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Stellar line-up of leaders to address audience at Autocar’s Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars event

Anticipation is building ahead of Autocar’s Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars event, which will feature a star-studded line-up of guest speakers, a bigger venue and the announcement of the top 100 female rising stars.

Set to be held on 21 June at Twickenham Stadium, the event – which has doubled in size since its inaugural running last year – aims to identify and promote the sector’s most promising female rising stars and highlight the industry’s career opportunities.

A star-studded roll call of experts from global car brands including Ford and Jaguar Land Rover will take part in a host of panels and discussions throughout the day. Kicking things off will be a keynote speech from Fiona Spowers, director of Riversimple, a highly innovative British company that has built a hydrogen fuel cell car called the Rasa and raised more than £1 million in investment in just a single round of funding.

Having previously held the position of head of disruption at advertising agency TBWA, Spowers’ insights into the industry will be fascinating. In the afternoon, a second keynote address will be given by Paul Geddes, Direct Line Group CEO and non-executive director of Channel Four Television Corporation.

Paul started his career in marketing, with UK and European roles at Procter & Gamble prior to joining one of the UK’s largest insurers.

Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars will feature two debates during the day. The first, taking place in the morning, is entitled ‘The car industry today and the opportunities it offers’, will feature a panel made up of the following key players:

  • Helen Emsley – head of design, GM Buick and GMC
  • Sue Robinson – director, National Franchised Dealer Association
  • Paul van der Burgh – president and managing director, Toyota (GB) PLC
  • Linda Carpenter –product planning and strategy director, Ford of Europe
  • Danella Bagnall – EVP product engineering lead for China/Asia Pacific region, Jaguar Land Rover
  • Matthew Weaver – design director, Infiniti EMEA

A second panel debate, ‘How to progress in the industry and make the most of the opportunities in it’, will take place just after lunch and be discussed by the following VIP guests:

  • Jeremy Thomson – managing director, Mazda Motors UK Ltd
  • Michelle Roberts – head of international brand and communications management, BMW AG/MINI UK
  • Clare Martin – group HR director, Jardine Motors Group incorporating Lancaster
  • Val Jackson – client executive, Fujitsu Services
  • Jennifer Thomas – head of internal communications & experience, Direct Line Group

Over lunch, rising stars will get the chance to talk to many of these established names in a networking session. This will feature Danella Bagnall (Jaguar Land Rover), Lisa Brankin (marketing director, Ford of Britain), Julia Woodhouse (purchase director for global chassis, Ford Motor Company), Josephine Payne (production area manager, Dagenham Engine Plant, Ford Motor Company), Karen Parry (head of international PR, Jaguar Land Rover), Angela Shepherd (network operations director, Mercedes-Benz UK), Helen Emsley (GM Buick and GMC) and Sue Robinson (National Franchised Dealer Association). The afternoon will also feature an exclusive product reveal.

Run by Autocar in association with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and backed by Direct Line Group, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, KPMG and Ennis & Co, Great British Women in the Car Industry will name the top 100 female rising stars.

These future CEOs, engineering directors and design directors have been selected from the following areas of the car industry: vehicle development, manufacturing, retail/sales, marketing, communications, apprentices, design, HR and executive. A winner from each category and an overall winner will be selected.

Judging has already taken place by a panel chaired by Haymarket Automotive brand director Rachael Prasher and comprising Jim Holder, Steve Cropley and Rachel Burgess from Autocar’s editorial team, plus SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes and director of communications and international Tamzen Isacsson.

“It’s testament to the importance of Autocar’s Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars event that we will be joined by so many major names from not only the motoring world but other industries too,” said brand director Rachael Prasher.

“With a roll call of industry experts debating and discussing the hot topics of the day via two panels and the chance for our rising stars to network with them over lunch, our upcoming event is shaping up to be another resounding success.

“As ever, though, our main focus will be on celebrating the potential female stars of tomorrow thanks to our Top 100, and highlighting the opportunities for rewarding careers that exist within the automotive sector. If you haven’t already secured your attendance, don’t waste time; sign up now.”

Space for the event at strictly limited. Anyone interested in attending should immediately email Haymarket Automotive brand executive Charlene Harry.

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