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Our story

Founded by Michelle Della Penna in 2021, the Della Penna Motorsports Foundation was established to honor the legacy of Indy Car team owner and legend, John Della Penna.

Having immigrated to America from Argentina at just 20 years old,

John Della Penna set his sights on racing. First starting out as a racer himself, chasing sponsorship and winning championships in various formula series and then eventually transitioning to team ownership,
Della Penna understood the incredible sacrifices and tenuous dedication that it takes to make it in racing. His devotion to up-and-coming drivers that crossed his path, was evident by immersive mentorship and coaching. Della Penna believed that racing was a family affair and Michelle spent weekends and summer vacations traveling the racing circuit with her father and the team. He explained every facet of the racing world to Michelle and raised her to be independent, capable, ambitious, and fearless. Della Penna sought to open doors and provide opportunities for those who needed it most – a spirit carried forward

by the NextGen Foundation. We are excited for how our Foundation

will change the landscape of motorsports for the years and

generations to come.

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Meet The Team

Michelle Della Penna

President & Founder

Della Penna has been an entrepreneur and small business owner for more than a decade. Prior to that she was a teacher, and worked with various female student organizations.

The daughter of a race car driver and Indy Car team owner, it was only natural that Della Penna grew up at the track and fell in love with racing at a young age. Laguna Seca will always be her favorite track, and the sound of Indy Cars reving their engines is music to her ears. A fierce champion of women, Della Penna’s dream is to advance DE&I initiatives on the track and in the garage through a passion for motor sports, while providing exposure to STEM and opportunities for growth to young girls everywhere. 

Susan Lucas-Conwell

Acting Executive Director

Global business executive, entrepreneur and Board Director for not-for-profit, private and Global 1000 organizations. Passionate about creating a level playing field for girls and women of all ages, she founded the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs-Europe, was a Board member for Women in SportsTech and mentors regularly for women-led or focused organizations.  A competitive athlete herself, and with four daughter-athletes, she is particularly excited about the Foundation's mission to diversify the motorsports industry.

Sonia Ramos

Community Outreach Liason

Sonia began her professional career and love of racing while under the mentorship of John Della Penna, supporting several administrative, operational and sponsorship aspects of the Della Penna Motorsports Team. Moving on to pursue her commitment to educational equity, Ms. Ramos has worked with under-resourced and under-represented communities for over 20 years, helping students and families navigate the college pipeline. Sonia currently serves as the Executive Director of the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) in San José, CA.

 

Sonia holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Gino Verna

Creative Services

Gino Verna has been working in branding and design for over 3 decades. His experience spans from branding in the entertainment industry to Non Profit Organizations and everything in between.

Beyond his design acumen, Gino has taken several products from concept to completion, including manufacturing, marketing and 
global sales.

"I am honored to be a part of
The Next Gen Foundation team,

it's mission and vision is one of the most exciting projects I have been
part of."

 

The Board
coming soon