Currently reading: Autocar names top rising stars in 2023 Great Women awards
Best up-and-coming female talent spanning 11 categories named; 124 other rising stars also recognised

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

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

There were 124 Rising Stars recognised across 11 classes – as well as a category winner in each class. All Rising Stars were judged to be outstanding in their field and recognised today at the annual Autocar 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 Harrall, 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, Equity and Inclusion’ category, which recognises those making the automotive sector more appealing to a wider range of people. 

Mark Tisshaw, Autocar’s editor, said the standards were higher than ever this year. “The quality of our entries was so strong that it made judging not only more difficult but more enjoyable than ever before," he said. "I know all of our winners will continue to showcase our industry at its best, both in their fast-progressing careers and personal development. We will watch their careers grow with great interest.”



Chair of the judging panel and managing director of Haymarket Automotive Rachael Prasher added: "I want to congratulate all of the winners and Great Women of 2023. Seeing the breadth and depth of talent and the sheer variety of roles in the automotive industry is inspiring. As we navigate our way through seismic industry change, such talent and diversity of thought has never been more vital"

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.”

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This year's event included a number of speakers, including a keynote from Lynn Calder, CEO of Ineos Automotive and Q&As from Diane Miller, plant director for Vauxhall Motors; and Claire Miller, advisor and a former director at Octopus Electric Vehicles. A panel debate was also held, featuring Lynda Ennis, founder of Ennis & Co, Tina Lovelock of Brompton Bicycle, Kristian Elvefors, managing director of Volvo Car UK, and Ivan Sarti, IT director of Group Lotus.

This year’s Great Women initiative was sponsored by: Advanced Propulsion Centre UK; Aston Martin Lagonda; BMW UK; Bosch; CitNOW Group; Ennis & Co; Horiba MIRA; Inchcape; Jardine Motors Group; Kia UK; London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC); Group Lotus; Lookers; McLaren Automotive; Nissan Motor Corporation; Pendragon; Stellantis UK; Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT); and Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK.

You can view the full list of winners by visiting the Great Women in the British Car Industry microsite.

First name

Last name 

Company Job title


Emma Whyld Toyota Section manager, employee relations DE&I
Megan Harrall MINI UK

Strategy, planning and

operations manager

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

Our apprentice winners, in alphabetical order, are:

Esther Charles; Skye Davis; Katie Dennett; Georgia Hackett; Lauren Hart; Stephanie Haynes; Tia Hollis; Lucy Lovette; Chloe Metcalf; Lauren Helena Poole; Molly Starkes; Jess Williams; Emma Rose Woolley

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