Laura Brailey receives special recognition in the Inspiring Automotive Women Awards 2022

Laura Brailey, Head of Retail Operations at Mazda UK has been crowned ‘Inclusive Leader’ in this year’s Inspiring Automotive Women Awards. With the annual awards now in its fourth year, Laura has received special recognition for driving greater diversity within the automotive industry with Mazda’s Gender Balance Initiative.

Launched in 2018, the Inspiring Automotive Women Awards are organised by the Automotive 30% Club with the aim to recognise and celebrate women who inspire their colleagues through taking action to help other women to join, progress and stay in the automotive sector. Each inspiring award winner plays a critical role in assisting their companies to build inclusive cultures and increase female representation to build gender-balanced businesses. Praised for spearheading Mazda’s Gender Balance Initiative, Laura was selected by an independent judging panel as one of the 31 award winners and honoured with the ‘Inclusive Leader’ award.

Recognising that change needs to filter down from the very highest level, the Gender Balance Initiative was introduced earlier this year and is comprised of CEOs, Managing Directors and senior leaders from leading dealership groups within Mazda’s UK network to collectively address and tackle the gender balance across the automotive industry. With the cohort influencing 53 Mazda dealer points, or 44 per cent of the UK dealer network and continuing to grow, the collaborative group aims to share valuable learnings to build successful gender-balanced businesses, while influencing other dealership groups to rethink representation and culture within their own dealerships across all the brands they represent.

Commenting on her award recognition, Laura Brailey, Head of Retail Operations at Mazda UK, said: “I am thrilled to have been selected for this award. I am very proud of the work that myself and Mazda have delivered so far by increasing awareness and making practical changes to improve a better gender balance within our dealer network. The progress we are making is thanks to the support of the whole senior management team here at Mazda. We all believe that delivering this will help secure an inclusive culture and work environment that attracts more diverse and talented people and ensures we reflect all our customer values as well.”

Julia Muir, CEO of Gaia Innovation and founder of the Automotive 30% Club, commented: “Congratulations to Laura for being crowned our ‘Inclusive Leader’ in this year’s Inspiring Automotive Women Awards. With the launch of the Mazda Gender Balance Initiative, Laura has demonstrated her passion, commitment and determination to tackle the representation of women in front-line and senior management roles in the auto retail sector, and she is making headway to inspire real meaningful change within the industry. Not only has Laura been instrumental in the development and progression of the Mazda cohort, but our judges also recognised her empowering leadership approach and business success that has shaped her role as Head of Retail Operations today.”

Adding, “Our 2022 Automotive 30% Club Inspiring Automotive Women Award Winners are an amazing group of women who have not only made a great contribution to the success of the business in their day job, they have also been fabulous role models to colleagues, and are lifting and motivating others as they have risen in their careers. As wonderful ambassadors and advocates for the sector they have inspired the next generation of women to join the automotive industry, and have promoted their companies as inclusive employers of choice.”

Continuing, “Although the Automotive 30% Club campaign is uniquely led by mostly male business leader members, our campaign to achieve a better gender balance in our sector requires both women and men to work together to create inclusive cultures and to remove the barriers that have historically prevented women from accessing opportunities or progressing in the automotive industry. Today we celebrate the brilliant women who are helping to change the game in automotive. ”

Having joined Mazda in 1995 to originally cover maternity leave, Laura has progressed through the brand with previous key positions including North-West Business Manager, Used Car & Fleet Marketing Manager, Regional Business Manager South and National Sales Manager. The latest award win adds to recent recognition in Autocar’s Great Women in the British Car Industry initiative, which celebrates the top women leading the way in the British automotive sphere.