Real Model Interview Episode #11 Zoe Armstrong, Volkswagen Group UK

Zoe Armstrong
What attracted you to working in the automotive industry?

I have always loved cars – I remember being little and sitting in the car with my sister naming all of the cars that we drove past..

Describe a typical day for you

Luckily there is no such thing! I could be talking about technical details of specialist conversions or performance versus target for large international fleets of vehicles or even talking about technical IT system changes in order to manage new industry legislation.

Tell us about how you went about securing your first promotion

I worked really hard. I worked extra hours when it was needed, I thought not just about what I was doing, but the impact that it had on others and I made sure that my interactions were positive (even when the message itself wasn’t always positive). This meant that when I did apply for that promotion, I felt confident in myself that I could do more.

Who do you turn to for advice or support?

Lots of people and sometimes more than one person. I tend to seek advice from the people who I know will be honest and tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear. From a support perspective, I think that I am really lucky as I work in a great team in a great department. We all want to help each other and nothing is ever too much trouble if you need support.

What is the biggest challenge you face when trying to provide great customer service?

Sometimes it’s about trying to second guess what someone wants to be able to quickly establish whether you can do anything to help or not. Time is such a precious commodity for everyone these days and its best not to waste anyone’s time unnecessarily. Getting the right message from the right person quickly is sometimes more important than the message itself.

What advice would you give automotive women who wish to progress?

You have got this! Be brave! How would you feel if you didn’t apply for that job and someone who wasn’t as good got the job instead of you? If nothing else, applying for the job shows that you are interested in your next move and also could be great interview practice for the next role that comes along. I have also had some sideways moves too which were never really planned but have always worked out really well so don’t rule out anything that seems a little bit different.

How will you achieve your career ambitions and your personal life ambitions?

It’s great to remind yourself of what you have achieved and therefore what you are capable of.

I have an end goal that’s my ambition and then I work back from that – what do I need to be doing to get me to that point. It’s also ok though to change your mind or even to have periods of time when everything gets put on the back burner and then reassessed again at a later date to see if it’s still right and relevant.

Which 3 words best describe you?

I have had to ask some of my colleagues to help me on this……engaging, influential and quirky.

If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be?

I would stop overthinking things. I actually even make myself laugh sometimes at how much I can overthink something.

Who in your life has been a major positive influence for you?

Oh my goodness – lots of people! Both my parents had fantastic work ethics. Dan, my other half is very good at giving me a different perspective on things and I have worked with some amazing people over the years. I sometimes ask myself ‘what would that person do now?’ and think about whether I need to change my position or approach.

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