Company: Blue Bell Group
Location: Wilmslow, Cheshire, England
Education: Bachelorís degree in history, London University
Family: Husband, Christopher; children: Anthony, 38; Sophie, 36; Lucy, 34
Finance director at Blue Bell Wilmslow in 1975.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
Becoming the first female vice chairman of the Royal Automobile Club and managing a loyal and committed team.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
My eight engaging grandchildren.
What is your current challenge at work?
Developing a new dealership that involves bringing two outlets together on a new site and doubling the size.
What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
Iíve made lots of mistakes but no single ďbigĒ mistake. Looking back now I would say I was too cautious initially.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
The lack of women in senior positions.
What are the biggest obstacles facing women in the auto industry?
Losing out on career development opportunities because they have taken time off to have children.
What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?
The industry needs to promote itself more to young women at schools and universities. It also needs to become more flexible regarding facilitating women who want to have a family and a career.Are you doing anything to get more women interested in automotive careers?
Iím a judge on Mark Your Mark which is a UK government-backed initiative that recognizes high-achieving women in retailing. I actively encourage women in the motor industry to participate.
What is the best professional or personal advice anyone has given you? Who gave it to you?
Believe in yourself. It was given to me by Tom Purves, CEO of BMW Holding and chairman of BMW of North Americaís management board.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry?
Be tenacious and always try to take on most of the jobs and opportunities you are offered.
Are women pushed toward marketing and communications and discouraged from engineering and other technical jobs?
There is certainly a tendency for this to happen. Partly I think itís because women like these types of jobs. For some women the engineering and technical environment is too brittle.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
Iím very content and happy with what Iíve got. However I am looking forward to becoming the first female master of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers in 2011.
In the past it was the quality control body for the craft. Now it is a charitable association that supports the heritage craft of coachmaking and promotes excellence in the development of the trade within the modern aerospace, automotive and rail industries.
What subject affecting women in this industry is not being talked about enough?
The fact that those in career advisory roles in schools and universities are not doing enough to make young women aware of the auto industry as a potential career avenue. Also, that the auto industry needs to be pro-active in making itself more appealing to female graduates.
What do you do to relax?
I like gardening, reading biographies, playing bridge and I love cooking. I find cooking good food and presenting it well very relaxing. I have more than 200 cookbooks.