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Happy International Women's Day

We celebrate International Women’s Day by chatting to four of our females in senior roles at Perrys. We asked them about advice, challenges and female representation within Perrys.

What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?

Denise Millard :

Denise Millard

The best piece of advice I have been given is to treat others as you wish to be treated. This is something I feel strongly about both in my personal and professional life. At the end of the day, how you speak to people and how you make people feel is what you will be remembered for.

Nicky Holdcroft :

Nicky Holdcroft

That is not an easy question to answer as I have worked with many talented people and had a lot of advice over the years.  However, I think that the one piece of advice that has got me through some of the more challenging times, is that tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to make a difference.  You only fail when you stop trying. The other piece of advice is that you can’t change how other people behave, but you can control how you react to them.  Stop and think before you do. 

Helen Thomas :

Helen Thomas

Who Moved My Cheese tells a parable, which you can directly apply to your own life, to stop fearing what lies ahead and instead thrive in an environment of change and uncertainty. I was told to embrace change and the opportunities that you are given – they might appear a bit scary and take you out of your comfort zone however, I’ve never looked back!

Linzi Anstiss :

Linzi Anstiss

When changing career paths from Theatre Management into Accountancy, my brother-in-law (a CFO) told me to never change my personality.  Be myself.  It seems to have worked so far!

What would you say to your younger self?

Denise Millard : Dream big because anything is possible.

Nicky Holdcroft : I would tell my younger self that making mistakes is a natural part of life and a valuable opportunity for learning and growth.  I would reassure myself that I am resilient, with a growth mindset.  More than anything I would tell my younger self, be yourself.   

Helen Thomas : Believe in yourself – you are where you are because you are good at your job … do a good job and sell yourself, don’t forget your own personal PR.

Linzi Anstiss : You can balance having a family alongside a career – it’s not easy and there are compromises, but you can do it!

What is the biggest challenge you have encountered?

Denise Millard : The biggest challenge I have encountered was in 2002.  My late husband had successfully led the Perrys MBO the previous year. By December 2002, I had lost both my mother and Paul within five months of each other, and I found myself a widowed, single mother to an eleven-year-old. It seems surreal thinking about it now, nearly 22 years later; at the time I did what I had to do to look after myself and my daughter. On reflection, though, navigating grief and motherhood alongside my professional responsibilities to the business was definitely one of the biggest challenges I have faced.

Nicky Holdcroft :I think the biggest challenge that most women face is succeeding in male dominated businesses.  There is a tendency to want to emulate them to be successful and have a voice.  It can take time to learn who you are and develop your sense of self.  Thankfully, the world is changing. 

Helen Thomas : I’ve made mistakes and we all will. The important thing is what you do and how you react.  I worry and women are twice as likely to worry than men.  If you own up and ask for help you’ll be amazed at how many people will rally around you to help fix it.

Linzi Anstiss :Changing industries, I’ve done it 3 times, but you quickly learn that you gain skills each time which transfer to the new role.

How do you feel Perrys is enhancing women’s representation?

Denise Millard :I feel Perrys is doing a lot to enhance women’s representation, placing gender diversity as one of our important areas of focus within the business. Implementing the menopause policy, embracing the policy of 30 by 30, introducing our wellbeing programme – all of these highlight our aim to enhance women’s representation. Of course, there is always more we can do – I am confident that our continued efforts will see further advances.

Nicky Holdcroft : We are on a journey to increase our gender diversity.  As a traditionally male dominated business that is going to take time.  We are lucky that we are one of the few automotive retailers that has a CEO that is a woman.  That means that we have a strong female voice in the organisation, and we are consistently moving forward to make Perrys more appealing to women to work in and shop in. 

Helen Thomas : Perrys has a good representation of women in leadership roles. This ensures that there is a good balance of views and opinions at that level.  Attracting and retaining women into Perrys and the sector is widely supported through many initiatives such as networks, working policies and practices that enable more women to not only hear but also see role models.

Linzi Anstiss : Having women in senior roles is helping, especially having a female CEO in the Motor trade which is very rare. Sadly, I think the industry is still unrepresented in the sales and aftersales departments as culturally, motor sales is still seen as a men’s world, but with companies like Perrys championing women in the workplace, I hope that can change.

How do you feel women are impacting Perrys and our sector?

Denise Millard : Women impact all areas of Perrys and our sector. Bringing new perspectives to a traditionally male-dominated industry can surely only ever be considered a positive. I would love to see the motor industry doing even more to encourage women into automotive.

Nicky Holdcroft : Women make up 51% of the population.  Therefore, our customers are predominantly women.  It is a business imperative that women impact the sector.  Women are bringing a new perspective to the sector, which can only be a good thing, particularly as the sector is going through a period of unprecedented change.  We must change to survive, and women can bring that fresh view.  

Helen Thomas : We are benefiting from different perspectives and points of view, which are more representative of our customers and people who buy cars. 49% of UK driving licence holders are women and have become more influential in car-buying.  Therefore, more women in the sector will help shape and improve the car-buying experience for all.

Linzi Anstiss : It’s a known fact that women tend to hold the purse strings and so have probably been making the decision on purchasing family cars for decades, it would make sense therefore for women to sell them! As Perrys continues to support women who do want to come into the industry I hope that it might generate more interest from female applicants.

Written by Perrys | 10 min read
08 Mar 2024