carwow’s UK MD Sally Foote reflects on her professional and personal experiences on International Women’s Day
The automotive sector has a huge amount of legacy to deal with – both in terms of technology, and culture. Leaders must therefore build the future, rather than trying to paper over the cracks of the past.
I’ve spent my career working in markets that are being disrupted, and automotive couldn’t have more disruption going on. But both carwow and the industry have incredible agility and appetite to adapt to change, driving innovation. And it’s great to see that much of that change is today being spearheaded by women.
When I was applying for the role here, it was hard for me to look at carwow and not be impressed by what the business has already achieved, but also by the opportunity it has in front of it. Industries that are being disrupted are really exciting places to build businesses, and there is no better place to try and fix a problem than from the inside. carwow’s position in the market gives it an ability and a responsibility to drive positive change.
I’m passionate about sustainability, both when it comes to supporting consumers who want to transition to EVs, and helping companies grow in a healthy and responsible way.
Supporting women at carwow
One part of this means taking a holistic approach to how we operate internally, whether that’s our screening of job descriptions for gendered language, the mandatory DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) training all carwowers go through, or our hybrid approach to working.
I’m proud that we also offer a lot of direct support to women, building an internal mentoring group, becoming members of the Automotive 30% Club (which aims to have 30% of key leadership positions filled by women by 2030), while also offering enhanced parental, pregnancy loss, and fertility treatment leave.
I don’t think you can measure all types of impact with individual organisational targets. Certainly, the effect of investments that previous workplaces and organisations made in me, and in other women, will go on for decades, across all sorts of industries.
Why IWD is still so important
I’ve been lucky in my life and career to have been supported by some incredible women, some of whom have changed my whole trajectory. We don’t often take the time to remember the impact such people have, and International Women’s Day is a moment in the year for gratitude and reflection, coupled with the chance to give back by supporting others.
I consciously invest time and effort both in the companies I work in and across my wider network, supporting women in figuring out what they want to do, encouraging them to create and take opportunities and by connecting them to one another and others in my network. I’m grateful for everyone who has done the same for me – both men and women.
International Women’s Day is still very much needed right now, but my hope is that one day the fight for gender equality continues to progress in both the workplace and in society, to the extent that it becomes moot. We’ll all be better off when we reach that goal.