Real Model interview episode #30 featuring Zoe Allen, Compliance Officer at Kia Motors UK and Inspiring Automotive Women Award Winner for 2020

Zoe works with a number of more junior female employees as a mentoring figure within Kia UK and encourages them to fulfill their potential and to take on the next challenge in their careers.

She’s an inspirational catalyst for a number of people taking steps to raise their profile across the business, overcoming their nerves and deciding to apply (successfully) for new roles.

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 extremely grateful to be nominated and delighted to receive the award.  The Automotive 30% Club has a great status within Kia and the automotive industry, and it was lovely to be recognised.  My role at Kia is often ‘behind the scenes’, so it felt great to be at the forefront of success.  I also like to think that the award recognises the achievement of Strive – our women’s network – and the overall D&I leadership team.  It also gave me many new connections – and I don’t think my LinkedIn has ever been so busy!

What is your job and what does it involve? 

I’m the Compliance Officer at Kia.  I am the Data Protection Officer – so I advise my colleagues across the company on the use of personal data, work on legal contracts and notices, and interact with people (including customers) when they have questions about how their data is used.  I also work on various other legal tasks and projects. I’m a member of Kia UK’s Diversity and Inclusion leadership team.

How long have you worked in the sector?

I’ve worked at Kia UK since 2013.  I’ve been involved in the automotive industry nearly solidly since a vacation job during my university holidays…

What do you like best about your job?

I enjoy the variation – no day is ever the same!  I also enjoy the application of my studies – I needed to learn a new subject pretty quickly, and putting that into real-life makes me feel the success of my learning.  I enjoy the fact that it challenges me, and that I get to work with so many different people across KUK, Kia Europe, and outside…

What are your future aspirations?

To keep learning, and to stay involved in change.  I’m intrigued by where the industry is heading, and I’d like to be involved with new ideas and strategic thinking.

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

I’m inspired by many of my colleagues.  When you know people, you understand the magnitude of their successes, and the balance they’ve achieved, and the sacrifices they’ve made.  Each person stepping forwards is a step to a better future.

What makes you happy?

Knowing that I’ve made a difference, and have made things better.  I enjoy being in the mix and strive for progression and change.  I like to think that I contribute to laying important foundations that will benefit others who want to shoot ahead and help my company to achieve further success. I fully believe that a diverse workforce makes a company stronger and makes each individual feel appreciated – our differences are interesting and valuable and generate success.

What is your worst trait?

 I’m really not good at self-promotion – I’m very happy to highlight and celebrate the brilliance of others but not so much myself?

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who had an good-intentioned opinion and was willing to challenge.  I don’t think you can expect change to happen if you’re not willing to say something – bring it to the table and have a discussion.  I’ll always speak up if I think something isn’t fair and equal.

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

Take new opportunities when they come, take a chance and say ‘yes’.  You don’t need to know everything about a job or a project when you start it.  Be flexible – have an open mind and a keenness to learn – you don’t just have to stick to one path.  Dive in and work hard!!

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