Location: Crewe, England
Education: Bachelorís degree in English from University of York, England
Family: Husband, Paul
Graduate trainee with British Leyland.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
Being part of the success that has been achieved at Bentley in recent years.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
Itís a personal and a professional achievement. I am proud of the development of my team at Bentley. I couldnít do what I do without them. Their success is my success.
What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
Iíve never made one big mistake but there are things I would like to have done differently. Looking back I think I could have been more ambitious in my career. I think women are inclined to limit themselves.
What is your current challenge at work?
Planning our strategy for the next 10 years.
What are the biggest obstacles facing women in the auto industry?
The fact that the industry is not portrayed as an attractive place for women to work and have a good career.
What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?
We need to get girls interested in the industry from a young age. The education system doesnít do this.
Are you doing anything to get more women interested in automotive careers?
Not specifically for women. Iím interested in encouraging bright young people to get into the industry. I am very passionate about the need for young people to develop their skills. I am an apprenticeship ambassador for the government-backed Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network, which is an employer-led group designed to champion and promote apprenticeships to businesses.
Does Bentley have a program that identifies young, high- potential achievers?
Yes. Itís called the Becoming a Bentley Manager management development program. It received a National Training Award in 2007 in recognition of its success.
There are a number of women in this program. In 2006, more than 70 percent of management appointments were made from internal applicants.What is the best advice you have ever received? Who gave it to you?
My boss at Leyland, Stewart Pierce. His advice was always to take an opportunity when it was offered. If that meant jumping in at the deep end then do it. Never say, ďI canít.Ē
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry?
My advice is not auto industry specific. I would tell them to do what they really want to do and have a passion for.
Are women pushed toward marketing and communications and discouraged from engineering and other technical jobs?
Yes, and I think it is as a result of stereotyping. Thereís a perception that these are the areas women want to be in. I donít think that is necessarily the case.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I canít think of a better one than I have. The motor industry has given me a wonderful career.
What subject affecting women in this industry is not being talked about enough?
That women have to make choices men donít mainly regarding family and having children. Also that not enough young people are being encouraged to think about careers in engineering.
Have you encountered a glass ceiling in your career?
Yes and my head has the scars to prove it. But if I have made it easier for other women to move to the top then it was worth it.
What strengths do you think women contribute to business?
Men and women are wired differently. We should celebrate this and have the best of both genders in our companies. A company performs best when both sexes are operating at their peak.
What do you do to relax?
I like to read, spend time with close friends and travel.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
I wouldnít ďdoĒ anything. Iíd listen in order to understand the business.