her career over 15 years ago when she started working for Fairfax Media’s Drive team in Melbourne. Nadine is now one of Australia’s leading Automotive journalists, freelancing for various publications and is the longstanding Consumer Editor for carsales.com.au.
Know of someone you would like to see featured as our next Women in Automotive Member of the Month, or interested in sharing your own automotive story? Get in touch below and let us know.
Tell us a bit about your current role or involvement in the automotive industry.
I’m a freelance motoring journalist and the contributing Consumer Editor for carsales.com.au. Essentially what that means is that I test all of the new vehicles that hit the Aussie market, from the budget-friendly buys to super-luxury supercars, and I review them in written and/or video format. I also explore car ownership more broadly – road trips, car-buying tips and tricks, emerging trends, car safety and so on. Every day is different, and I am always learning.
What was your first professional experience within the automotive industry?
I’ve always loved cars and motorbikes and nothing made me happier than riding dirt bikes. And yet I thought I was going to be a lawyer. I had no idea you could have a career in the automotive world to be honest. Decades later, in 2006, I conjured up the courage to chase a dream of writing about cars. I hunted down the right people at Fairfax Media’s Drive team in Melbourne and pretty much pleaded my case and proved my worth. That’s where my current career and best job ever began. At the time I was incredibly lucky to be guided by some of the best in the business – many of whom I still work with today.
Do you think you have experienced challenges within the industry that your male counterparts have not?
Yes and no. Working in a male-dominated industry definitely has its challenges. You can feel isolated and that you don’t fit in. I chose to use that to my advantage. Being different is good. I have a unique voice and bring a perspective that others do not. A thriving career and continued support and encouragement from my peers suggests I’m onto something. This is not a competition, however - everyone can do that.
What is your biggest achievement within the automotive industry, personal or professional?
I’ve been very fortunate to not only develop my professional skills – writing, driving, producing and presenting – but the thing that brings me most joy, that I’m most proud of, is helping others to grow. My involvement with Women in Automotive, Motorsport Australia’s Girls on Track program as well as REA’s F1 in Schools program means I am helping women young and old and school-age kids to think outside the box, to challenge the norm and potentially look to a career in automotive. It’s incredibly rewarding.
Do you have a favourite resource as a woman working in the automotive industry? Maybe a book, event, organization, mentor, or online platform?
Not really. I’ve got to admit my go-to resources are random at best. But what I’ve got much better at doing is tapping the resources right in front of me – the editorial team at carsales.com.au are a talented and supportive bunch who go above and beyond to help me. You’ve probably got some amazing resources right in front of you. Otherwise, get online and reach out to people who inspire you. My best advice is to not be afraid to ask. You don’t have to be an expert at everything. Even the best of the best are still learning. You don’t have to be perfect - nobody is.
Who is your inspiration as a female in automotive?
I mean, where do I begin? One woman that does spring to mind is Jessica Dane, COO and Co-owner of Triple Eight Race Engineering. Not only has she worked hard to get to where she is, Jess is incredibly generous with her time and support for others, particularly females. She is the role model young girls need to see.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received or that you could give to another woman working in the automotive industry?
Good people win. That’s what my Dad told me. And at the heart of that sentiment is a focus on kindness and empathy. We’re all just trying to get on in life so give someone a leg up – it feels good.
And my advice to others… learn, develop and challenge yourself, but don’t go changing. Women do not need to change to fit into the world of automotive. The automotive world is changing to accommodate us and it’s a win for all.