Beth Paretta started her career working in the alpine skiing industry. She moved into the automotive industry with Audi as a Certified Brand Specialist. She then moved on to Volkswagen as a Business Development Manager. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles took notice of her partnership-building skills, and hired her as Director of Marketing and Operations for Motorsports and the SRT (Street Racing Technology) division. She accumulated three titles in her tenure with them before forming Grace Autosports, an all-woman racing team.
BS What is your first memory of motorsport?
BP Watching any kind of racing on television (Formula One to NASCAR) and being mesmerized by it. First memory of being at a race was being at Lime Rock Park with my Dad and watching races from the infield hill.
BS What inspired you to pursue a career in motorsport?
BP It wasn't conscious. I pursued a career in the automotive industry which led to professional roles in racing. I've always been interested in continuous education so learning the business of racing appealed to me.
BS What do you love about the industry?
BP I love the challenge and the competition. Also, the family. It's a close network of people.
BS Have you encountered much sexism in motorsport?
BP In attitude from some of the old guard, yes. But they are slowly going away. Not from anyone who really matters.
BS How do you handle the sexist attitudes you encounter?
BP Well, you have to realize that it is just their ignorance and likely a bit of fear, and it's really their problem and not yours. I've had to deal with some people who didn't understand or like some of the ways that the business has evolved. They may have equated the presence of more women with other things that were changing and they just didn't like change. It's best to just do your job and know that in time, their weaknesses will reveal themselves. This train is rolling whether they are on board or not. There are so many great people with educated and welcoming attitudes and it's best to just align with them as mentors and colleagues.
BS How do you hope Grace Autosport will change the industry?
BP We hope that over time more girls and women will be interested in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and consider pursuing careers in those related fields. By showcasing a team of women we hope to provide real examples of dedication and teamwork. Kids start to be influenced toward a potential career path as early as 4th and 5th grade, so our visible campaign and outreach activities may inspire them. It's not about working in racing directly; there are so many exciting industries they can be part of: automotive, aerospace, etc.
BS Where do you hope to see Grace Autosport in five years' time?
BP We'd love to be running two cars full time in the IndyCar series and maybe running in another racing series as well.
BS What advice would you give to girls/women looking to build a career in motorsport?
BP Don't be afraid of taking any entry level job. There are many roles on the team so do your research, ask questions, and be ok with working weekends. And during the week. Actually, don't plan on having a day off from about March through October. Or later.