Throughout 2022 we feature a new female leader from around the globe, highlighting their career achievements, biggest influences, and the advice they would give to other young women considering a career in the automotive industry.
MEET THIS WEEK’S LEADER: MAGGIE NIGHTINGALE, HEAD OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, CARSHOP UK
“FIND OUT WHAT YOU LIKE DOING BEST AND THEN GET SOMEONE TO BELIEVE IN YOU ENOUGH TO PAY YOU TO DO IT.”
First Automotive Job: Personal Assistant
PAG Tenure: 9 years
Most satisfying part of your job: Helping people. I am exceptionally passionate and believe the customer experience can be our differentiator from our competition. Many dealerships can offer a broad selection of cars, competitive pricing and offer products and services that capture the customer’s interest, but second-to-none, the customer experience can achieve customer retention. This allows you to build your customer base through referrals, and places you above the competition. I love making a difference, however small to our customers, and I look for an example of where I have achieved that every day.
Who was the biggest influence in your career? My operations director who I reported to during my first leadership position has influenced my career the most. When I started as an operations manager, I had a customer service/call center background and while I was confident in those skills, I lacked confidence in how I could apply those skills to my new role. I learned that problem solving is a very transferrable skill and approaching an operational or process issue with the end user or customer in mind would achieve the most effective result. I also learned how to constructively challenge ideas and processes with data and insight, which reminded me often to believe in myself. I now focus on building the new rather than fighting the existing, alongside consistent hard work, helps me to achieve everything I have hoped. I now make sure to remind myself!
Looking back on the last decade, how have you seen the automotive industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women? As an industry we are moving to a place where we are making an impact, regardless of gender. There’s still a way to go in closing the equality gap, and the automotive industry has had some negative associations as being an environment that it’s difficult to succeed in if you are a woman. Looking around the room at industry events today versus eight years ago is quite different. There are women in positions throughout the industry that are achieving massive success, and while we may still be underrepresented, it’s changing. Seeing female head of business achievements, alongside best in class customer experience metrics within the Sytner Group at our recent conference was inspirational. There are fantastic initiatives, awards and events across the industry that really celebrate women and their contributions and seeing men in the room cheering them on and supporting this evolution is fantastic!
What hobbies do you enjoy? I love to run – there’s nothing better than taking your frustration out on your sneakers!
Where do you see yourself in the next five years? I am extremely ambitious and there is a lot I would like to accomplish in the next five years! I hope to be leading a growing, best-in-class customer experience operation that is evolving and adapting to changing customer behaviors. I have my sights set on a directorship and I know that when the time is right, that will be ticked from the goal board!
What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the automotive industry? Once you join, you won’t want to leave! The industry is full of exceptionally talented individuals who LOVE to talk and share their experiences as well as training and tools to help with your success. It’s fast-paced, exciting and dynamic – the landscape is changing, come and be a part of it!
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? “Find out what you like doing best and then get someone to believe in you enough to pay you to do it.” I am incredibly grateful that I have a role that I love, and I can’t wait to continue to build my career in the customer experience arena within the automotive industry!