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BMW Group UK women named in top-100 female ‘Rising Stars 2023’ of the UK automotive industry

12 BMW Group entrants secured national recognition as finalists of Autocar’s ‘Great Women: Rising Stars 2023’

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Kimberley Ragousis
BMW Group

  • 12 BMW Group entrants secured national recognition as finalists of Autocar’s ‘Great Women: Rising Stars 2023’
  • Megan Harrall, MINI UK’s Strategy, Planning and Operations Manager, wins in Operations category
  • BMW Group has finalists in 9 categories

Twelve women at BMW Group across the UK have been named among the top-100 female Rising Stars of the UK automotive industry by Autocar. Megan Harrall, MINI UK’s Strategy, Planning and Operations Manager, was the overall winner in her category of Operations.

The aim of the programme, run by Autocar in partnership with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), is to identify and promote the automotive sector’s most promising female rising stars and highlight the career opportunities for them. The 100 finalists were announced on 28 June at a day-long event at Stellantis in Coventry, with panel debates, discussions and work groups taking place for winners and invited guests.

Megan Harrall, winner of the Operations category, started with BMW Group as a marketing intern during her business management degree, resulting in a full-time role after graduating in 2019. Since then, she’s secured various roles including product manager responsible for BMW and MINI launches in Ireland before moving to the position of Retailer Performance Manager. This February, Megan took responsibility for steering the regional strategy of the MINI brand in the UK, as well as starting a part-time MBA at Imperial College London, for which she has won the Imperial Women's Scholarship.

Megan commented, “I am really delighted to receive this award, especially in such a strong category. It’s such an exciting time in the automotive industry, with the shift to electrification, digitalisation and the way that we interact with our customers. I am proud to part of this transformation.”

As well as Megan’s success, there was further recognition for BMW UK with Charlotte Dalglish, Partnerships Marketing Manager, a finalist in the Marketing (manufacturer) category. From BMW Financial Services, Jayna Patel, Customer Insights Manager was a finalist in the Marketing (supplier & retail); Sarah Lidster Head of Digital & Sales Systems, was a finalist in Mobility and Digital; and Sophie Cordice, Sales Channel Development Manager, a finalist in the Diversity, equality and inclusion category.

From BMW Group’s production sites in the UK, Felicity Harris, a Business Steering Coordinator at BMW Hams Hall, was a finalist in the Manufacturing category and Philippa Green, a Launch QSP Engineer at MINI Plant Oxford was acknowledged in theOperations category – seven years after she won the Apprentice Rising Star in 2016.

ALPHERA also had team members as finalists, with Charlotte Munday, Key Account Manager a finalist in the Operations category; and Maria Birchall, Marketing Manager a finalist in the Marketing (supplier & retail) group.

BMW Group’s apprentices also were acknowledged: Lauren Hart a Business apprentice and Lucy Lovette Maintenance technician apprentice, are both from Plant Oxford. Representing Plant Swindon, Tia Hollis a Maintenance apprentice, was nominated.

Michelle Roberts, Marketing Director for BMW UK, said: “At BMW Group in the UK we have a growing share of women across our business from apprentices to new leaders which is fantastic to see. We’re committed to delivering existing and new initiatives in our UK businesses to attract, engage and develop women at all levels and all areas of our company. It’s an exciting time in the automotive sector and I am delighted that these finalists have been recognised for their outstanding work.”

The top 100 candidates were selected from a range of different areas of the car industry: Customer aftercare; Marketing; Manufacturing; Mobility and digital; Operations; Diversity, equality and inclusion; PR and communications; Purchasing; Sales - retail; Sales - OEM; Vehicle development.


BMW Group National Sales Centre, Farnborough

Megan Harrall, BMW & MINI UK, Strategy & Operations Manager    
Megan’s degree in business management included a year spent in BMW’s marketing department, leading to a full-time job at the brand after graduating in 2019. Since then, she’s risen quickly, first securing the role as Product Manager, responsible for BMW and MINI launches in Ireland, before moving to the position of Retailer Performance Manager, overseeing 39 MINI outlets in the UK. This February, Megan has taken responsibility for steering the regional strategy of the MINI brand in the UK. One key part is to help transform the MINIs retail model from wholesaling cars to dealers to selling directly to customers, a significant change. On top of this Megan has just started a part-time MBA at Imperial College London, for which she has won the Imperial Women's Scholarship.

