Picture: Kalisha Greenaway – Service Manager at Volvo Cars Cardiff

Productivity in the workplace is improved when gender equality is supported within that business. Inclusive teams make better business decisions 87 per cent of the time and a study cited by The i Paper from The Pipeline also ‘found that there is a sharp difference in the net profit margins of companies that have diverse gender leaderships compared to those that don’t’.

Businesses can be harmed by not having enough women making important decisions.

At Fordthorne, we are family owned and run, with inclusivity at the core of our business. The automotive industry is historically male dominated, and we want to showcase those who have broken the mould and succeeded. Kalisha Greenaway is Service Manager at our Volvo Cars Cardiff operation, and we sat down to talk to Kalisha about her experiences in the industry and what challenges and obstacles she has had to overcome in her career so far.

Q: How long have you worked at Fordthorne?

Almost 11 and a half years (within both Ford and Volvo)

Q: What daily duties does your role hold?

Running the Volvo service department, looking after a team of 12 staff members. Providing a good customer service whilst representing the brand.

Q: Why did you join Fordthorne?

I have previously worked in the motor trade but felt I needed a fresh start somewhere new. Fordthorne felt inviting and a good place to start my career path.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at Fordthorne?

The bond I have with my team, the family feel. In addition, the opportunities I have gained throughout my time here.

Q: What would you say/advice to other women looking to break into a historically male dominated industry?

Give it a try. It may be for some and not for others, but the industry needs the female touch and change these stereotypes and how people see the motor industry.

Q: For those women who may be put off by the industry, what advice would you give to those?

Go for it! The world is changing and we need to break down the barriers and see more equality within all industries. You can be a part of that and potentially have a great career along the way.

Q: Have you encountered pervasive stereotypes, and lack of mentoring because you are a female and if so how have you combatted these societal behaviours to succeed?

Yes, being one of the first females to join the Volvo team some time ago now, it was challenging and not all customers warmed to me at first as they were used to seeing a male. Especially being in the Service department with the technical side of things. I invited customers in, showed them that I was there to help, and was determined to gain their trust whilst providing a good customer service. I used my skills and knowledge to do this and over time, customers become fond of to me and often now ask for me specifically. My line manager (Nerys Jenkins) is also a female whom has been in the trade for a long time, which is a rare thing. I have learned a lot from her over the years and could see her own success, so I knew that I could have the same if I worked hard and could face any challenges that I was presented with.

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