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Hunt is on for motor industry's inspirational women

Cox Automotive is seeking nominations for the 2021 Barbara Cox Woman of the Year Award, which will honour an inspirational woman within the automotive industry.

Now in its third year, the award has been launched in association with AM and sister title Fleet News to recognise a woman that demonstrates a commitment to innovation, leadership or community. 

The award is named after Barbara Cox, who served as director of Cox Enterprises, Cox Automotive’s parent company in the USA, and recognises an inspirational female leader and role model in the automotive industry.

The winner of the award will receive £5,000 to spend on her personal development.

Alison Jones (centre), receives the Barbara Cox Woman of the Year Award from Alison Fisher and Martin ForbesIn 2020 it was presented to Alison Jones, group managing director UK and senior vice-president of Groupe PSA. On her win, Jones said: “I felt very privileged to be recognised by the judges for my contribution to our industry, customers, my teams and the wider community.

"To be recognised for this by others was a real honour, and it meant so much after many years of service to our industry.”

Alison Fisher, chief people officer at Cox Automotive, said: “Inclusion is a priority for Cox Automotive, not only in the UK, but globally. We want to create inclusive workplaces where everyone can be their true self at work. A key part of our inclusion strategy is our Women With Drive initiative which exists to celebrate the work of women in automotive.

“The Barbara Cox ‘Woman of the Year’ recognises successful women, like our previous winners Beryl (Carney) and Alison, who make a significant impact on the industry and hopefully inspire other women in the automotive industry to do the same.” 

Stephen Briers, editor-in-chief of Fleet News, AM and Smart Transport, said: “Diversity and inclusion is a key brand value for our titles, so we are delighted to partner Cox Automotive in this important award which recognises and celebrates inspirational women in the automotive industry.”

The nomination window is open until January 22, 2021, and nominees will be invited to provide further details.

Both the nomination and supporting information will be reviewed by a panel of judges that includes Fleet News’ Sarah Tooze, Cox Automotive UK’s Liam Quegan and Alison Fisher; last year’s winner Jones and 2019 winner JCT600’s Beryl Carney plus Lynda Ennis from Ennis & Co.

The winner will be announced at the next Women with Drive event on March 8, 2021, as part of wider planned celebrations on International Women’s Day. 

Nominations for the award are invited from across the automotive industry, and should be entered via the Women with Drive website:


Cox Automotive’s Women with Drive network is open to individuals and businesses across the automotive sector.

Since its launch on International Women’s Day in March 2016 it has grown to regularly having more than 100 people at its events. 

Businesses that have pledged support include BMW UK, Free2Move Lease, Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, Fleet Logistics and Grosvenor Leasing. 

Businesses that join commit to: 

  • Celebrating the achievements of women in the automotive industry.
  • Championing equality both inside and outside the workplace.
  • Ensuring every woman has the opportunity to reach her full potential.
  • Challenging inequality and bias.

The events feature inspirational speakers and celebrate the achievements of women working in the automotive sector.

The latest event, which took place virtually, was an hour-long panel session with Daksh Gupta, chief executive at Marshall Motor Group and Louise
Benford, chief people officer at The AA.

The event focused on inclusion and the role men have in creating inclusive workplaces.

It also looked at the impact of COVID-19 on the automotive industry, how the industry is changing and what 2021 might have in store.

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