Since launching the club in 2016, Julia has overseen the network grow at an accelerating pace currently with 38 CEO / MD members onboard and two more to be announced this month. The majority attend the conference, along with their 30 by 30 strategy lead. In addition, we were delighted to welcome a number of prospective members who attended to learn more about the club.
‘Countdown to 30% by 2030 – our 10 year campaign for change’ was a theme Automotive 30% Club founder Julia Muir was eager to emphasise, pointing out that 2020 had to be the year within which all the processes, policies and data collection was established to enable the members to have a fast start to reach their shared goal of achieving 30% of women in key leadership positions by 2030.
The morning session kicked off with an energetic welcome from Catherine Faiers, COO, Auto Trader UK, partner sponsor of the club and conference host. She explained why Auto Trader wanted to become involved as the club’s partner sponsor: “As a technology company operating in the automotive industry, we’ve keenly felt the challenge of attracting women to what has been traditionally viewed as male dominated industries. Working with organisations like the Automotive 30% Club, which brings together like-minded individuals, has been instrumental in achieving our diversity and inclusion (D&I) ambitions.”
In addition, Catherine, along with the club’s other sponsors, talked through the positive impact of the Automotive 30% Club activities delivered by the Gaia Innovation team that they had sponsored in 2019.
After hearing about the success of the IAW Day event, delegates were treated to a presentation by five truly inspiring pupils from East Barnet School, all of whom attended the IAW day event back in May. They shared their positive experiences of the day and how taking part has impacted them as individuals along with telling us about their all-girl F1 in Schools team called Harmony.
Founder of Harmony and 16 year old Sixth Form student Amy Wheeler commented:
“We became more aware of the variety of endless job opportunities this industry has to offer and we gained an understanding of the alternative ways to achieve a career within the sector, not just through going to university but also through apprenticeships.” 14 year old Jada-Maya Modha wowed the audience with the story of how she runs a school robotics club Girl Bots and shows teachers from other schools how to set up robotics clubs.
Delegates were given an insight as to how Auto Trader and Dealer Auction are ‘Lifting Others As They Rise’. Rebecca Clark along with Le Etta Pearce and Catherine Faiers also talked about their wider D&I agenda. Within Auto Trader several networks have been built organically by people who were passionate about making a difference. In particular, their BAME network is now beginning to find a voice within their organisation and this will remain their focus over the next 12 months. Overall, this showcased the amazing work that is being done to create an inclusive culture and one that women can thrive in.
Members were introduced to the Automotive 30% Club Enabler companies; organisations that will be featured as case studies on the Automotive 30% Club website because they can provide services to enable the members to implement their 30 by 30 strategy. In addition, Julia Muir confirmed that Volvo Cars UK will be our 2020 sponsor of the Inspiring Automotive Women Day, and also officially launched the new Automotive 30% Club Outreach Network, sponsored by CDK Global.
Our keynote speaker was Caroline Criado Perez, author of the Royal Society Science Prize winning book ‘Invisible Women: Exposing data bias in a world designed for men’. Caroline outlined some shocking and thought provoking facts about how the world is designed around “Reference Man”: the default white male. Anne de Kerckhove, CEO of Freespee sponsored Caroline’s appearance and discussed with Caroline her inspiration for the book, and how Caroline would like to see change happen. The key thing Caroline asked the automotive audience to try and design was a seatbelt for women’s bodies rather than that of a scaled down man so that women could travel as safely as men currently can.
Our Gender Equality Influencer panel, chaired by Erin Baker, discussed how they create a working environment within which women can thrive. It was quite clear that all were very passionate about companies offering flexible working hours; Julia Muir said “Trust your workforce. They may not be in the office but they are working. We need to focus on productivity not presenteeism.” Shared parental leave was also a hot topic: “We need to have conversations with men about how they will manage their work / life balance in the same way we speak to women about this.”
The Executive panel session which followed, echoed similar messages from throughout the day as our panel discussed the role of leaders in driving transformational change to achieve a gender balance. Kristian Elvefors commented: “ It’s not necessarily about turnover and recruiting new staff. We need to give current staff new opportunities and help them build new knowledge and new skills.”
The conference ended with Paul Philpott, President and CEO, Kia Motors UK who detailed the good work that Kia is doing to achieve a greater gender balance within their organisation. Julia rounded off the day with key take home advice and detailed her top ten tips to achieve 30% by 2030, all of which is readily available to members via the Member Resources login on the club’s website.
Following the event we received some great feedback from the attendees:
Erin Baker stated: “Some really great food for thought.” Wendy Harris, CEO of CarGurus commented: “Thanks for a great day. I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it. Much appreciated.”
Ruth Nic Aoidh, Executive Director at McLaren Automotive said: “Congratulations on a great event. I really enjoyed the conference and came away with plenty of thought-provoking information and ideas.”