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UK auto industry’s top rising stars named in 2023 Great Women Awards

The winners of the 2023 Autocar Great Women: Rising Stars award have been announced, recognising the motoring industry’s best up-and-coming talent spanning 11 categories.

Held in conjunction with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and assisted by executive search specialists Ennis and Co, Autocar’s Great Women awards celebrate the most successful rising stars across a wide cross section of the industry, employed by firms from JLR and Mini to Pendragon.

There were 124 Rising Stars recognised across 11 classes – each class then receiving a category winner.

All Rising Stars were judged to be outstanding in their field and recognised at Autocar’s annual Great Women event, held this year at Stellantis’s UK headquarters in Coventry.

Among the winners were Julie Stears, chief engineer at JLR responsible for engineering quality; Megan Harrell, Mini UK’s strategy, planning and operations manager; and Emma Whyld, Toyota UK’s section manager for employee relations.

Whyld was named winner in the new ‘Diversity, Equality and Inclusion’ category that recognises those making the automotive sector more appealing to a wider range of people. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The competition for the Great Women awards gets stronger every year, with this year’s exceptionally high calibre of entries making the judging process tougher but more rewarding than ever.

“Congratulations to the winners, all rising stars in their fields, whose success across such a broad range of roles is evidence of the many career opportunities automotive has to offer. 

“Highlighting the achievements of these future business leaders can only help attract more talented people from all backgrounds and with differing skill sets into automotive jobs – and we need them all as we strive to transform the industry and, indeed, mobility in the UK and globally.”

The full list of category winners:  

First name Last name Company Job title Category
Emma Whyld Toyota Section manager, employee relations DE&I
Megan Harrall MINI UK Strategy, planning and operations manager Operations
Julie Stears JLR Chief engineer – engineering quality Vehicle Development
Sydney Hewitt Ford UK European case progression lead – Ranger Customer Aftercare
Oxana Grishina Hyundai Motor UK Head of future retail and transformation Mobility and Digital
Tina Wang JLR Senior procurement manager, China EV propulsion Purchasing
Tamara Better Nissan Product communications manager PR & Comms
Laura Dennett Pendragon PLC Customer experience & reputation leader Marketing (supplier & retail)
Charlotte Mills Pendragon PLC Head of business, Stratstone, Mini Harrogate Sales
Leonie Raistrick Stellantis (Peugeot) Head of social media Marketing (manufacturer)
Rhonda Tomlinson Toyota UK Section manager Manufacturing

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