Julia Muir - The Founder of the Automotive 30% Club

Julia Muir is the Founder of the Automotive 30% Club, a published author, and CEO of Gaia Innovation Ltd, and has over 30 years’ experience in automotive retailing, manufacturing, and consulting, with roles in Quality, HR, Dealer Training, Recruitment, Sales, Marketing, Product Development, Brand and Advertising.

She has a Business Studies degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Development, and has worked in the UK, Germany, and Spain. Her interest in the motor trade began in primary school when she accompanied her car-mad dad on customer visits with his home engine tuning business, completing the service checklists.

She started her automotive career as an undergraduate trainee on a sandwich year placement at Perrys Motor Sales and was appointed as Quality Assurance Manager at the Doncaster dealership on graduation, and has never looked back!

Julia Muir - The Founder of the Automotive 30 Percent Club
Julia Muir - The Founder of the Automotive 30 Percent Club
Julia Muir, Founder.

Julia founded the Automotive 30% Club after realising that most of the high potential women she had worked with at Ford Motor Company had left the industry, yet her male colleagues had remained within the sector. She approached a number of these former male colleagues who by then were in MD roles, to establish what had happened and what needed to be done to ensure talented women could thrive in automotive. They agreed to drive change within their own organisations, and Julia agreed to take responsibility for creating a framework, campaign, and a movement to motivate them and others to take action. The Club was founded in March 2016 with 12 Founder Members, who were leaders from OEMs, retailers, and suppliers, with the aim of filling at least 30% of key leadership positions with women by 2030 through a ‘30 by 30’ strategy. The Founder Members firmly believed that a metric would be needed to focus minds and measure progress in this objectives-driven industry, and Julia called upon the research by Professor Rosabeth Moss-Kanter of Harvard University that established that only when a minority reached 30% or roughly a third of the group would the dynamics change so the majority no longer dominated and ignored other voices. Therefore, the metric of 30% would be the tipping point to aim for to achieve a high performing group that optimises different ideas and perspectives.

Julia’s book, “Change the Game: A leader's route map to a winning, gender-balanced business” was published in March 2021 and reached number 1 in the Amazon best sellers. The book provides useful background information and context as to why women are underrepresented in business, and the “Six Steps to Success” framework for Club members to use to take action to achieve the 30% metric. Julia firmly believes that high performing teams within an inclusive culture leads to higher employee engagement, which then leads to higher customer satisfaction, and for several years she taught how to create a great customer and employee experience on the executive programmes at the Loughborough University School of Business and Economics Centre for Automotive Management.

In recognition of her work to drive change in the sector Julia was awarded the Sue Brownson Award in 2022 by the Institute of the Motor Industry, and they made her an Honorary Fellow in 2023. She was named in the Financial Times and HERoes list of Women in Business global champions of diversity in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the HERoes Women Role Model Executives 2019 and 2020. Julia was also awarded the Women’s Automotive Special Recognition Award 2016 by the ABP Women’s Automotive Group.

Julia Muir
Julia Muir at the IMI Awards

Julia encourages business leaders to create environments in which both women and men will achieve their potential, takes action to inspire girls and other underrepresented groups to join the automotive sector, and has led campaigns through which industry leaders and female executives engage with schools, colleges, and universities. For over 10 years Julia has given speeches in schools to inform young people about the creative, technical, and technological skills that automotive employers need, and was awarded the Mary Lou Carrington Award in 2016 by the Worshipful Company of Educators for her work supporting the charity Speakers for Schools.

Julia is currently a judge for the AM Awards and the IMI Awards, and a member of The IMI Diversity Task Force. Previous voluntary positions Julia has held include being a member of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Board from 2018-2019, and the Chair of the region’s Employment and Skills board. She was also a Gender Equality and Diversity Ambassador for the Silverstone Technology Cluster in 2019.