Real Model interview episode #29 featuring Viki Thurgood, Operations Director at ROI Ltd and Inspiring Automotive Women Award Winner for 2020

Viki leads ROI Ltd in striving for a greater gender balance and has implemented a family-friendly working environment.

She has introduced the company’s first part-time line management role for a maternity returner along with introducing the company’s first line management role with a compressed work schedule to support parenting needs. Viki supports part-time working requests for male employees to support their childcare commitments, changing internal perceptions of primary caregivers’ gender and has built a holistically diverse team, including multi-cultural and age diversity. Viki also mentors and coaches female managers and colleagues to fulfil their own development ambitions.

How did you feel to be nominated by your colleagues in the Inspiring Automotive Women Awards 2020 and how did it feel to be one of our winners?

I was humbled that my colleagues felt that my contribution stood out as inspirational. ROI are a truly values lead organisation and I am surrounded by colleagues, achieving amazing things that inspire me on daily basis so to be chosen to represent the company in this way was a real honor. 

When Nigel, our CEO let me know I was amongst the winners, I was stunned! Having worked in industries that are underrepresented by women for most of my career, equality in business is a cause really close to my heart. To be selected by the Automotive 30% Club as an inspirer of women especially when I am sure there were many, many worthy nominations was just such a joy to me personally.

What is your job and what does it involve? 

I am one of a team of Operations Directors at ROI. I am based in Milton Keynes and am responsible for the delivery of a wide range of services to our largest Fleet Automotive client. From generating appointments for our client partners based in the field to facilitating Demonstrations to showcase our clients fleet range, I work with an incredibly skilled and dedicated team to make sure we deliver to the highest standards, consistently achieving our SLA for 7 years whilst innovating new and improved services along the way!

How long have you worked in the sector?

I have worked in Automotive for 7 years.

What do you like best about your job?

My job is incredibly varied, and I have been afforded the opportunity to learn many new things. I am passionate about my team and being able to work with ‘likeminded people’ who strive to provide excellent service to our clients delivered by highly skilled, happy, and fulfilled team members.

What are your future aspirations?

To continue to learn and develop my skills as a Leader. Working in such a high growth company and within an ever-changing industry means that everyday there is something to learn and a new challenge on the horizon. I see being part of such a dynamic company and sector my aspiration for the long term.

Can you name a woman in automotive that inspires you and why?

It would be impossible for me to single out just one woman who has inspired me as I have been privileged to work alongside so many successful and supportive women over the last 7 years. I take inspiration every day from my female colleagues, team members and clients many of whom have not accepted their gender as barrier to achieving their career aspirations and becoming great role models for others.

What makes you happy?

Professionally, nothing makes me happier than my team being acknowledged for the great work they do. Having been a manager for over 20 years, I have always taken the most pleasure from seeing people reach their full potential. In my personal life, I am at my happiest spending time with my family both those with fur and without! I have two wonderful bulldogs who are full of character and keep both my husband & I very much on our toes.

Which word or phrase do you most overuse?

I don’t think I have a word or phase I use too frequently, my colleagues may disagree! The advice I have given most over the years is too be happy in what you do and in times when you are not – talk it out. Other people’s perspective is usually the greatest leveler of any problem or challenge.

What is your worst trait?

I am a massive overthinker. I tend to try to preempt negatives before they happen which ultimately leads to some stressful inner dialogue. Thankfully as I have got older and gained more experience, I do tend to take my own advice about talking things out. I have a great support network who I can turn to for a reality check when needed.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a compassionate, approachable, and fair person who strives to be the best I can be in all aspects of my life.

What advice would you give to women who are wanting to progress in the sector?

From my own experience, which has only been positive, I would absolutely encourage other women to join or progress in our industry. There is so much diversity in terms of opportunities and the career paths available; whether you see yourself as wanting to be at the technical forefront or a customer service thought leader or a high achieving sales professional and so on, women shouldn’t be afraid to push on, work hard and achieve their dream career. As more and more women reach their aspirations in Automotive, there will be more of us to support those on their way up!

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