Currently reading: Expert line-up for Autocar's Great British Women in the Car Industry - Rising Stars event revealed
Experts from Ford and Jaguar Land Rover among those who will participate in 21 June event

Experts from Ford and Jaguar Land Rover will be among a stellar line-up of guest speakers at this year’s Autocar’s Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars event.

The event, which will be held at Twickenham Stadium on 21 June, aims to identify and promote the car industry’s most promising female rising stars and highlight the industry’s career opportunities. The event has almost doubled in size since its inaugural running last year.

A series of panels and discussions will be held during the day. It will begin with a Q&A session with Fiona Spowers, the director of Riversimple, an innovative British company that has built a hydrogen fuel cell car called the Rasa. A second keynote address will be given by Paul Geddes, the Group CEO of the Direct Line Group and non-executive director of Channel Four Television Corporation.

The event will feature two panel debates, on ‘The car industry today and the opportunity it offers’, and ‘How to progress in the industry and make the most of the opportunities in it’.

Panellists in the opening debate will include Helen Emsley (head of design, GM Buick and GMC), Sue Robinson (director, National Franchised Dealer Association),  Paul van der Burgh (president and managing director, Toyota (GB) PLC),  Linda Carpenter(product planning and strategy director, Ford of Europe), Danella Bagnall (EVP product engineering lead for China/Asia Pacific region, Jaguar Land Rover) and Matthew Weaver (design director, Infiniti EMEA).

The second debate will feature Jeremy Thomson (managing director, Mazda Motors UK Ltd), Michelle Roberts (head of international brand and communications management, BMW AG/MINI UK), Clare Martin (group HR director, Jardine Motors Group incorporating Lancaster), Val Jackson (client executive, Fujitsu Services) and Jennifer Thomas (head of internal communications & experience, Direct Line Group).

During the event, which is run by Autocar in association with the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) and backed by Direct Line Group, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, KPMG and Ennis & Co, the top 100 female rising stars in the car industry will be recognised.

Nominations for the top 100 list have closed, and judging has already taken place. The panel was chaired by Haymarket Automotive managing director Rachael Prasher and comprised Jim Holder, Steve Cropley and Rachel Burgess from Autocar’s editorial team, plus SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes and director of communications and international Tamzen Isacsson.

“It’s a testament to the importance of Autocar’s Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars event that we will be joined by so many major names from not only the motoring world but other industries too," said Prasher.


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“With a roll call of industry experts debating and discussing the hot topics of the day via two panels and the chance for our rising stars to network with them over lunch, our upcoming event is shaping up to be another resounding success.

“As ever, though, our main focus will be on celebrating the potential female stars of tomorrow thanks to our top 100, and highlighting the opportunities for rewarding careers that exist within the automotive sector.”

Space for the event is strictly limited. Anyone interesting in attending should contact Haymarket Automotive brand executive Charlene Harry at

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