Real Model Interview featuring Alison Fisher, HR Director at Cox Automotive International and Inspiring Automotive Woman Award Winner for 2021

We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Alison Fisher, HR Director at Cox Automotive International. 

Read more below.

How did you feel to be nominated by your colleagues in the Inspiring Automotive Women Awards 2021 and how did it feel to be one of our winners?

I was clearly honoured to not only receive a nomination but to be one of the winners of the Inspiring Automotive Women Awards as I really didn’t expect it at all. I have been leading our inclusion, diversity, and equity plans for over 5 years now, so just see this as part of what I do. The fact that I love what I do really helps. I am privileged to do the job that I do, so it is important to me to champion other women and lift them up and help them achieve their dreams and ambitions. This award is not just for me, but for all the team members in Cox Automotive, who work hard each and every day to create a more inclusive business.

What is your job and what does it involve? 

HR Director, International. I have the responsibility for creating Cox Automotive as a great place to be across all of our International markets. Ensuring we have a consistent team member experience, where people feel cared for and valued, with a real sense of belonging.

How long have you worked in the sector and what attracted you to the sector?

I joined Cox Automotive nearly 6 years ago, having moved across from working in FMCG. It was the role that I was most attracted to, as an HR Professional, the sector may be different but the challenges and opportunities are common and I felt I could really make a difference.

What is your career history?

I have always worked in HR, since graduating back in 1994, which really does age me now! I started off working in Financial Services, for NatWest Bank. I was one of the first people they took on specifically to pursue an HR career route. I moved from HR admin, into Learning and Development and really did learn my trade there. After having my first son, I left to join Nestlé as an L&D Specialist, before moving to become an HR Business Partner. I held various HR roles over the 15 years I was at Nestlé with my last role being Head of HR Operations, leading a team of 100. I then joined Cox Automotive 6 years ago to continue my leadership journey as HRD in the UK and then Europe, before moving into my current position 6 months ago as International HR Director.

What do you like best about your job?

I think I have the coolest job in the business because as an HR leader, my job is to help create the right culture where people enjoy coming to work and people feel cared for and valued. As the cultural architect, being able to shape and influence how we make Cox a great place to be for everyone, is diverse, exciting, rewarding, and fun.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to continue to inspire, support, guide and mentor other women to follow their dreams. I want to help other girls and women to believe that they can achieve whatever they want to.

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

Alison Jones is a real inspiration to me. I love the fact that Alison is authentic, humble, a fabulous leader, full of compassion, who is always looking ahead to the future. She demonstrates that as a woman you can be successful in automotive by being true to yourself. I love the conversations I have with Alison, she makes me think and always makes me smile.

What makes you happy?

Personally, spending time with my 2 sons, or dinner and drinks with friends. I always try and exercise, because that does make me feel good, even at the time I might not enjoy it. Professionally, seeing people achieve things they didn’t think possible, team members saying that they love working for Cox and talking to team members, and listening to their passion and ideas.

Which word or phrase do you most overuse?

Doing the right thing – this is one of our guiding principles as a business and I must admit I do use it quite a lot, but only because as a leader it is important that we ‘Do the Right thing’. I am also quite prone to using the word ‘passionate’.

What is your worst trait?

Taking too much on and trying to solve everything as quickly as possible.

How would you like to be remembered?

Someone who cared, who was true to her beliefs and values, and always saw the positive in any situation. A role model, a confidant, a mentor, a supporter, a listening ear. A feminist.

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

Believe in yourself, be yourself, and work hard. Take the opportunities that come your way, even if you think you aren’t ready, just jump in and learn fast. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and remember to keep on learning, we are all continuous work in progress. Most of all enjoy what you do.

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