Catherine Faiers, COO, Auto Trader UK [Patron]
For Catherine, the most powerful thing about the Automotive 30% Club, is the dual approach to driving change - from the top down and the bottom up. A good number of the CEOs and leaders of the biggest businesses in the industry are onboard and so we should have a substantial impact if we all engage and work together.

She believes the challenge is to ensure that all of the positive sentiment created by the club translates to impact and outcomes within the businesses that have joined. Through focussing on outreach work to influence schools, communities and people of all levels within organisations, the club should build lasting foundations that will drive change beyond the leaders that are engaged today.

Unsure of which career path to follow as a youngster, Catherine started her employment as an accountant at PwC. She then went on to work in a number of different roles which included; finance, strategy, product and operations.

She has worked in the automotive sector for around 7 years and comments: “It’s a really exciting industry, operating right at the centre of huge technology changes that will impact how we all live and travel in the future. From connected cars, to the sharing economy, to autonomous and electric vehicles, the industry has a huge role to play.”

Her career at Auto Trader UK has been a series of upward and lateral moves. She joined the business as head of marketing and has since worked with their product, sales and technology teams. She loves her current COO role because every day is so different. The time she enjoys the most is when she’s with customers, as she always learns something new from their feedback.

Auto Trader have been on journey to achieve gender balance for over 5 years now. Their plc Board has 50% women and around 40% of their leadership team are women. As a technology company operating in the automotive industry, Catherine confirms it has not been an easy journey and they still have lots to do.

She feels very lucky to work with a team who care passionately about driving lasting change in how they recruit and reward, in how they work, in their people policies and in all areas of the business to make gender balance a reality.

Catherine confirms this makes her role much easier when she is promoting awareness of gender equality inside the business. She is an active member of Auto Trader’s women’s network, mentoring programmes and positively challenges decision making. Outside of the business, Catherine works with their customers, partners and other networks to drive change.

Upon discussing Catherine’s personal view on having a gender balanced business, she states: “The most important thing is that everyone can bring their true self to work. We all spend at least twice as much time each day at work as we do at home, and so people feeling comfortable in their work environment is so important for all of our wellbeing, health and happiness. To feel truly comfortable and engaged, people need to see other people that are like them, which is why representation at all levels is so important.”