Meet Natasha Masterson of Lamborghini Austin
by Kristin Shaw
Lamborghini invited me to drive the new Aventador S last fall at the track at Texas Motorsports Ranch, and the experience was one I will never forget. Since I write about cars, the question "What's your favorite?" often turns up, and the Aventador S is at the top of my list for fast cars. It really is kind of like taking a tiger out on a leash, and I'm pretty sure I didn't stop smiling for days.
In Austin, Lamborghini recently made a splash with the opening of their brand-new dealership on North Lamar Boulevard, north of the city. I met Natasha on site, and the day after the VIP reception, she introduced me to the Urus, Lamborghini's new SUV, and we happily talked cars for 30 minutes. The first thing you may notice about Natasha is that she is poised and beautiful, and when she starts talking, she will impress you with her knowledge and passion for the automotive industry, specifically the luxury market.
Get to know Natasha and her rise to Director of Marketing for Lamborghini Austin.
1) What was your first car?
1997 White Chevrolet Suburban. Great for escaping the line out of the high school parking lot through the neighboring cornfield.
2) How did you come to love cars?
I spent most of my childhood in the countryside of either northern Texas or southern Kansas trying to keep up with my only brother who is just 16 months older than me. When my father wasn't working, he would be servicing our family vehicles or teaching my brother and me something like the difference between a small block and big block engine. Cars have been a family pastime since day one.
3) What is your level of knowledge in terms of car maintenance - for instance, tire change, oil change, and beyond?
I'm more of a stats fanatic, but my father made sure to teach me how to change my own oil, rotate my tires, and has even gone as far as teaching the smells of all the different fluids in the car. I'm usually the first one my friends call when they need a jump.
4) Tell me about an experience with cars that is a great memory.
I went to the Formula E race in Argentina during the 2015-2016 season and had the chance to take a tiny plane from Buenos Aires to Balcarce, where five-time F1 Champion Juan Manuel Fangio spent most of his days. There's a wonderful museum there as well as a track he designed himself. This was a PR event where two Formula E drivers got to drive some of Fangio's most historic cars. What became one of my happiest memories was me in the passenger seat of one car, my dear friend in the passenger seat of the other car, both convertibles, both of us being driven by the Formula E drivers and the only cars on track racing back and forth pushing these cars harder than they had been pushed in many, many years. We all laughed and were in awe of how brilliant the circuit was and how lucky we were to have that moment with us forever.
5) Tell me about your experience in Monaco - what was the job, how did you feel when you were offered the job, and what did you learn?
When I was working with Toni Calderon at Speed Group, we had a handful of clients either living in Europe or racing in global championships. I had the opportunity to be our "European branch" and move to Monaco which helped with traveling costs and covering clients in different time zones. It was one of the most important decisions of my life! I sold as many of my things as I could, gave my car to my brother, and packed four huge suitcases. I learned a lot about myself during this time. Traveling can be extremely fun and exciting, but takes all your focus and energy! I cannot take back the lessons I learned and the experiences I had and they really helped discipline me and show me what is most important to me.
6) What is your experience in dealing with a mostly-male industry? Do you feel you have to prove yourself more?
Being in a mostly-male industry was something I paid more attention to when I was younger. Back then I was doing more TV and radio which really throws you into several different dynamics where you have to prove your worth. I learned a lot during this time and paid attention to every detail I could. I've found the best recipe for success is to learn as much as you can about anything and everything and to only speak when necessary. This is advice I give to any gender that applies to several areas of life, but I've personally seen too many women in the motorsport and automotive industry try too hard to prove themselves or show that they know what they are talking about and came across in a less professional manner. Know what you're doing, and let your work do the talking.
7) Who have been your mentors in the automotive industry?
My father takes the cake since he is always there to answer those questions I need to win an argument. After him, Toni Calderon, founder of Speed Group has been fundamental for teaching me how to walk the tightrope that is motorsport. I started working with Toni when I was still in college and even though I knew my fair share about cars I didn't know much about motorsports or how it would change my life. When Toni started Speed Group with former Champ Car and IndyCar driver, David Martinez and current IndyCar driver, James Hinchcliffe, he trusted me to help them grow their company. Just like how Toni, David, and James help drivers learn from their careers in racing, Toni helped me learn from his personal journey on the business side of the sport which has taken me all over the world.
8) How are you involved in the community?
Working for Lamborghini has put me in a really unique position to see how Austin is growing and evolving as a community. There are several events that I've had the pleasure to attend that benefit education, sports, and refugees. Most of our clients are either on the board of particular committees or host benefits that I get to help with or support through Lamborghini. As a former athlete at The University of Texas, I still support my university and help with younger athletes in a mentor role as they make decisions about their collegiate aspirations.
9) What is Lamborghini Austin doing to help the local community? How does Lamborghini help the world at large?
Since Lamborghini Austin just opened, we have mostly been involved with organizations linked to our staff and clients. With the Grand Opening behind us, we are excited to move forward with some great partnerships and support some really fun projects here in Austin.
As far as Lamborghini on a global scale, the first thing that jumps to mind for me is inspiration. The amount of positive feedback we have gotten about moving into the Austin marketplace has made me extremely proud to be associated with the brand. Lamborghini takes great pride in the emotion and experiences these supercars bring to people and I get to see that right here on my showroom floor when a 14-year-old beams at me when I start the engine of an Aventador S. Coming on board with Lamborghini during the launch of the world's first Super Sport Utility Vehicle, the Urus, is bringing that same sense of awe to all demographics of people all over the world right now. Something that is more tangible that Lamborghini has to offer is their approach to technology. Their partnership with establishments like MIT and Callaway play off of that inspiration piece where they can interact with different industries and demographics to advance technology. Lamborghini has a weight that comes with its name that can inspire people to create some pretty cool things.
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Check out Lamborghini Austin's site here!