Lessons from a professional racer: First do well, then do good

Pippa Mann is the fastest female driver in history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mann is fueled by making a positive impact and to make a difference. Mann lives by the philosophy first do well, then do good.

It is not surprising that career lessons from one of the fastest drivers in the world resonated with so many people. Pippa Mann is currently the fastest female driver in history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with her record lap of 230.1mph. In our first conversation, Mann shared five winning strategies to drive your career:

  1. Go where the road takes you
  2. Strive like a rookie
  3. Set the pace
  4. Keep your eyes on the road ahead
  5. Steer clear of distractions
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Pippa Mann is currently the fastest female driver in history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with her record lap of 230.1mph.

What ultimately drives Mann and her relentless race to the finish line, though, might surprise you. "What fuels me is making an impact," Mann states with conviction. "I'm driven to use my platform to make a difference. Whether that's inspiring young girls to pursue their own dreams or saving lives, the greater my career success, the greater my opportunity to make an impact."

The good news is you don't have to wait until you make it big to make a big impact.

Find your fans

Belief fuels higher performance than any octane level ever could. Have an idea about how you could make a difference for your company, colleague or cause? Start by engaging your own fan base -- both steadfast supporters who will cheer you on from the stands and the crew who will get hands-on to help tune up your idea. "I was raised to believe that if I was prepared to work hard, and set my mind to something, I could achieve anything," recalls Mann. "My mother was a fiercely successful businesswoman, rising to the top of her field where there were few other women. And my father told me the story over and over and over of Lella Lombardi and her 6th place finish in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix. My parents support my aspirations -- whether it's a career in professional motorsports or saving lives. The power of their belief and confidence fuels my progress."  Who can help steer your impact and fuel your progress? 

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Pippa Mann

Kate Shoup

Create community

Everyone craves community and connection – a place and a way to belong. Communities based on shared values and sense of purpose thrive. Send a signal that your community is a place where everyone can contribute. And build ambassadors to scale your message and your impact in the process. "Early in my career, I wore a red helmet because it's a strong, aggressive color," Mann affirms. "Then in May 2014, I decided to switch from a red helmet to a pink helmet to raise funds for Susan G. Komen and their cancer research and support services. I was conflicted about the decision because, as much as I believed in the cause, I had resolved early in my career to avoid anything that made me seem different from everyone else. But, something interesting happened. When I embraced what I thought made me different, I suddenly started to belong. Little girls would come up to me at the race tracks because they could now easily identify with me and locate me in my racecar. I created more friendships with more women in motorsports and more female racers across more disciplines. I discovered my community when I took an active role in creating that community." How can you create a connecting point that brings people together around a shared interest or cause?

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Pippa Mann and Shea Holbrook -- who worked together as team-mates previously, and continue to work together as leaders of Shift Up Now. 

Jamey Price

Personalize your purpose

When you aspire to make an impact, it's critical to ask, "Make an impact….for whom?" Narrow your focus, and get specific. Whether it's a shortlist of customers or a specific program at your favorite not-for-profit, naming names makes your mission personal. "My teammate and friend Bryan Clauson passed away in a racecar related accident," Mann pauses. "He gave others the gift of life when he passed because he was an organ donor. That's why I've partnered with The Indiana Donor Network and their campaign called Driven2SaveLives. Having their logo on my racecar reminds race fans to check the box on their driver's license and/or registration to become organ donors. And it's also the best way I know to honor my friend's legacy." Mann's mission is paying off, as Indiana rose to one of the top five US states for new eligible donor sign-offs by the end of last year. 

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  Pippa Mann

Champion Others

"I'm grateful for the people who've championed my career," Mann says. "Now I'm in a better position to be a champion for others." Mann is active in Shift Up Now, a collective of women in motorsports who encourage each other and also invest in younger generations of aspirational drivers. "I coach two of these aspiring drivers as part of my coaching business," says Mann. "And I'm mentoring another driver about what happens outside of the car and the track -- the life and experiences we all bring to our profession and to how we compete. Being a champion for others is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. What I know is that adding a rung to the ladder for aspiring racers it the best way to help talented people rise. I'm attacking the challenge one racer and race-car at a time." What can you do to pay your privilege forward? Gifts of time are as valuable as gifts of money. Who can you inspire with a conversation?

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Pippa Mann mentoring future race car champions.

Broaden the Winner's Circle

Create a way for everyone to contribute to the win. "And keep your engagement strategy simple," advises Mann. "Use your platform to shine the light on others. That's the real win."

What are your strategies to do well and do good? We welcome your insights here or by joining us on Twitter at @karenmangia and @ValaAfshar.


This article was co-authored by Karen Mangia, vice president, customer and market insights, at Salesforce

Karen engages customers globally to discover new ways of creating success and growth together. From Executive Advisory Boards to strategic consulting engagements, her insights are central to Go-to-Market strategy, product development, marketing, and branding. In addition, Karen influences industry thought leadership in her role as Chair of the Customer Experience Council for The Conference Board. Formerly responsible for Insight Innovation at Cisco Systems, she led a global team with oversight into Customer Satisfaction and Experience, Diversity Business Practices, and Global Offset and Countertrade. Karen is also the author of Success With Less and a TEDx speaker.