“You can’t teach people to care about one another. When they care about a common goal and a common victory, that’s when we see the greatest success in business.“
ON THE BENCH
Laura Schwab is the vice president of sales and marketing for Electric Adventure Vehicle manufacturer Rivian. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Ms. Schwab studied law at the University of Kentucky after graduating from Notre Dame – where she was a former tennis captain as well.
Schwab decided she didn’t like law practice and applied for ‘any job possible’ in California. She ultimately went to work for a tech start-up firm before she was recruited for a job that would change her life – a short-term contract position in Maryland to build a car configurator for Land Rover’s website.
Schwab then moved to Land Rover North America working as a Brand Manager and GM of Communications and Sales Operations. She then spent 15 years doing every manner of sales and marketing job at Jaguar Land Rover in the UK.
While in the UK she was invited on a factory tour by a former colleague, Aston Martin’s VP and CMO Simon Sproule. There she met CEO Dr Andy Palmer and was offered the role of President out of the blue.
Schwab was hired as President of Aston Martin the Americas in October of 2o15 and was the first female president in its 105-year history. She was responsible for overseeing the company’s operations across North and South America and served as the bridge between the company and the dealers, then dealers and customers. Her position involved everything from marketing, sales, network strategy, profitability and managing a team to working with a dealer network
In December of 2020, it was time for another change, as Schwab joined Rivian, where she serves as the vice president of sales and marketing.
“The last few years, I’ve seen that there needs to be a voice about how women can succeed in male-dominated industries. To succeed when they doubt themselves or succeed when they feel like there’s no avenues or nobody is listening.”
- Being led while learning to lead (3:46)
- Taking the big risk (4:50)
- Building the company culture (6:39)
- The student-athlete foundation (8:24)
- Being a spokesperson for women (9:28)
- What do you look for externally that influences your strategic approach (11:25)
- Why This Bench (14:19)
This bench is important to me because we’re sitting here on these courts at this beautiful facility. The blood, sweat and tears, but more importantly the friendships, the teammates, the coaches – this is what has defined my career in business. I really attribute my success to what happened here. I get quite emotional about it because if it weren’t for Notre Dame and these courts, I don’t think I would have had the guts to move to California and all over the world. Now I’m very fortunate to be sitting in this position. I’m extremely proud and humbled to be able to represent the University of Notre Dame.
“When I tell people to look for mentors, don’t just look inside your industry. When you look outside of it, it’ll allow you to expand your thinking beyond the industry you work in.”