Congratulations! May's Member of the Month is Nick Charlton, IT Governance Manager at Volkswagen Group UK Ltd.

on May 22, 2024

Why did you join the Women Automotive Network?
I joined the Women Automotive Network because I want to support and provide another perspective, share my experiences, and help where I can to push the message that we are #BetterTogether.

I’m aware of the potential privilege afforded to me either consciously or subconsciously, and that is why being a male ally is something that is personally very important to me.

Why is DE&I vital to you? 
I believe that inclusive teams help promote shared ideas and a broader set of perspectives, and they better reflect our customer base. What’s more, giving opportunities to everyone should be the norm and not the exception.

I am a steering committee member on our Driven Women Employee Network Group (ENG) at Volkswagen Group UK, and this year I have already witnessed the passion, time and energy that goes into making positive changes. We have a busy year ahead to deliver on everything that we have set as key to our 2024 agenda, and I’m proud to be a part of this journey.

As a business, Volkswagen Group UK has also just been awarded the Inclusive Employers Gold Standard accreditation, following a wide-ranging audit of our diversity and inclusion credentials.

What are your predictions for the automotive industry in 2024? 
This year is one of enormous change, with electrification and digitalisation driving an all-new agenda for our industry. While change can be challenging, it’s also a huge opportunity, and the plethora of new roles created by new ways of doing business means we need to bring in a more diverse workforce. If we can attract new and diverse talent, we have the chance to really change the face of our teams.

What is your proudest career moment?
Coaching and development is something that I have a passion for, and so I have always tried to build diverse teams. Working predominantly in Governance, Risk, and Compliance I have tried to break the mould here, so being nominated for the Male Advocate award at the 2023 Women Automotive Network Conference was unexpected and truly humbling.

It was an inspiring conference where I was able to network with like-minded individuals, and even 7 months later I am still regularly in contact with a number of inspirational women (Julia and Natalia I’m talking about you), sharing our experiences and helping overcome challenges by asking for different perspectives.

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome?
Imposter syndrome is something that has been a part of me for a long time, and to a lesser degree, I think I still struggle with this from time to time. I’m hoping that being authentic and open about this will hopefully help other people who feel the same. The more we normalise that this is something that does happen (and studies show it can affect up to 70% of people in their life), the more we can talk about it in a safe space. The way that I have worked to overcome this is to stop trying to be a perfectionist with everything I do, to share when I’m feeling this way, and to accept it's okay when I make a mistake.

What advice would you offer to those considering starting a career within the automotive industry? 
Just start. Every journey begins somewhere, so be authentic, show your integrity at all times even when no one is watching, listen to a range of opinions, keep learning, and be curious.

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