CONCORD, N.C. -- March marks Women's History Month, which honors women breaking down barriers in multiple ways while celebrating their accomplishments.
Alba Colón, who has been Hendrick Motorsports' director of competition systems since she joined the organization in 2018, revealed how she keeps up in a prominently male industry.
An engineer by trade, Colón was hired by General Motors to work in the racing group shortly after she graduated from college. While it hasn't always been easy working in a male-dominated field, she chalks up her success to seeing problems and solutions from a unique perspective.
"Every human being brings a different perspective to a problem. … When you have people who think (differently) and they can think different because the way they grew up, their experiences, so they bring different thoughts," she said. "When you have a different perspective on how to see something and you bring a different solution, that really enriches the sport.
"As a woman, I was told, 'How do you think you’re going to make it in a world that’s male dominated?' But I can! I see things in a different way. As a woman, I have different views and I treat people maybe a little bit different. That has helped a lot, and of course it’s been embraced."
Colón said just having different ideas isn't what makes her good at her job nor did it pave the way for her to work up to where she is today. Old-fashioned hard work and dedication has been instrumental in her success, as well as the right education.
She added that while her competition systems group team is a very tight-knit family, you have to earn your spot in that family.
"To have the 'never give up' attitude helped me a lot. And to be able to go with the flow, honestly," she said. "You go with the flow – things change. You can be ready in the morning … but in this sport, things change immediately. So to be able to go with the flow, to roll with the punches, to have the right education, I was able to have the right door opened for me. Every time I got a no, I saw that and was like, 'Ok, let’s see how we can make that happen.' It was the right attitude."
Colón's love for auto racing and engineering started when she was at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez when a professor introduced her to the engineering side of auto racing.
While Colón has a long list of accolades and accomplishments under her belt, her biggest pride and joy was the team she helped create at Hendrick Motorsports.
"To be able to have a team that’s gelling together and is working together – that they understand that our main focus is to make sure that those four cars and every person and every team member that supports those teams at a track every weekend have all the engineering tools they need to win races and championships at the end," she said.
"To see the diversity of people that have been able to bring to that group, and when I talk about diversity, I’m talking more about diversity (with) different degrees, different views about how to see a problem and how everyone has been gelling and to know that, at the end of the day, we only have one goal -- to provide (teams) what they need and to win races and championships. For me, there’s nothing that compares to that."