Always striving to showcase our amazing industry, Stuart confirms it would be great to see more women considering the automotive sector as an area that’s right for them.
He comments: “Our industry continually produces exciting creative and technology-based opportunities. Only by harnessing diversity across all areas within automotive can we continue to be innovative, allowing us to be sustainable long term.”
Stuart believes women are well represented across the automotive industry in marketing and HR, but he suspects that many choose these roles more because of the nature of the work, rather than because they are in the automotive sector. In having greater diversity across a number of roles and more so in senior management positions, it will benefit automotive businesses and the industry by creating fresh ideas, positive dynamics and bringing different perspectives that will challenge and support success.
The majority of Stuart’s career has been spent working for finance companies within the automotive environment. He started his career at Lex Vehicle Leasing during the 1990s where he completed a number of roles from underwriting to purchasing. After more than 20 years in contract hire and leasing and working for some major banks he wanted to explore other opportunities within Automotive. After a brief spell at Fleetcor, he moved to Cox Automotive as Business Development Director driving opportunities across the group before moving to CDK as MD UK&I in January 2018.
Stuart, on behalf of CDK Global, is kindly co-sponsoring the Automotive 30% Club’s Inspiration for Innovation Network (formerly known as the Outreach Network) which aims to inspire diverse secondary school pupils to choose careers in inclusive advanced technology companies through virtual encounters. Stuart comments: “I think it can be easily forgotten that the automotive industry offers a wide range of opportunities requiring many different and transferable skills. The automotive world is diverse, exciting and always evolving, so individuals looking to get into the industry need to be adaptable, driven and comfortable with change. I’m keen that future talent are aware of the variety of opportunities the automotive industry can offer and ensure that it’s seen as an inclusive sector for all.”
In order to reach the club’s shared goal of having 30% of women in leadership positions by 2030, Stuart details the great work CDK Global are doing, he comments: “The sponsorship of the Inspiration for Innovation Network is an important strategic decision by the business to help support and nurture future talent. It is worth mentioning that 38% of women make-up the UK senior leadership team at CDK Global, up from 12% in 2018, but this isn’t the same picture across other regions. In the UK, we have seen growth in revenue and customer satisfaction by adapting strategy and challenging the status quo to promote long term stability with a greater focus on employees and customers in that time.”
However, Stuart confirms they need to continue to open the doors of opportunity to existing and future women in the business so that as a business they don’t become complacent. Inspiration for Innovation has provided an opportunity for their female employees, especially CDK graduates, to share their experiences with students of working in an automotive setting. Since completing their visits into schools, CDK have tried to extend their voice internally to openly discuss gender-based issues with the business. It is their commitment to be an open business and to broaden the pathways for women in CDK to succeed in the future.