AMF1, AML and partners of AMF1 came together to celebrate International Women's Day (IWD) with a series of panel discussions and workshops designed to inspire and support young women from the local community, showcasing the career opportunities that exist in the motorsport, automotive and technology industries – and the pathways to them.
Held at Aston Martin Works, Aston Martin's original manufacturing headquarters situated in Newport Pagnell – now the home of AML's historic refinishing service – the event saw AMF1, AML, Cognizant, AvaTrade and NetApp raise awareness for diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace, celebrate the women who work for each business and showcase female talent.
A key focus of the event was to explore the theme of this year's IWD, #EmbraceEquity – the notion of providing people with the tools they need to be successful, rather than providing everybody with the exact same thing. The day's discussions shone a light on that nuance, including ways to further conversations around equity within the workplace and the importance of diverse thinking within the industries, emphasising that it is not a level playing field for everyone.
The day of discovery featured a thought-provoking panel discussion, moderated by AvaTrade Chief Analyst Kate Leaman, with top female leaders from the respective organisations coming together to discuss progress, change and equity within the workplace.
The panellists, speaking to an audience of young female students from the local community, as well as AMF1 and AML staff, included AMF1's Chief Information Officer, Clare Lansley, Aston Martin Director of Accounting, Banking and Tax, Fiona Forster, Cognizant's UK&I Head of People Susie Gahan and Senior Manager, Delivery Excellence, Meghana Gothoskar plus NetApp Project Manager Erin McDonald and AMF1 Driver Ambassador Jessica Hawkins.
Prior to the panel discussion, the young female students attending the event were taken on a tour of the historic home of Aston Martin, Aston Martin Works. More than 13,300 cars have been hand-built at the Newport Pagnell site since 1955 and it is a world-renowned, service, repair and restoration facility and the oldest Aston Martin dealership.
The students were then immersed in the world of Formula One, with AMF1 CIO Clare Lansley providing an insight into life at the team and her career journey, before they spent time with a replica AMF1 car and Fernando Alonso's podium trophy from the weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.
AMF1 Senior Composite Designer Sosanna Ni Dhubhain and AMF1 Composite Technician and Paint Coordinator Araminta Ward talked them through the technological and engineering expertise poured into a modern-day F1 car, revealing the wealth of career opportunities available within motorsport and sharing advice on how to pursue a career in the sport.
The inspirational day for the students also included the chance for them to join a networking session with AML's Women in Leadership cohort to learn more about their career paths and journeys, before taking part in a workshop focused on enhancing their CV writing skills.
Kate Leaman, AvaTrade's Chief Analyst and panel moderator, said: "Empowering women in the financial world is not just a responsibility, it's a necessity. With AvaTrade moderating a live panel with Aston Martin F1 on International Women's Day, we take another step towards a more equitable and inclusive future."
"I'm so proud that both AML and AMF1 were joined today by leading female representatives from the likes of Cognizant, NetApp and AvaTrade."
Clare Lansley, AMF1 CIO, said: "I'm so proud that both AML and AMF1 were joined today by leading female representatives from the likes of Cognizant, NetApp and AvaTrade. It showed the unity of purpose we all share; and how, as dynamic brands across the automotive, motorsport and technological landscapes, we can signal effective change on a very broad scale.
"To be joined by an audience of engaged and interested young women, and to demonstrate to them that careers in our industries are achievable, was such a great opportunity. I hope we have shown the progress we are making and the path the industry still need to tread in order to achieve equity."
Simon Smith, Aston Martin Chief People Officer, said: "We were delighted to host the Aston Martin and AMF1 International Women's Day event at Aston Martin Works. Aston Martin is committed to increasing female leadership within the company and inspiring young women to consider a career within the automotive sector. We recognise that people come from a variety of backgrounds, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.
"Through initiatives like this event, we are not only demonstrating our ongoing commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive society, but also recognising the invaluable contributions of women in our companies today."
Shameka Young, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Cognizant, added: "Cognizant was proud to have two panellists participate in this important conversation today, and to sit alongside brands that care as much about gender diversity and inclusion as we do.
"Female leaders are a powerful force, and it's so important for an audience of younger women to see that modelled, and to feel like there is a place for them in technology. I hope it inspires women – and their male allies – to keep pushing for equity."
Sonya Mathieu, Partner Senior Director, NetApp UK&I, said: "At NetApp, we are proud to be a trusted cloud data services partner of AMF1 and are delighted today for our experts to have shared their exciting journeys from school to university to delivering the data solutions that are making Aston Martin a winning Formula One team.
"By sharing our career journeys and our routes to STEM careers, alongside Aston Martin CIO Clare Lansley and other partners, we hope to inspire and equip young women into becoming the engineering and technical experts of tomorrow."
#EmbraceEquity panel discussion
Watch our thought-provoking panel discussion, with top female leaders discussing progress, change and equity within the workplace.
Communicating and celebrating the importance of all aspects of DE&I is a central pillar of the AMF1 Make A Mark journey – an initiative based on a commitment to drive positive progress through the influence of our team and our sport. We are passionate about championing DE&I and, together with our partners, we are united in our ambition to effect positive change in the industries where we work and the communities around us.
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