Charlotte Dalglish, BMW UK
Partnerships Marketing Manager
Charlotte started at BMW as Events Project Coordinator of the brand’s hospitality at the London 2012 Olympics. Following a spell at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, she has risen through the BMW marketing ranks to her current role, transforming the brand’s partnership and ambassador portfolio. Her projects include BMW and the British Film Industry (BFI)’s film-making challenge with actress Michaela Coel, celebrating the ultra-wide screen in the BMW i7. Another achievement was the BMW Play Next podcast project with Edith Bowman.

BMW Group Financial Services, Farnborough

Jayna Patel, BMW Group Financial Services, Customer Insights Manager
Jayna has in the last two years moved from an analyst role focused on used cars to a managerial position, in which she has helped change the way insights are used to steer the business. She has improved her knowledge with Chartered Institute of Marketing courses and has helped relevant divisions boost their net promoter score, which tracks customer sentiment.

Sarah Lidster, BMW Group Financial Services, Head of Digital and Sales Systems
Sarah was promoted to her senior role in January, handing her responsibility for the digital strategies of both BMW’s finance brand ALPHERA and the Alphabet leasing company, as well as transforming BMW Financial Services to deliver a benchmark online finance application journey.

Sophie Cordice, BMW Group Financial Services, Sales Channel Development Manager
Sophie creates new sales opportunities within BMW’s finance arm, however she also finds the time to co-chair the Culture, Ethnicity & Faith network at the BMW Group UK campus in Farnborough, Hampshire. Her goal is to increase representation from different ethnic groups at BMW and has been supporting local schools with careers programs to encourage diversity in the next generation of workers at the company. Sophie has also recently graduated from the BMW Building Future Leaders program.

ALPHERA, Farnborough

Maria Birchall, ALPHERA, Marketing Manager
Maria’s current role within BMW’s finance arm is to improve the digital journey of ALPHERA’s 250,000 customers. As part of that, she launched a new website and helped to create a new corporate identity that was rolled out globally. Maria also manages ALPHERA-powered Rolls-Royce Financial Services and Aston Martin Financial Services to exacting luxury standards.

Charlotte Munday, ALPHERA, Key Account Manager
Charlotte oversees the running of both Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Financial Services and Aston Martin Financial Services in the south of the UK. She also holds organised training events for both networks to bring them up to speed on the finance needs of these premium account customers.

BMW Hams Hall UK, Coleshill, Birmingham

Felicity Harris, BMW Hams Hall UK, Business Steering Coordinator - Machining Operations
Felicity started her automotive career as an apprentice with Jaguar Land Rover before joining the BMW Hams Hall engine plant on the manufacturing team. After moving to become a quality specialist within the Machining department, she was promoted to her current role last year. Here, she works closely with all manufacturing teams at various management levels globally, but impressed most recently with her work on an IT project to find a common method of reporting for raw casting issues, with her solution now being the reference model for regular reporting.

MINI Plant Oxford

Philippa Green, MINI Plant Oxford, Launch QSP Engineer, E/E Electrical Analysis.
Philippa joined BMW Group’s Oxford factory in 2012 as an Engineering Apprentice Technician and is currently working on ensuring quality is right on electric/electronic (E/E) systems on MINIs. She recently won plaudits for leading a project to duplicate wiring harness production after supply was severely curtailed due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Lauren Hart, MINI Plant Oxford, Business Degree Apprentice
Lauren started in 2020 and is now working in plant strategy in Plant Oxford, her 10th placement at the company.

Lucy Lovette, MINI Plant Oxford, Maintenance Technician apprentice
Lucy joined as a Level 3 maintenance technician aiming for a L3 BTEC qualification but is about to finish Level 5 with a foundation degree.

BMW Group Plant Swindon

Tia Hollis, BMW Group Plant Swindon, Maintenance Apprentice
Tia was among the first apprentices to be taken on at the new press facility in Swindon, working on machine maintenance.


The BMW Group
With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises over 30 production sites worldwide; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2022, the BMW Group sold nearly 2.4 million passenger vehicles and more than 202,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2022 was € 23.5 billion on revenues amounting to € 142.6 billion. As of 31 December 2022, the BMW Group had a workforce of 149,475 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company set the course for the future at an early stage and consistently makes sustainability and efficient resource management central to its strategic direction, from the supply chain through production to the end of the use phase of all products.

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