Julia Muir, Founder and Chief Executive of Gaia Innovation, and Founder UK Automotive 30% Club has been listed in the top 100 on the FT and HERoes Champions of Women in Business 2018 list.
The FT and HERoes Champions of Women in Business is a powerful celebration of the strides made in gender diversity around the world. The list is published annually by the Financial Times, showcasing female business leaders and their male allies.
Julia’s work through Gaia Innovation is to encourage women and close the gender gap: “Our Inspiration for Innovation programme is free of charge to state schools and facilitates meaningful interactions between female students and employers in male-dominated sectors such as automotive, engineering and technology.”
“We want to raise students’ awareness of all the available opportunities. We advise schools on the need to challenge gender segregation in subject choices and apprenticeship pathways, and include teachers and parents in visits to employers to dispel myths and outdated views about male-dominated workplaces.”
Julia is also an adviser to The 5% Club, showing how to encourage more women to undertake apprenticeships in male-dominated sectors, and she is founder of the UK Automotive 30% Club, a voluntary group of 22 Presidents, CEOs and MDs from the manufacturers, retailers and suppliers of the UK automotive industry.
“Our goal is to fill least 30% of key leadership roles through the pipeline by 2030,” she says. “As a direct result of membership of the club, the VW Group has set a goal for all its commercial operations globally to meet the target before 2025, Mazda UK has 33% female representation on the UK board, and Toyota GB has invested in a number of actions in its dealer network.”
Julia’s four-phase strategy includes: Reach Out (attracting women to the sector); Welcome In (removing unconscious bias from recruitment and induction); Pull Through (removing obstacles to progression) and Hold On (retaining talented women).
“The members work to this strategy, and we have an annual conference and learning group meeting to share ideas, information and collaborate on specific areas,” she explains. “It’s critical to inspire young people from less affluent backgrounds, particularly women, to aim higher and to equip themselves with the skills to escape the poverty trap of low-skilled insecure employment.”
In addition to the HERoes Champion award, Julia was a VP on the President’s Committee of the Automotive Fellowship International in 2015; received the Mary Lou Carrington Award 2016 by the Worshipful Company of Educators for her work supporting Speakers for Schools; was awarded the Women’s Automotive Special Recognition Award 2016 by the Women’s Automotive Group for founding and leading the UK Automotive 30% Club; and appointed to the board of the Barnsley Economic Partnership and the Sheffield City Region LEP Board in 2018. “I aim to bring to the SCR LEP further focus on ensuring the women of the region have the best education and employment opportunities.”