Real Voices: Lesley Howells

Go for it!

I joined the automotive sector almost by accident, I started my career in the fitness industry working at a gym, which unfortunately ended up closing. I started working as a delivery driver as a stopgap, before moving into a sales rep role. From there, over the past 18 years, I have moved up into several roles – from Branch Manager to Cluster Manager, to now being the Regional Manager for the area I love so much, South Wales.

The best part of my job is helping people progress. Having progressed myself from a Van Driver to Regional Manager, I love supporting people and developing their careers through the company.

The biggest transferable skill I was able to bring from my previous job in the fitness industry was people skills. For example, part of my role at the gym included doing GP referrals for individuals, which required me to build trusting relationships with clients. This has really helped me in in automotive as there is lots of customer interaction in my role. I am a real “people-person”, so I absolutely love this!

There is a big misconception that the automotive industry is male-dominated and that women can’t work in this industry. This is totally wrong and most of the strongest managers I know in the industry are women.

There are so many diverse roles, but not enough female representation – women can be anything they want, from MOT testers, to mechanics, to van drivers to regional managers!

If you’re considering changing sectors and joining automotive as a career, go for it! The industry is so family-orientated and friendly, your customers end up becoming friends, which is why I love it.

My advice for women is to be more open to the industry – the industry is open to you.  I have met and worked with so many independent successful females and I believe this is a trade in which we can be successful with the right support.

Lesley’s words of wisdom

“Be more open to the automotive industry – the automotive industry is open to you.”