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Motor Industry encourages women to make a difference

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) recently hosted in Dublin its 8th annual Women@SIMI event in conjunction with its sponsor Bank of Ireland.

The event was attended by over 170 professional women from a variety of different sectors within the motor industry in Ireland.

The panel of guest speakers included Mary Kennedy as Master of Ceremonies, Louise Grubb, CEO of Trivium Vet, and Norah Casey, broadcaster, entrepreneur, and human rights campaigner.

From left: Louise Grubb, Mary Kennedy, and Norah Casey.

Antonia Hendron, president of SIMI and the managing director of M50 Truck and Van Centre, addressed attendees, saying: “It’s wonderful to see so many successful women here from different sectors of our Industry. Our Industry is an area where female employee have been historically under-represented, and I am pleased to say this is changing.

“The SIMI’s Management board has changed in composition with a representation of six female leaders now sitting at the boardroom table and I am honoured to stand before you today as your president.”

Ms. Hendron remarked that events like Women@SIMI are important to create a space where professional women can have the opportunity to network and learn from each other as well as hearing from other successful people of different backgrounds and industries.

Reflecting on her own experience, Ms. Hendron said: “By being forced out of my comfort zone, it has led me to meet and make some incredible connections and friends from across the Motor Industry.”

She also encouraged attendees to make a difference and help shape the industry’s direction by getting involved with the Society.

Guest speaker Louise Grubb, remarked on the “importance of innovation, thinking outside of the box to create new opportunities, encouraging your team to express themselves, while been prepared to pivot when the road ahead changes, but above all don’t be afraid to take that opportunity to start in the first place”.

Norah Casey said: “It’s not what I did in my life that changed me, it’s what life did to me. Negativity can propel you, but look inside yourself and you will find the resilience to move forward. Don’t be afraid to create something new and different.

“There is a women’s agenda around cars that needs to be articulated, there needs to be a strategy about it, because it is incredibly important to us. There is no public transport that replaces the safety that cars give to women.”

Derek McDermott, managing director of Bank of Ireland Finance also commented: “We are making good strides for women in both the motor and banking industries.

“Bank of Ireland was the first Irish bank to publish a Gender Pay Gap Report in 2020 which highlights the percentage difference between what men and women are paid on average.”

“This year, the Bank introduced a menopause support policy that includes paid leave. This will help us continue to build a work environment in which everyone is treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.”

He added: “These are really important initiatives, but I would argue that there is still a long way to go in the whole area of gender diversity and in ensuring that there are strong opportunities for women across both industries.

“Women@SIMI represents an important event for women in the Motor Industry and one we are very proud to sponsor.”