Lauren Morrison says that as a young girl growing up in a small Alabama town, “I never could have imagined working at an OEM.” Instead, she says she wanted to be a school principal.
“But I was lucky, because in college I was at places that were intentional about inviting us to presentations for so many companies and industries,” she says. While a business student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Morrison attended a presentation about the future of vehicles and technology by a Ford representative. She was intrigued, and after consulting with a cousin who worked in the auto industry, applied for—and obtained—a summer internship, then a full-time position, at Ford.
In 2018, after five years at Ford, Morrison joined FCA/Stellantis, where she now serves as a multicultural marketing manager.
“I fell into the auto industry, but I really liked it,” she says. “I found I didn’t need to love cars or the technology. I found that having a love of consumer insights makes this a perfect fit for me.” She says one of the great things about working for an automotive company is learning about “different things I don’t know about—from incentives to purchasing to technology.” For anyone considering a career in automotive, she says, “It’s important to know that you don’t have to be selling or working on cars to be part of this industry. It’s truly a place for everyone.”
She says working in multicultural marketing feels like her “dream job.” “I do a lot of different things in my role, from supporting the CMO to working with all of our agency partners, and customizing relevant marketing strategies,” she says. “It’s a fun job; I dive into a lot of different things.”
Recently Morrison was recognized as one of Automotive News’ Notable Champions of Diversity. Supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts is a passion for her. “Diversity is essential if we want to move ahead for the future,” she says. “If I have only people who look like me, or who have a similar background to me, I’m missing out on something very rich because I don’t have those other perspectives in the room.”
Diversity fuels diversity. “It helps to see other women doing what you do, or what you want to do,” she says. “Early in my career, it was hard to find them. While not as fast as we might like, I do see movement in our industry, with more women and people of color being selected for leadership roles. We still need to recruit more women, attract more women—and we also have to provide support for women.” She points to mentors and employee resource groups as critical elements of that support.
To young women interested in an automotive career, she says: “Be bold. Go for it. But be prepared. Even though we’ve made movement, there’s still a chance you’ll be the only woman in the room.”
She encourages women to be honest and build their own support system. “Be very confident in yourself but don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she says. “And network, network, network. Whether it’s with peers and colleagues horizontally or vertically, build a network. The bigger your network is, the better the chance that when an opportunity comes up, you can pick up the phone and find someone to help.”
The mother of three young children, including two girls, Morrison laughs when asked about their future in the auto industry. “At their age, I’m more interested in getting them to bed on time,” she says. “But I can tell both of my daughters are very interested in tinkering with things. No matter what that leads to, I hope they find something they’re passionate about.”