Thursday, July 16, 2009

The new Holden Cruze

Our Sydney trainers were at Liverpoll Holden on Sunday checking out the new Holden Cruze and showing ladies around under the bonnet. Avery cute 4 cylinder East West engine and quite roomy inside. It was very popular with the girls. have you taken on efor a test drive? What do you think?

The Liverpool Champion came down for a look too. Check out the article at:
Photograph courtesy of Liverpool Chapion, photo by Jonathon Ng

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

When being a woman can drive your career

Ever wondered what it was like to be a woman and work in the automotive industry?

If so you will enjoy our interview with Vicki Vlachakis, Design manager for General Motors Advanced Concept Design from CA in the US is an inspiring read.

Vicki have you found it hard being a woman and working in the male dominated auto industry?
As a female designer working in the auto industry for the past 12 years, I am often posed the question: “How does it feel to be one of the few women in your industry?” As much as I get asked this question, it always seems so out of place in my daily life which does, in fact involve working at a design studio where I am the only women. The issue for me is that as a designer, I am constantly concerned with questions like: “How do I come up with new and innovative ideas in an impossibly short time frame?” or “Is this design relevant in today’s ecologically conscience environment?”, or “Does this design actually work over our engineering criteria?” Despite my obvious surroundings, there never seems to be any reason for me to actually ponder that question. It’s as if the “Designer” part of me always comes before the “Female” part. I have come to realise that designers share strong common desires such as our interest in improving our surrounds and the functionality of objects we interact with, in this case cars. We also search for new expressions of visual language and push the envelope of form and function in an attempt to find better ways to solve design challenges. These examples have been the most relevant part of my career as a designer, while the fact that I am one of the few females has fading into the background. All that being said, there have been some stand out experiences that could have only occurred given my unique situation. I can remember a design review I made during my time at Mercedes-Benz in Germany. I was fresh out of college and hardly spoke a word of German when I had to stand in front of about 40 German men in suits and explain my proposal in their language. It was a truly humbling experience which was not helped by the fact that my French colleagues tried to help me compose my thoughts on flash cards before the review. English translated into French translated into German probably didn’t come out as well as I hoped. On the other hand, I have been a part of some amazing and unusual situations while part of the production team on the Pontaic Solstice and Saturn Sky Interior design programs in Michigan. I was in a team that consisted of a female lead engineer and female lead sculptor while I led the design team. What was more astonishing was that my Design Director and Executive Director were also women. I learned so a great deal from these accomplished and talented women. So much for stereotypes! Statistically, however, women still are a rare occurrence in the automotive industry in general, especially on the design side. Strangely enough, after my experience in this industry, I think that automotive design is well suited for females. Apparently, 80% of all car purchasing decisions are influenced by women, so it would be a great asset for any company to have that insight during the design process. I also feel that women have a great intuitive sense of detail and quality. Of course there is a natural instinct, especially among mothers for safety and comfort. So I would encourage any woman who is inclined towards design, problem solving, and visual expression to consider automotive design as a possibility. It’s never a dull experience!

Driven Indulgence

Our Galmatic HQ is run by a team of woman and all our children are girls too – so sometimes it can be a little tricky working in the male dominated automotive industry, with such a feminine perspective.
So this month we thought it would be fun to talk to some woman who have pioneered their way through this industry and see learnt that they have found that in most instances they have found being a woman an advantage!

This interview is with Sandy Bogusis of Driven Indulgence who has offered as a wonderful winter package for all Galmatic readers.

What is Driven Indulgence all about Sandy?
My business is a reality of a long held dream to share both the North East of Victoria and Yarra Valleys, particularly all the great wine regions and includes escorting people safely to dinners and events such as concerts and festivals. Not all of us want to go on a bus trip, although they can be a lot of fun, so having your own driver gives you a lot of autonomy.

I encourage my guests to participate in designing their day, however when it is left in my hands so as to surprise them, we have a brilliant time discovering all those hidden spots that otherwise may get missed on the regular tracks.

I am currently planning a corporate tour that will include among other things, wine tasting, massage and a fun romp through a hedge maze. I have packages on my website from a three day exclusive all inclusive indulgent time away including scenic flights, massages, wine tasting, dinners at award winning restaurants and a chauffeur for the entire three days and evenings. Also available, those who prefer can hire me for and afternoon, day or evening as their exclusive driver, guide, concierge and host.

Have you found it difficult being a woman in a male dominated arena?
I grew up on the road, we travelled a lot when I was growing up I love driving, it is a passion of mine and I find it both relaxing and enjoyable. There is too much to see to stay home!

I find all my guests are openly complimentary of my 'girl driving'. We have a lot of giggles about being a woman driver, but I think I earn my guests respect. I have worked around a lot of males in male dominated jobs and find it fun, I have been lucky; I enjoy the 'male' side of life just as much as girlie stuff. You will even find me tucked up on the lounge on a Sunday afternoon watching the V8 supercars, yes a bit of a lad at heart really.

My sole focus when I am with my guests is to make sure their day is fun and they go home delighted, relaxed, or rather worn out wonderfully and want to return to our gorgeous regions again and again.
Galmatic Winter offer: A midweek full day tour in your vehicle in either the North East of Victoria or the Yarra Valley for four people including a two course gourmet lunch and a complimentary bottle of wine for just $490.00. This includes a private wine and cheese tasting tour for a whole day starting 10.30 am till 5.00pm pick up from local accommodation or home and return and a yummy lunch. Offer ends August 09. For more details call Sandy 0408 244 531 or see her website