Sunday 21 April 2024
    HomeEmpowermentMayra González: Fast and furious.

    Mayra González: Fast and furious.

    Mayra González is the global sales director of one of the world’s leading companies in the automotive industry. She has shown herself as a brave and competitive woman who has been able to break paradigms within the industry globally.  

    Mayra González is Mexican, lives in Japan, and has stood out as a global pioneer in the automotive industry. Although her passion was not cars, she was passionate about health, but she became passionate about the automotive industry through her path. “I discovered that I have gasoline in my veins because I liked the environment, I liked selling cars, and I never felt strange for being the only woman, which for many years I was in all the teams I was part of. That is how I got into the automotive industry, the same industry that brought me to Japan today,” Mayra says proudly, smiling as she talks about the begin of her professional career.  

    Please tell us a little about your history, childhood, and how it influenced your professional career.  

    I had a very “abnormally normal” life, as I usually say, because it was hushed, happy, a traditional family, but what I have always emphasized is that I was taught that I could become anything I wanted to be and aspire to achieve. There was never a conversation in my family that women could do one thing and men should do another. I was raised with the concept of “whatever you’re going to do, do it, but you have to be the best,” I grew up with that belief. Also, I have always been competitive, it is part of my personality, and my biggest competition is myself… more than comparing myself with others, I live constantly comparing my own growth. 

    Was there anything in your childhood that influenced your interest in cars?  

    My dad likes cars, and he used to buy car magazines 40 or 50 years ago, and I liked to look at them… However, it was something other than what I was passionate about. I was never really interested in the automotive industry. I wanted to be a medical representative; that was my dream. I wanted to go to hospitals, talk to doctors, talk about medicines and treatments.  

    How did you become interested in the automotive industry?  

    When I was 19 years old, I wanted to buy a car, I told my dad to help me buy it, and he told me: “Very well, but you have to work, and I will help you.” At that time, I did not know how; I was noticeably young, and I wondered, who was going to give me a job? So, one day I saw the newspaper and found a vacancy as a “professional sales consultant”; I applied, and it was a car agency: there they gave me a job as a salesperson, and I discovered my passion.  

    You mention that you were always the only woman… What are the essential skills needed to work in a male industry?  

    The main thing is to be good and stand out in what you do; at the end of the day, this is not a club, and the important thing is to give results. You will have many more opportunities if you are good at your job. The second thing is to believe in yourself because if you think you can do it and present yourself as such, that is how you will project yourself; the reality is that many women feel like a minority, and maybe they are not listened to, but in fact, we are different, and we do not have to be like men to fit in.   

    I still believe that women can still be everything we are and still bring value and contribute to organizations, that is our value, to be different, and I noticed that because it was never something that made me uncomfortable or made me feel less, nor did I worry about being the only woman in a board full of men. For me, it was also an advantage; my competitive advantage was being a woman because no one else could be that one woman, Mayra Gonzalez, and everyone knew who I was and even more so if I stood out for my results.  

    How has your career path made you the first Mexican woman to be appointed Global Sales Director in a well-known multinational company?  

    I have 22 years of experience. I started working in sales in Mexico, as I mentioned, visiting distributors and in the financial area. Then I was in charge of all the sales at a national level, first of a part of the Mexico area and then of the whole country. From there, I moved to the distribution network, and then I went to the United States, where I also spent two years on another distribution network project. After that, I returned to Mexico to be responsible for Latin America.  

    Then I was appointed general manager in Mexico, the first woman, the youngest, and Mexican… because I had always been managed by foreigners. Sadly, that was the highlight, that I was a woman, not that I was Mexican or that I had had satisfactory results. I think that when everyone stops framing that headline, and when diversity or gender stops being news, then we will have made progress as a society. However, I was there for three years and then came to Japan in 2019, almost four years ago, as general sales manager.  

    You are a persistent and focused woman. What do you consider has been the most challenging moment in your career so far?  

    I have had many, but one of them was moving to this country. It is not the same moving to the United States, the neighboring country, and you are used to moving 11,000 km away from everything you know when you leave family, friends, your home, and your food. When you leave absolutely everything you know and come to a country where you do not know if your family will adapt, when you do not know how to ask for a glass of water or what the business culture is like… leaving everything and coming here, taking the plunge… That is why I define myself as a brave person. It is not for everyone, and it is not just about getting here, then it is about adapting and trying to fit in, giving results, and that your family is well, that you are well. There are many things you must manage and balance. That is why I admire all the people who dare and have had the opportunity to leave their countries, be on their own, and have those challenges.  

    And the most exciting moment?  

    The most challenging and the most exciting are the same. Do you know the chemical reaction in your body is the same when you feel excitement and tension? It is just the meaning your brain gives it. Still, it is chemically proven that what happens in your body is precisely the same, the same substances, reactions, and connections, but the only difference is how your brain interprets it, whether it is exciting or challenging.  

    Have you seen any changes in the automotive industry regarding including more women and minorities in the workforce recently?  

    Yes, I have seen it and feel satisfied and proud. For example, in Mexico, after my designation, many more women came from many other brands. Before me, there was not even one, so there was that opening, and since I worked in the leading company, many more small companies started to do it and continue to come. In the labor force, I also see it; the most curious thing is that 80% of the decision to buy a vehicle is made directly or indirectly by women.  

    What do you think about the relationship between diversity and inclusion in the workplace and business innovation?  

    It has been proven that the more diverse teams are in terms of gender, culture, generation, religion, sexual preferences, backgrounds, etc., the more they generate exchange and innovation. When you have that diversity, different points of view come with different experiences, and you create innovation through exchanging ideas and different perspectives that generate innovative solutions to current problems.  

    What do you think about the role of automotive industry organizations in the fight against climate change and other environmental problems?  

    The automotive industry has taken a clear position on where it wants to go in the future, and one of those pillars is electrification. You can see it in the varied brands and how they have clear plans to achieve their electrification or CO2 reduction goals. What you see in the TV Shows like “The Jetsons” as “the future” is what will happen and already happening. It is inevitable because the new generations are going there. All automotive companies must have a particular commitment to products with fewer emissions, using less water, being more efficient, and connected with the ecosystem. It is urgent!  

    Who is Mayra?   

    Full name: Mayra González Velasco  

    Profession: bachelor’s in marketing  

    Nationality: Mexican  

    Lives in: Tokyo, Japan  

    Age: 46 years old  

    Favorite food: Chiles rellenos de queso (chili stuffed with cheese)  

    Hobbies: Reading and exercising  

    Favorite clothing item: Sweater  

    Favorite place in the world: Anywhere. I do not have a specific place. Wherever I am happy.   

    Let’s Rock! 

    A word to describe yourself: Brave. 

    Favorite movie or TV Show: The Devil Wears Prada. 

    How would be your best photo? Sitting in front of a Torii gate. 

    Favorite music band: Soda Stereo. 

    Your grounding activity: Thinking, my mind brings me back to Earth every day. 

    What are the 2 things that can’t be missing from your backpack? My cell phone and my credit card. 



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