10 Inspirational Women in the Automotive Industry

5 minutes

Last year, we published a post celebrating 10 inspirational female leaders within the automo...

Last year, we published a post celebrating 10 inspirational female leaders within the automotive industry. Today, we would like to highlight ten more women doing extraordinary things.

At MRL, we are advocates for closing both the gender divide and pay gap as part of our women in tech initiative. Consistently celebrating the fantastic achievements of amazing women within the tech industry is one way we are hoping to achieve this. 

10 inspirational women in the automotive industry

Alison Jones - UK Managing Director and Senior Vice-President at the PSA Group

In 2020, Alison Jones won Autocar’s Great Women in the British Car Industry 2020 initiative. Throughout her thirty-year career, twenty have been dedicated to the VW Group, holding numerous positions including Finance Director, Head of Aftersales and Customer Services and Managing Director. 

Sue Slaughter - Purchasing Director at Ford of Europe 

Sue’s career has always been at Ford, which is quite an accomplishment on its own. However, what may be the most inspiring is that she began her career in the business planning and logistics department before moving into purchasing. This shows that even with a career change, you can still accomplish fantastic things.

Dr Shelley Francis - Co-Founder and Managing Partner at EV Noir

Dr Shelley Francis’ company works with the likes of Tesla, Porsche, Nissan, Honda just to name a few. She helps automotive companies create an EMobility roadmap and also raises awareness of electric vehicles through education, works with underserved communities, and so much more.

Paula Cooper - Director at Toyota GB

Introducing online retailing, launching subscription services, developing a dealer network across the UK are just some of the extraordinary achievements Paula Cooper has accomplished. If this wasn’t impressive enough, she also won the Inspiring Women Award in 2020.

Yichen Gao - Senior Integration Engineer at Ford

Yichen Gao has achieved impressive things, so much so that she has rightfully been nominated for an Autocar Great Women: Rising Stars Awards. Yichen has led the integration and engineering of a high-voltage electric drive system for Ford’s Transit Custom PHEV. The most remarkable part? She cut the time required to accomplish her goal by 50%, resulting in the transit hitting the market ahead of schedule.  

Danella Bagnall - ​​Vehicle Programme Quality Director at Jaguar Land Rover

Nothing is more inspiring than being named the first female in something, particularly in a male-dominated industry, and Danella has achieved just that. In 2017, she became the company’s first female chief engineer. Her career has included multiple roles at JLR, starting as an engineer and rising through the ranks to her current position as Vehicle Programme Quality Director. In addition to her inspiring success, she promotes STEM and engineering subjects both internally and externally.

Buki Okoro - Manufacturing Process Engineer at Ford Motor Company

Buki Okoro has been nominated as a rising star not once but twice. Buki heavily contributed to the Ventilator Challenge UK along with other automotive companies, saving numerous lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, she supports local schools as a STEM ambassador. 

Gulnaaz Afzal - ADAS Quality Engineer at Rivian

Gulnaaz has a masters degree in aerospace engineering and is putting all the knowledge she gained to good use. Over the years, she has also won SWE Engineer of the Year (2017) and Top Women in EV (2021). 

Linda Jackson - Chief Executive Officer at Peugeot Brand

Yes, we know we included Linda Jackson in our shoutout last year, but there’s an excellent reason for listing her again as an inspirational woman within the automotive sector. Linda has become the first person ever to be included in the new Great Women Hall of Fame! 

Lisa Reeves - Head of Interior Design at Volvo

Lisa has been heavily involved in a remarkable set of projects, including the next-generation SPA 2 products, the Polestar 2 EV and Volvo’s S60 and V60. Before joining the Volo team in 2014, she worked at Bentley, where she submitted proposals for the interior design of the Bugatti and designed the interior of the second-generation Continental GT, Flying Spur and the Mulsanne. 

How MRL can help

We hope this list has inspired you; it has certainly inspired us. With so much talent and inspiration already in the spotlight, and plenty left to discover, we want to help as many women achieve their goals as possible. 

We work with some pretty impressive brands in the automotive industry, so if you’re looking for your next job, please do find out more about how we can help and get in touch. 


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