Skip to main content
We Are HERE 10 min read

Women’s History Month 2024: speaking to trailblazing women in tech

Women's History Month 2024

The automotive, and transportation and logistics industries have been traditionally male-dominated. But that’s changing, with around 26% of science, technology, engineer and math (STEM) careers now being occupied by women.  

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme of "Inspire Inclusion" was coined to help women feel included and empowered, as well as encourage others to foster this inclusivity.

Celebrating International Women's Day 2024

To celebrate IWD and Women’s History Month, which both take place in March, we spoke to three prominent women in the transportation, logistics and automotive industries. They told us about the impact they’re making in their roles in the drive to net zero, and why more women should consider a career in STEM.

Emma Loveday, Senior Fleet Consultant at Volkswagen Financial Services

When I first joined the automotive industry, I was often the only woman in the room.

Emma Loveday

Senior Fleet Consultant at Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS), Milton Keynes

I joined the automotive industry when I was 21. It’s still a male-dominated industry, but back then I was one of the only women in the room at events - as well as the youngest! Looking back, it was quite daunting, but things are changing now, and a lot more women are coming in. 

The automotive industry is a really exciting place for women right now. Part of the reason we’re seeing more females join is because there are huge developments and changes of pace associated with decarbonization and the road to net zero. It’s a place where people with a passion for sustainability can join, and feel they’re making a difference. Now, everything we do has to be about sustainability and that’s bringing in new talent across all demographics. 

I’ve worked at VWFS for two years now. It’s the third-largest leasing company in the UK. We work with organizations that operate fleets, everything from small and medium enterprise businesses to huge corporations, with five through to 1,000-plus vehicles. The companies range from finance to utilities, retail and media. VWFS provides companies with the funding for these vehicles, and we’re also a fleet management service. We deal with everything from breakdowns to driver management and training.

I support fleet customers navigating the operational changes around electrification and decarbonization. This isn’t something that’s optional - it needs to be done. The transition is being done at pace, and as one of the largest vehicle manufacturers globally, we have the responsibility under the Volkswagen Group umbrella to make sure we’re producing vehicles for our customers that will get us to net zero.  

Location and telematics data is key for our business. When we’re looking to support customers to transition to electric vehicles, it’s fundamental for us to have visibility of journeys and to understand their journey times and profiles. When we can show customers the data behind the decision we’re recommending for them, then we can give them options for their fleets in one, two or three years' time. That includes everything from battery technology to charging infrastructure. 

The automotive industry is crying out for women with STEM qualifications. We need to have more role models, and we need to see more women being vocal about their achievements in the STEM arena. I want to hear these stories because I know it’s going to inspire other women too. 

Nazli Zonoozi Head of Operations at Packfleet

I switched careers from fashion to logistics.

Nazli Zonoozi 

Head of Operations at Packfleet, London

I work as Head of Operations at Packfleet, an all-electric last-mile courier service. We make deliveries for hundreds of businesses in London. I joined in December 2021, when there were just five members of staff. Since Packfleet’s launch in 2021, it has grown to more than 35 HQ employees, and 100+ drivers with a fleet of 130 electric vans.

Before I worked in logistics, I was the managing director at luxury British fashion brand, Katherine Hooker. It sounds like a big leap between industries, but actually I had a lot of transferable skills. I was solving problems in my last job, just within fashion, and did everything from sales and marketing, to designing collections, or booking cleaners for the office. Now, I use a lot of these problem-solving skills within logistics. Whether it’s looking at the efficiencies of drivers on the road, or working out how we can get the most out of our vans by fitting as much into them as possible, I really enjoy it. 

We don’t look at having an electric fleet as our selling point - it should just be the norm. When Packfleet was founded, it was on the proviso that of course our vans would be EVs, as it’s the way forward. Our selling point is our tech - we want to be the best delivery service that we can be. 

In the past couple of years, so much has improved in the EV world. In the last two years, there are a lot more electric charging points at petrol stations and that just wasn’t there a few years back. A lot still needs to be done, but we’re getting there.   

Our drivers use location tech to make their deliveries, via a routing system in our hub. And on the customer side, they’ll receive a tracking link when their delivery is nearby, showing how far away the driver is. So they know if they can nip to the shop before the driver arrives. This kind of technology saves time on both sides - imagine you’re a driver and you get to the door and the customer has already opened it, that’s great. It helps us to cut down on failed deliveries.

I hope that in the future, women go into tech without feeling hindered by the fact it’s a male-dominated sphere. I feel very lucky to have joined a team of men where there’s no issue that I’m female, we’re all equal - but I know it’s not always that way. These days, I’ll sometimes call up a van dealership, where it’s 100% men working and they’ll ask to speak to my boss to sign a deal off. And I’m like, ‘No, I’m the boss!’ It’s a small thing, but these things need to get better. 

Elaina Farnsworth, co-founder of SkillFusion

I want to give the next generation a better planet to live on.

Elaina Farnsworth

Co-Founder of SkillFusion, Detroit 

SkillFusion is a software platform that improves the downtime of EV chargers. We do this by bringing skilled professionals together with the expertise needed to improve the electric vehicle supply equipment market, from certification and training to building networks of professionals trained to service EV chargers.

In order to have EVs, you have to be able to charge them. The United States government is mandating that in the next few years, there will have to be a 97% uptime for the charging stations themselves. That means, they’ll have to be available and working 97% of the time. The challenge is that in the US right now, the uptime is only 40% to 60%. We need to do better. It’s a big mission - but I’m a mom! I’ve done big things. 

Location software is vital for working out if EV charging stations are functioning well. When we’re thinking of servicing them, each charger has different influences depending on where it is and what the weather is. If it’s in Michigan, it can be freezing, and that’s completely different to a charger that’s stationed in Miami. These locations - and communicating with them - is very important for improving that uptime. 

We founded the company after working with high school students, trying to bring them into the exciting industry that is electric transportation and EVs. My co-founder, Rue Phillips, came in to talk to the kids. He’s been involved in software companies that have enabled people to work in solar energy and green transportation, and I have been working for 12 years in training and upskilling people to work in complex and evolving technologies. We had the idea for SkillFusion, and the company was founded in June 2023. Our headquarters are in Detroit - the mecca for automotive.

The electrification of vehicles isn’t just a new thing. I’ve worked in the industry for 20 years. It might feel new because it’s in the media now, and it’s snowballing, but the ideas have been around for a long time. 

On a day-to-day basis, my job is really about supporting my amazing team. It’s very challenging in such a fast-changing and innovative industry. It’s all about allowing my team to shine while making sure we stay on top of industry standards and stay relevant.

I’m so proud of being part of a team that’s making the world greener. It feels infectious to be working in a company that’s not just giving people opportunities but in the field of sustainability. The environment has to be taken care of better. I want to give the next generation a better planet to live on. From reducing asthma to benefiting the environment, electrification will improve all of our lives. 

I want to encourage young women and more seasoned women to go into tech. It’s important for us to be in the sciences, and technology is only going to continue to grow. We need women to embrace it, so that we can mentor other women and lift one another up.  

Rosie Gizauskas

Rosie Gizauskas

Have your say

Sign up for our newsletter

Why sign up:

  • Latest offers and discounts
  • Tailored content delivered weekly
  • Exclusive events
  • One click to unsubscribe