Teresa Mínguez defines herself as a Porsche woman. Values such as a self-improvement brand, sportiness, transformation and customer service are a source of inspiration in the development of her work. Innovative and sustainable like the Taycan, the new 100% electric model from the German company. Experts say that it is a “jet disguised as a luxury sedan.” Teresa is Legal Director & Compliance Officer of Porsche Ibérica. She is also the Spanish representative of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)
This March issue is dedicated to women. Do you think that being a woman brings added value or qualities that benefit the performance of in-house lawyer tasks, especially in a sector like luxury sports cars?
I don’t think gender is a determining factor in profession performance, but rather personal characteristics, skills and professional competences. What I do believe is that there are certain unconscious gender biases that can affect women in their professional career.
Assumptions that we have grown up with, such as women in arts – men in science, still affect the incorporation and professional development of women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) career sectors today. Research shows that although women represent almost 50% of the workforce, in cyber security, for instance, only 11% of positions are held by women.
In other areas, such as compliance, there is no gender inequality, probably due to existing studies, which find that women have a more reflexive risk management approach and are more likely to preserve moral principles, being more resistant to corruption. But I insist, I am not a defender of biases in one way or another.
We women must be aware of the need to take on a more leading role and overcome our own personal barriers in order to seek new challenges and move out of the comfort zone. Not feeling intimidated, taking opportunities as they arise, acting with determination and confidence and training and striving every day to be a better professional would undoubtedly be my recommendations.
It is also very important to have mentors or colleagues who respect your work and your opinions and, for this, a recipe that always works is professionalism.
At Porsche I have excellent professional references who motivate me in my day-to-day work. My General Counsel or the Vice President of Sales Europe are great references and demonstrate the presence of women in organizations.
How does someone in your position achieve work-family balance?
I keep my work-life balance as much as I can. In addition to be a lawyer, I am a mother of two wonderful children, Nicolas, 12, and Lorenzo, 8, who brighten up my life every day. I try to spend as much time as possible with them, and to do so, flexibility is essential.
Conciliation is essential to achieve a proper balance in life. At Porsche, I have an excellent CEO and colleagues who understand and believe in work-life balance. This allows me to combine my two great passions.
On a general level, would you say that the work of the in-house lawyer is sufficiently valued? Do you feel considered as part of the company at all levels?
I believe that globalization, increasing regulation, technological development, the incessant activity of companies to satisfy client´s needs, risk management and internal control systems, ethics, integrity, compliance, sustainability, environmental concerns, etc… are factors that have a notable influence on organizations management teams and therefore end up affecting the competencies and functions of the in-house lawyer, who has an increasing strategic role within the company.
At the ACC (Association of Corporate Counsels), we firmly believe in this role and are its promoters.
The follow-up and corresponding related action taken by the in-house lawyer requires the acquisition of personal skills, which are not strictly legal but essential now, for the effective development of this role and we contribute to its development with our associations and members.
Specific knowledge of the industry and the market you work in is vital for a good in-house lawyer. What are the unique characteristics of the luxury car sector compared to other niche markets?
Working for Porsche is a source of pride and constant inspiration. Its brand values of self-improvement, sportsmanship, transformation and constant struggle, and customer service can be extrapolated to personal development and other areas of life, but at the same time it comes with a great deal of responsibility.
Changes resulting from business models review and technological disruption, the constantly changing regulatory framework and the level of uncertainty, the growing focus on corporate culture and conduct, corporate governance standards and ethics, place us immersed in a new business reality, which increasingly focuses on sustainable development and the creation of long-term value and this requires a continuous learning process from the lawyer.
The automotive sector is in the midst of a transformation process and at Porsche we want to lead the way in electric sports cars, contributing to the overall objective of decarbonization, which is a big professional challenge.
You mean that you identify yourself with Porsche on a professional and personal level.
The luxury car sector is very competitive and is constantly innovating and improving. At Porsche, we want to make innovation and the avant-garde a reality, complying with all regulations. This reflects very well my understanding of the in-house profession.
Your drive a Porsche. Do you need to drive a Porsche to understand the brand’s values?
Yes, it is advisable. When you drive a Porsche you feel like you’re enjoying a great product. The car does it all. I love driving and travelling miles on the road. It gives me peace of mind, it keeps me calm. And doing it with a Porsche, you feel so confident that you enjoy it much more. It’s like being among friends, in an environment of total trust. On the other hand, I have to confess that I really enjoy the acceleration. I like speed, and driving a Porsche is a great experience in that sense too.
Teresa Mínguez CV
Teresa has overall responsibility for all legal and compliance issues related to the business of Porsche entities in Spain and Portugal. She has also recently taken on the role of Data Protection officer for the Group’s entities on the Iberian Peninsula. She is also the representative of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) in Spain and a member of the Legal Committee of the Word Compliance Association (WCA).
Previously, she was a senior associate in the Commercial Law department of CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo, where she developed her career for more than 15 years and where she and her team won the “Innovative Lawyers Award” granted by the Financial Times in 2009. She was also awarded In-house Lawyer of the Year by this magazine in its Gold Awards, in the category of Fashion & Luxury.
She graduated in Law from the University of Valencia in 1997 and, a year later, she obtained her Master’s degree in Business Law from the Instituto de Empresa (IE Madrid).
Since 2004, she is a qualified solicitor in England and Wales. In addition, she has participated in numerous executive programs at the best international business schools. She has written numerous articles and given lectures on legal issues mainly related to Corporate Governance, Compliance and Innovation in the legal area.
Taycan Turbo S: electric heart. Porsche Soul
According to the company, the four-door sports sedan combines the characteristic Porsche performance with everyday usability.
The first models in the new series are the Taycan Turbo S and the Taycan Turbo, with first units already being delivered. They are at the forefront of the Porsche E-Performance and are among the most powerful production models from the German company, which plans to launch other less powerful variants of these vehicles, such as the Taycan Cross Turismo. By 2022, Porsche will have invested more than $6.6 billion in electric mobility.
Its five available driving modes are Individual, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Range.
Interview by Desiré Vidal
To read the article in full please download issue N.92 here