Women Automotive Network’s Winter Meetup has reignited discussions on career advancement and breaking the mould in the automotive industry, with a strong message of ‘investing in your own growth’ being reiterated throughout the event.
A key takeaway was the importance of personal development and courage in pursuing career goals, with the event’s Chair, Imogen Bhogal, Fully Charged presenter, encapsulating this spirit: “It’s about being persistent, consistent and bold in your career choices. Challenging the status quo is a risk worth taking.”
The Network believes it is crucial to spread this message of empowerment and diversity, as it continues to champion a more inclusive automotive industry.
This year’s Winter Meetup showcased notable numbers: 334 attendees from over 150 companies, spanning 27 countries, with 170 networking meetings facilitated.
The event featured 13 distinguished speakers, each bringing unique insights to the fore.
Penny Weatherup, people director at Volkswagen Group UK, discussed career navigation and the crucial role of diversity in the industry during a live, on-stage interview, affirming: “You have to think about every interaction you have with employees and the shadow that casts. Be confident in who you are. Believe in your own authenticity. It’s okay to be yourself.”
Heike Neumeister, head of global talent at PowerCo SE, then went on to share insights into building a company from scratch and the challenges and opportunities that can arise as a result.
The meetup also included speed networking opportunities and six diverse workshops, exploring topics including the impact of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) on business culture, women’s empowerment and its economic significance, becoming a confident introvert, the importance of allyship, and advice on living with intention, purpose, passion and vision.
Staying on trend, Monika Balogh, innovation manager from Harman, also shared her experiences in starting a new venture, highlighting the distinctive capabilities women bring to fast-paced work environments, advising: “Innovation is not about ideas; it is about making ideas happen. Building a network of innovators requires curiosity, a desire to learn continuously, diversity and an entrepreneurial mindset.”
The session came to a close with a panel discussion, titled ‘Lessons from the Floor and Navigating Career Success’, with Alyx Gregory, head of dealer operations at Carwow sharing a message that resonated with many: “Don’t compromise on your authentic self. Find the people that inspire you and work really closely with them. Surround yourself with inspiring people and work on those close relationships. Always be aware of the impact you can have as a woman in the industry.”
The core aims of Women Automotive Network include fostering a supportive community, promoting professional development, and advocating for gender equality in the automotive industry.