8th March 2022

I’m a manager in the automotive industry first, a woman second

This International Women’s Day we reflect on some of the ladies of the specialist car industry that are spearheading our development, protecting museum-worthy cars for the future, and securing our automotive investments. Speaking exclusively to Footman James, they share some of their stories, sentiments, and successes.

“We’re not trying to paint the town pink, but it’s important that we reflect upon women more than once a year, especially those within the automotive industry,” says Zenvo Automotive’s CEO Angela Hartman. Hartman, who has been CEO of the Danish hypercar maker since 2012 says she’s the only female CEO in the hypercar industry, having grown the Zenvo team over three times since she joined. “It’s sometimes difficult when all of your peers are male, but then I think that sometimes gives us [Zenvo] an edge.”

She continues, “It’s important to treat all the team as equals - gender, race, seniority - and as a woman in a role such as mine it’s even more important to continue this from the technician to senior managers and board-level. I’m a great believer in trusting those who are good at what they do, and nurture those with a great attitude.”

A sentiment that fellow automotive CEO Tamalie Newbery follows. She’s been the CEO and Museum Director of the famed UK-based Brooklands Museum since 2017. Taking over from Allan Winn after his early retirement, she said, “I believe very strongly that every organisation, every team, is better for having a range of different people within it, and any endeavour that attracts a lot of the same people without diversity is missing opportunities."

Tamalie continued, “I’m fortunate in my career that being a woman hasn’t stopped me from getting promotions and opportunities. I’m aware that in the early stages of my career I wrote off certain paths and opportunities based on how male dominated they were. I’m sure the same applies for men entering a female dominated industry too. Thinking contextually; how different would primary school education be with a greater number of male teachers?"

“In this role I spend a lot of time in rooms with mostly men and only one or two women. It’s not an issue day-to-day, but I think it’s a huge shame there aren’t more ladies in the automotive sector - there’s a lot to excite women in this industry.”

Footman James’ Head of Commercial and Private Clients Samantha Smith reflects on her career with FJ, saying, “The people and future leaders in the automotive industry need to be as diverse as the types of vehicles the industry encompasses. There are some amazing ladies at FJ, who we insure, and rely upon within our specialist automotive sector. Today, on International Women’s Day, I think we should all be celebrating them and then looking at what we can do to get more women into automotive jobs.”

Samantha Smith runs a team of 30 at Footman James, working across a range of insurance offerings, from private clients to automotive dealers and even household insurance. She finishes by saying, “Footman James has supported me as a person, not a woman. I’ve always said I’m a manager in the automotive industry first, a woman second.”

On this International Women’s Day, we urge you to reflect upon the ladies in your life and the automotive industry. After all, we have a lot to thank women for when it comes to cars: from Bertha Benz, the first person to drive an internal-combustion-powered automobile over a long distance, to Hazel Chapman, the lady that pushed Lotus to become the successful F1 and sportscar brand. To read more about the powerful women who helped shape the automotive industry, you may be interested to read this blog.

Who are you celebrating this International Women's Day? Let us know in the comments below.