We live and work in an increasingly diverse and socially aware environment. Reflecting that diversity is crucial to us all in serving our customers and in recruiting and retaining the talent we need to push our businesses forward. Added to a focus on diversity must be creating an inclusive environment where everyone knows that they can contribute, be recognised and realise their potential.

I am delighted to see the momentum that continues to build to support Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). The Automotive 30 Club aims to fill at least 30% of key leadership positions in member organisations with diverse women by 2030. The IMI, with its Diversity Task Force and the SMMT, with its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, are just some of the exciting initiatives helping to promote and improve D&I across our industry. It is making an impact.

I want to highlight the importance of role models and their importance in developing and retaining talent. Such role models can demonstrate that career development is possible for everyone; they can also highlight the value of inclusivity. Not everyone aspires to be a business leader, but a business that shows everyone can be heard and recognised will surely have a more motivated, engaged team.

D&I is about optimising talent.

I want to highlight two role models from MotoNovo, who illustrate the value of a positive D&I approach that can benefit all businesses regardless of scale.

In late September, the Women in Credit Awards were held in London. The awards champion the work of incredible women across the entire credit and financial services industry. I was delighted to see two of my colleagues winning awards and, in doing so, champion the value of D&I in its broadest sense.

Across the automotive industry, we can never get enough good people. Something that has become evident within MotoNovo as our D&I programme has gained momentum is that sometimes, the talent sought is right there in front of you.

National Account Manager Shamaila Madeley, who has worked in the automotive finance sector for over twenty years, was recognised as Colleague of the Year. Cathy Addicott, one of our Customer Relationship Advisors, won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Hardly newcomers to the industry, both have flourished in an environment without barriers to success.

Cathy is a role model, customer service care champion, and senior generation hero. For someone whose passion is to be on the phone, helping customers to win the Lifetime Achievement Award was a thrill. Shamaila's energy and commitment have always been there, but as the Colleague Award criteria suggested, she may have been 'previously overlooked for achievement-type awards'; not now.

For both, the game-changer in their careers and recognition has been seizing the opportunities MotoNovo's D&I programme afforded, gaining confidence and thriving. They and MotoNovo have benefitted, including their colleagues who can see that career development and recognition are achievable.

Our role models reveal at a human level the value a positive approach to D&I can have. I hope they inspire you and your business to seek out similar gains.

Debbie McKay, Commercial Director of Motor Sales

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