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THE crucial role of women in industry and the significant advantages of inclusion and diversity to business success has been highlighted in a ground-breaking meeting in Sydney.

Angle Auto Finance’s inaugural ‘Women in Auto’ breakfast which was held to showcase how a healthier workplace promotes innovation and success, attracted a distinguished audience from the auto and auto finance industry, including senior leaders keen on driving change.

The importance of women in industry – including but not exclusive to the automotive industry – was clarified by the chief information officer of Energy Australia, Julie Bale.

Highlights video of the Angle Auto Finance ‘Women In Auto’ 2024 breakfast.

Click above to view the 2 minute video

In her keynote address, she related how her personal and professional growth showed the importance of inclusivity in fostering a vibrant, innovative workplace. 

“Women have a unique perspective and experiences that contribute to innovative problem-solving and decision making,” she said.

“By being visible, women demonstrate the undeniable value of gender diversity in leadership roles.”

Julie Bale, chief information officer of Energy Australia

Ms Bale said that companies that increase female participation in leadership roles “witness about 22 per cent rise in profitability.”

“Diversity speaks to who is on the team, but inclusion focuses on who is influencing the game,” she said.

Her message underscored the need for a workspace where everyone is not just included but feels that they belong and are an integral part of the team.

Angle Auto Finance chief operating officer Greg White, who opened the event, said the theme of inspiring inclusion gave guests an opportunity “to learn from trailblazers, share experiences and network with like-minded individuals who work in and love our industry.”

Greg White, COO, Angle Auto Finance

“We hope this event and others like it will continue to inspire and empower the new generation of leaders in the auto industry,” he said, emphasising Angle Auto Finance’s commitment to fostering a culture of leadership and innovation.

The significance of creating a sense of belonging was further highlighted by Angle Auto Finance CEO Aaron Baxter. 

“One observation in particular that resonated with me was the importance of having not only a diverse and inclusive workforce but additionally one where people feel they belong,” he said.

“If you feel you belong – you feel heard.”

Aaron Baxter, CEO, Angle Auto Finance

Mr Baxter’s insight into the value of belonging and the impact of feeling heard emphasised the role everyone plays in fostering an environment conducive to open and free sharing of ideas.

The event included a panel discussion featuring industry expert Carol Lydford; Angle Auto Finance’s head of strategic growth, Susan Jobson; and insights director at RFI Global, Anna Perera-Shaw.

Panellists shared their experiences, insights, and visions for a more inclusive and diverse auto industry, reinforcing the themes of the day.

This discussion highlighted the strides being made in the industry towards greater inclusion but also addressed the challenges that lie ahead. 

(L-R) Panel discussion featured Angle Auto Finance’s chief people officer Allyson Carlile, Angle Auto Finance’s head of strategic growth Susan Jobson, industry expert Carol Lydford and insights director at RFI Global Anna Perera-Shaw

Ms Lydford, when asked on her take on whether progress on inclusion was being made, said progress was being made “but that there’s a long way still to go.”

“Over the past 30 years I’ve definitely seen progress. Things have changed for the better although there is still so much more that can be done,” she said.

“We need to keep pushing forward. I love that there is a strong focus on equality as well as inclusion. Where you have equality and inclusion, diversity will naturally follow.”

Ms Lydford said: “It’s not a zero sum game, it’s not about the women win and the men lose, it is about knocking down the walls and the stereotypes for both women and men. It’s equality for all that’s important.”

Conversations after the breakfast event promised to continue dialogue and action across the industry with the aim to empower a new generation of leaders and innovators in the auto industry.

Read more from the Angle Auto Finance ‘Women in Auto’ 2024 breakfast: 

Click here to read more: Motor racing pathway for women in auto

By Neil Dowling

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