WinA Member of the Month
This month, we are featuring Reem AL-Smeirat, an inspiring business owner and the first female car designer in the Middle East as awarded by the European Board of Design.
Reem recently launched her own automotive design studio and has been supporting women starting their careers in the automotive industry.
With a love of automotive and a mission to support and help other women in the automotive field, Reem continues to build a community of passionate women with the aim of helping them follow their dreams.
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.
In January of last year, I launched my own automotive design studio – a milestone that I have wanted to accomplish ever since I started my career in the industry.
The minute we started operating, I launched an initiative, ‘WOMOTIVE’, to support women starting their career in the automotive industry.
I did this as it was a struggle that I had to experience myself, before I managed to get my foot in the door, so I feel very grateful I have had the opportunity to help build a community of powerful, passionate women and enable them to follow their dream career in the transportation sector.
What was your first professional experience within the automotive industry?
My first professional experience was working as a Marketing Specialist for General Motors in Jordan.
To date, it has been one of the most memorable times of my career. The team was amazing and the broad scope of work allowed me to excel at a relatively fast pace which enabled me to be promoted to marketing and CRM Supervisor in short period of time.
I recall one time, I took part in a regional launch event for the concept car Escala by Cadillac and had the opportunity to travel to our regional office to meet the team from Cadillac USA - an experience I found to be really fun and rewarding at the time.
Do you think you have experienced challenges within the industry that your male counterparts have not?
Yes, I do believe so. In my experience, I have found that women can perform extremely well professionally, if not better than her male colleagues, although there is a relentless pursuit to keep proving herself over and over again in order to climb the work ladder faster.
What is your biggest achievement within the automotive industry, personal or professional?
On a professional level, my biggest achievement was being recognised as the first female car designer in the Middle East by the European Board of Design when I finished my Master's Degree in Transportation Design.
On a personal level, my biggest achievement was launching my own design studio.
Do you have a favourite resource as a woman working in the automotive industry? Maybe a book, event, organisation, mentor, or online platform?
In general, I follow everything that has to do with achieving mental strength and empowering yourself.
I believe there is no better way to face the world, whether you work in the automotive industry or something unrelated, than taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate the importance of a strong mindset and becoming your own source of power.
A book that helped me achieve this mental strength is called “Becoming Bulletproof by Evy Poumpouras.
I also follow inspiring women on YouTube, such as actress, producer and motorsport enthusiast Emelia Hartford, and BMW racer Amanda Sorensen. The shared experiences by these women on this platform is so refreshing.
Who is your inspiration as a female in automotive?
I have huge admiration and respect for Anne Forschner who is the Creative Director for Automotive at BMW. I admire the way she has set a benchmark in BMW design language and how she is so successful in her own right. I find this to be incredibly inspiring and it makes me want to work harder in the industry.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received or that you could give to another woman working in the automotive industry?
I’m not sure I can recall the best piece of advice given to me yet, however I encourage women to not be afraid of their competition, but to embrace it instead. You never know how much you are capable of doing until you cross that line and see how far you have come.