The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has held the 3rd annual Women@SIMI event to mark the contribution that women make to the Irish Motor Industry.

Over 160 women from around the country, and representing different sectors such as Heavy Goods Vehicles, Vehicle Body Repairs, Franchise Retailers and Distributors, gathered in the Conrad Hotel in Dublin for the event.

The aim of the event is to facilitate women working in the Motor Industry in Ireland to meet, network and share their experiences in what is otherwise viewed as a traditional male dominated environment.

The event is now a significant date in the Industry calendar and continues to grow year on year. Women@SIMI recognises the dynamic role played by women in the Industry, as leaders to the next generation of young women coming into the Industry, and as key players driving our Industry forward in their individual professional roles.

Alan Greene, President of SIMI, opened the event and highlighted the need for diversity across the Industry, but also hinted at the challenges faced to make the Industry more attractive to young women: “We need to capitalise on the different skills and mindsets that both men and women bring to a business. Collectively as an Industry we need to change the perception of the Industry, as employers are missing out on unknown opportunities to hire women into the sector. We require more initiatives to promote the variety of careers available within the Industry and a well-marked career path.”

Gillian Fanning, Marketing Director of Serfac Limited, Member of the SIMI Management Board, and Chairperson of the SIMI Wholesalers committee, delivered this year’s key note address and spoke about the need for female role models to lead the way in the Industry and help change the perception of the Industry as a male one:  “As an Industry we need to work together to change the cultural perceptions and educate women that when you think of a job in the Motor Industry, you don’t just think of a male dominated environment, but one that consists of many different sectors, diverse roles and great career opportunities.”

Women@SIMI is now in its third year

Women@SIMI again this year delivered a very impressive panel of speakers, with Mary Kennedy, Master of Ceremonies, interviewing Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the Road Safety Authority, and Regina Doherty, Government Chief Whip and Minister of State in the Department of An Taoiseach. Both provided insight into their own career progression and day-to-day roles in State organisations.

Penny Ferguson, Founder of The Living Leader, shared her expertise on Personal Leadership, and encouraged more women to put themselves forward for leadership roles.

Pat Creed, CEO of Bank of Ireland Finance, who sponsored the event said, “We are delighted to be associated with this event as Sponsor for the third year in a row. It is an excellent event and growing in popularity every year. Bank of Ireland Finance continues to be a great supporter of the Motor Industry and it is particularly encouraging to see more and more senior female business executives in this sector.”

Caroline Kidd