NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The significance that a woman could hold the title “Director of Motorsports” for the world’s largest tire and rubber company isn’t lost on Lisa Boggs.
"I've worked a lot of years to be able to contribute to this," she says resolutely, speaking from the lobby of Bridgestone Tower in downtown Nashville.
Boggs, a woman with a lengthy background in marketing at high-end agencies, never saw herself in motorsports until she began working in the field. Out of college, she began working at Leo Burnett, a global ad agency based in Chicago. Philip Morris, which owned Marlboro, sponsored Team Penske.
"We were working with them on how to activate and use the sponsorship," Boggs said. "I realized I liked it, and when I was ready to transition from the agency, it just so happened they were looking for someone to do marketing and communications while working with Al Unser Jr. – a very well-known driver at the time. And I said, 'what about me?'"
Taking that job was the step that cemented Boggs in motorsports. She continued to work with teams and drivers as she moved up the ranks, eventually moving to Nashville to be one of 4,000 team members working for Bridgestone in the mid-state. But her role was to lead an entire division. It means she spends much time on the road.
Bridgestone owns Firestone, the tire supplier for IndyCar and headquartered in Nashville for more than 30 years. The company celebrates it's a connection to motorsports and honors the partnership by displaying an IndyCar in its lobby.
"We've got a season that runs from about March to September," Boggs said. "It's about 17 races, so I'm at all but maybe two [races]."
Boggs travels with a team of up to eleven people to races. She ensures the tires arrive, hosts important guests, manages relations with series officials and drivers, and working with news media, among other things.
"It's such a mix, and it's completely a team effort," Boggs said. "So, we're a bunch of like-minded people who are very passionate about this who travel around most weekends. It's almost more of a lifestyle instead of a job."
When Boggs travels, she often speaks at STEM and DE&I programs that showcase women in motorsports. She makes it a personal mission to show young girls they have the power to shape their lives.
"[I tell them] Your life, it doesn't have to look a certain way. Be whom you want to be. Be what you want to be. Be okay with that," Boggs said. "You can and should be all of it: you need to be tough, you need to be good at your job, you need to be anything, man, woman, different [to do the job]."
As a final piece of advice, Lisa encourages everyone to 'raise your hand,' saying decision-makers often have no idea where your interests lie unless you inform them.
"When you see your moment, you speak up, and you raise your hand, or you make yourself known, and you seize the opportunity."