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Stephanie Alexander: “It is about making sure that the sport is reflective of the society that we are in”

In support of Black Inclusion Week, we spoke to Stephanie Alexander - Senior Safety Calibration Engineer at Bosch and Chief Marshall at Driven By Us. During our conversation, we heard about how Stephanie's passion for motorsport began, how she got into marshalling, and what she is doing to support the increase of diversity across the industry. 


“My journey into motorsport began back when I was a young child,” she tells Females in Motorsport. “My favourite driver was Mika Häkkinen back then and I followed Formula 1 on TV after hisretirement, but my real interest did not happen again until 2007.”


In the year that Sir Lewis Hamilton joined McLaren, Stephanie’s interest in the sport was reignited and it was also at that moment she realised the sport was something she could study, rather than just watch. 


“I tried explaining to people what engineering was and that I wanted to specialise in motorsport,” she tells us. “My family were supportive, but they did not know what engineering was to be honest.” 


For her A-levels, Stephanie studied product design, drama, and physical education and was still set on a career in motorsport.


Following an open day at University of Hertfordshire, Stephanie was accepted onto her degree without having studied the core topics - her passion secured her place. 





During university, Stephanie had to undergo knee surgery but still participated in Formula Student and graduated university with First Class Honours. 


“I was very proud of myself,” she tells us. 


After she completed university, Stephanie went on to gain a graduate position at Bosch and also worked freelance on the weekends for different tours. Due to work travel, Stephanie made the decision to step back from freelancing in 2019. 


“COVID-19 came and it gave me time to take stock and understand where I was in my life,” she explains. “I realised I still had a big passion for motorsport and wanted to do something, to be a part of it, where I could. 


“I had heard about marshalling and I signed myself up online for the taster day. I had so many questions and the person who ran the day said ‘you don’t need the taster day, just do’. And so I did.” 


Stephanie marshalled her first race in 2022 at Brands Hatch and has been doing it ever since. With over two years experience under her belt, Stephanie is encouraging others to get involved. 


“I am always trying to talk about it, trying to make sure people understand what it means,” she says.


“Yes it’s a voluntary role but it’s still a very important thing to do - there is so much experience you can get from it that transfers into your day-to-day life.”


In her role at Bosch, Stephanie is focusing on her management and leadership skills. 



“I have recently been on the Leadership and Talent Programme here and I am definitely looking at opportunities as they come,” she says. “My next step is understanding exactly what those opportunities are and making the most of them.” 


Stephanie is currently the only black female engineer in her division and is working to bring change to her division, and the industry. 


“It is something that I am also passionate about - I am part of the DE&I networking here and lead the Women at Bosch group as well, to bring about change within the company,” she says. 


But to make these changes Stephanie believes that it is not something one person can do, especially in making engineering more accessible. 


“There are so many different forms and types of engineering but my one thing is to always make sure you explain to kids when they are young,” she tells us. “I have spoken to young people about engineering and you can tell the difference in perceptions. 


Whereas when you are speaking to kids under the age of 11, they just want to know what you do, they want to know how to build the car.” 


To ensure engineering and motorsport is accessible and representative, underrepresented groups need to be engaged. 


“I have noticed over the years that I am often the first person of colour people have met as an engineer - that’s a big deal,” she says. “You always hear the phrase if you can see it, you can be it, and that is something I can learn from.” 


Organisations such as DBU are pushing the needle on representation and access within the industry, and Stephanie is working closely with the team to make change in her role as Chief Marshall. 


“We have a Driver Academy and that work is ongoing but I also want to get more people involved in the officiating side - I wanted to get people into marshalling so we can see diversity there as well,” she says. “I remember there was one race weekend where there was  black family and it  was the first race weekend their child had ever done and they had no idea how the race weekend went. 


“Whilst their child was racing I sat with them for about half an hour and explained everything to them - they said I was the first person to sit down with them and open their eyes to what’s going on.” 




For others looking to work in motorsport, or wanting to delve into marshalling, Stephanie has some great advice. 


“Number one, a network is very important - I have realised in the last few years that the community is smaller than people think,” she says. “I have got to know people within DBU and through marshalling - do not take those meetings and opportunities for granted because it’s in those meetings where you can learn and understand.” 


And for people who may not know everything there is to know about motorsport, there are more opportunities than racing. 


“You don’t have to understand everything about the racing aspect; we’re not all born racers,” she says. “There are people in the background we need too - we need marketing, we need finance, we need the media amongst others.” 


Looking at the industry as a whole, Stephanie wants to see everyone who is passionate about the sport, involved in it. 


“It is about making sure the sport is reflective of the society that we are in,” she says. “I was in the British Indoor Karting Championship last year and me and my brother were the only people of colour in our qualifying class. 


“It actually felt quite isolating. We had a lot of fun, but it was a weird experience.” 


And whilst diversity progression in motorsport is slow, it’s essential to highlight the incredible people working within it. 


“In marshalling, we have a good number of women now but we are still outnumbered,” she says. “We need to keep highlighting these people, speak to them and listen to them.”


All imagery provided by Stephanie Alexander. 


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