REVIEW OF THE PAST QUARTER
The syllabi for the e-courses are just about finished. It's been an intense quarter, reading-wise, because of the amount of research that goes into making courses that are both helpful and informative. Since the courses exist to fund Sisterhood activities - scholarships, sponsorships, and other woman-forward initiatives - we want to provide value for money, rather than simply regurgitating content available for free elsewhere on the internet. In addition to the Phase 1 courses, we have experts working on some courses for Phase 2 to service needs that have been expressed to us since we started work on the current batch.
We have found an alternative supplier to Zazzle. While we have nothing against the print-on-demand option that Zazzle offer, they are quite pricey and inflexible. For example, anything with our logo is against their image policy. Our new supplier is based in Austin, TX, so is unaffected by Brexit and the current fall-out woes affecting the pound and British economy. She's also a lovely person, and we're very glad to have her on board.
We are in discussions with an existing karting outreach program that is based in the UK, and gender-neutral (although by aiming for 50% involvement from girls, they are essentially a woman-forward organisation, given the current demographics). Their business model is scalable, so once their project is fully established it should be relatively easy to expand into other countries, provided there are enthusiastic people on the ground to run them.
This is where the majority of our time has been spent over the past few months. There is currently no conference for women in motorsport, and therefore no forum for publicising and discussing relevant research, no international networking opportunities for women in the industry, etc. The conference was initially scheduled for Oxford, UK, in August. However, due to several must-have speakers being unavailable and Brexit-related company formation issues, we are looking at Barcelona sometime between January and April (we are still waiting to hear back from speakers regarding availability during those times, so have yet to set a firm date).
We have doubled our number of Twitter followers in the last quarter, and added about 40% to our Facebook followers. We are still far from reaching critical mass, but have a nice demographic spread on the gender front. There is definite room for improvement in our outreach to people of colour and LGBTQIA+ people. We hope that these demographic matrices improve with time.
PROJECTIONS FOR THE COMING QUARTER
Long-Term Response to Brexit
It seems that Nicola Sturgeon is the only politician in the UK who had a 'what if' plan for Britain leaving the EU. For fear of alienating people who voted 'leave', we will comment no further on who did/said what and the rationality of their arguments. Suffice to say, we are interested in doing what is best for Motorsport Sisterhood as an organisation, what is best for the community at large, and what is best for the sport.
We will incorporate a company in Scotland (to keep the EU connection while maintaining English as a linguistic medium...and because they're the only people with a solid post-Brexit plan) and a foundation/trust in Isle of Man (for the security of an offshore banking facility) while establishing a physical base in Motorsport Valley (for proximity to the centre of the industry). To do our bit in helping the UK government with its employment and housing crises - currently blamed on immigrants, although we think a lack of forethought is more likely the cause - we will
1) offer consultancy services to businesses because we're all experienced at dealing with recessions induced by government decisions (I'm Zimbabwean; we've had an ongoing and unremedied recession since 1998, and have practical strategies on how to survive. Flor, our admin expert, is Argentinian and has lived in Spain long enough to have survived their recession),
2) start a business incubator to support young and small businesses that provide services to motorsport as an industry and create much-needed jobs, and provide the tools to take businesses online to decentralise earning bases, making them less susceptible to the fluctuations of a single country's economy, and
3) start affordable housing schemes near team headquarters, probably through crowd-funding, although this will probably take longer than three months due to building and planning regulations.
These are still on the agenda, although administrative difficulties have thus far kept us from establishing a physical base in the UK. This is predicted for the coming quarter. We hope to have the first one during Formula E's testing, when everyone converges on Donington Park.
Mum of the Month
Before the quarter is out, we will have started a youtube-based video interview series called Mum of the Month. Mainstream news outlets often interview racers' dads for their responses, but we rarely hear from mums. The interview series will feature drivers/riders interviewing their mums.
Quarterly Art and Literary Magazine
While discussing how to get woman-identified fans more involved in the sport, this idea was put forward. There is a long and distinguished tradition of fiction and art from fans of various narratives/brands, starting with classical art, and moving through to modern tribute re-mixes. We want to have our first issue out by November with the theme 'Utopian Alternative Universe' (whatever 'utopian' means to contributing creatives, and are hoping they explore themes around worldview and regulation changes in their work), so will begin submissions in July/August.
While we're not making progress at quite the desired rate yet, we are making progress. We are committed to doing the best we can to expand the fan base, and therefore the number of enthusiastic employees available to motorsport teams in the future. We are also keen to help existing racers and motorsport teams to survive both the global recession and more intense localised recessions through business consultancy services.