An interview with Gemma Benbow, Director, People & Organisation - Kia UK

on July 04, 2023
We recently had the privilege of interviewing Gemma Benbow, the exceptional Director of People & Organisation at Kia UK. In this captivating interview, Gemma shares her remarkable journey and expertise in building a thriving work culture within the automotive industry.

| Why did you join the Women Automotive Network?

I started my career at Continental Tyres purely by chance doing temporary work after university. It was there I decided that HR was the career path I wanted to follow and so spent my first few years there studying for my CIPD qualification. I’ve since worked in other industries but returned to the automotive industry last year in the role of  People & Organisation Director for Kia UK. Female representation in particular is a challenge in the automotive industry and so I joined the Women Automotive Network to meet others and hope to learn from their experience. 

| Why is DE&I vital to you? 

People are central to any business and DE&I underpins company culture. Having diversity encourages a range of ideas, opinions and talents and drives innovation as well as business results. It also helps to retain and attract the best talent and ultimately, everyone performs at their best when they feel included and that they belong. On a personal level, I feel I have experienced some challenges being a female in the workplace and I’d love to be able to help make changes that can remove barriers for others now and hopefully for the future, particularly within the automotive industry.

| Who is your inspirational woman? 

My Mum. It’s probably something that a lot of people say but for me she role models resilience and hard work.

| What is your proudest career moment?

Receiving thanks and appreciation from employees following a difficult company restructure in a previous organisation. It was one of the most challenging work projects I’ve led but was so pleased that irrespective of the various outcomes for individuals, they felt that they were treated with care and respect.

| What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome? 

Around 10 years ago, going through divorce and being primary care giver for my daughter while working full time in a new job when she’d just turned 1. It was personally the most challenging thing I’ve had to overcome but it made me all the more determined to work hard and be a successful role model for my daughter.

| What was your first car? 

“F reg” black Ford Fiesta                                                                                        

| What advice would you offer to those considering starting a career within the automotive industry?

Go for it! There are so many opportunities in different parts of the automotive industry and with technology and products developing so quickly, it’s an exciting place to be!

| In one word, what is the opportunity for women in automotive currently? 



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