Company: Jaguar and Land Rover
Location: Gaydon, Warwickshire, England
Education: Masterís degree in manufacturing engineering, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England
Family: Partner, Paul Bailey
I was brought in to run the Jaguar F-Type program and develop it. This was a mid-price sports car based on the concept that had just been shown at the Detroit auto show. It was designed to compete with the Porsche Boxster. The whole team was really passionate about it. On the F-Type we were working toward the main program approval gateway. When we got the news that it had been put on hold, everyone was so disappointed.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
I started my last role -- global communications director for Land Rover -- just as they were going through a massive range of product launches. We started off by saying there were huge opportunities to modernize the brand. So using my team here and linking with teams in the market, PR and also engineering teams, we were able to modernize the position of the brand and launch all these vehicles. It peaked with the Range Rover Sport launch -- widely regarded as the most integrated campaign weíve ever done. Land Rover as a brand has tremendous passion and emotion associated with it.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
We built our own house a few years ago -- my partner should really be an architect.
Iím also crazy about adventure travel -- I enjoy going up big hills. I climbed one in the middle of Venezuela, and it took three or four hours to get to 9,000 feet. When you get to the top thereís a tremendous sense of elation, of achievement.
What is your current challenge at work?
Keeping the company and the dealers working on customer loyalty. Weíre extremely good at attracting customers with the fantastic product ranges we have, but actually keeping the customers the second time around is something [we need to improve]. Customer satisfaction is something I talk long and lovingly about. Jaguar is in a very good place -- the challenge is to bring Land Rover up to a similar level. Thatís where my focus is.
What about the auto industry surprised you?
It surprised me how much fun it is to work in this industry. Everythingís done on such a global scale. And even though Jaguar and Land Rover are quite small brands, the awareness and power they have is surprising.
What obstacles do women in the auto industry face?
I havenít really seen any. The whole gender thing is almost a non-issue.What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?
Itís actually just about having the confidence [to enter the car business]. Lots of women enjoy cars -- Iíd encourage them to come and find out about it. There are possibly some old-fashioned preconceptions. Some people may be thinking back to the highly unionized environment of the 1970s, ďjobs for the boysĒ attitudes. I donít think that exists any more.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry?
I would absolutely say, ďGo for it!Ē But I would give the same advice whether it was a male or a female.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I guess thereís a really obvious answer to that one, which would be to be managing director for Jaguar or Land Rover. It would be very hard to work for a different brand that doesnít have so much emotion and heritage and almost mystique.
What subject affecting women in this industry is not being talked about enough?
Thereís a very good support system here, so thatís not an issue really. I donít really see any gender barriers or issues against women.
What do you do to relax?
Usually for me itís getting out and about. If Iíve got enough time I find travel relaxing.
As Iím less likely to be going to the middle of Venezuela these days, itís more likely to be taking the dogs out to the Cotswolds or, preferably up to the Scottish Highlands.
The other thing we like doing is driving through Europe.