At Mercedes-Benz South West, we’re breaking barriers when it comes to stereotypes and gender bias. The motor industry is assumed to be a male dominated world but that hasn’t stopped the ladies at our dealerships progress in their careers. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re turning to our Fleet business, who have achieved an equal gender balance within their management team.
We caught up with our three female managers at our Fleet operations to hear more about their experiences and why Mercedes-Benz South West is a great place to work, no matter what your gender is.
Loren Gilbert – Fleet Administration Manager
Loren has worked in the motor industry for 13 years, starting her career as a Receptionist before becoming involved in the corporate sales side of the business. She has experience in business development and sales but administration was the area of the business she kept coming back to and was where she could utilise her skills best.
Loren joined the Mercedes-Benz South West team in March 2016 as a Direct Sales Administrator. She took part in our Future Leaders Programme – a scheme designed to invest in the next generation of thought-leaders for Mercedes-Benz South West and took on the role of Fleet Sales Administration Manager in January 2019. “This is my first management role and it’s been a great learning curve to date. I am lucky to have a great team around me; no two days are the same. Despite a challenging year due to COVID 19, I have seen so much positivity from the whole team and I am excited to see what 2021 has to give.”
Nadine Roberts – Operations Manager
Nadine joined the motor industry in 2017 after previously working in the freight sector. As the Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer at a well-known dealership in South Africa, she acquired a great deal of insight into the motor trade.
Fast forward a couple of years, Nadine and her family relocated to the UK and she joined Mercedes-Benz South West as a Customer Service Manager in July 2019. In this role, she was able to further develop her skills and learn the trade from the customer side of the business before taking on the role of Operations Manager for our Fleet business in March 2020. “Shortly after my appointment as Operations Manager, COVID 19 hit the UK and well let’s just say I have been running ever since!” Since taking on this new role, Nadine has been responsible for the ensuring the site is Covid secure and our fleet delivery is upholding our sanitisation standards as well as covering routine maintenance checks and the scope of our full electric vehicles. “I look forward to growing and developing even further within my role, and working with a great team who are equally as driven and determined and have the same ambition in seeing the company grow from strength to strength.”
Donna Discombe – Sales & Marketing Manager
Donna joined Mercedes-Benz South West in September 2003. She has held a number of roles over the years, including Accounts Assistant, Sales Administrator and Account Manager where she worked closely with our broker partners, searching for opportunities and getting to know what rentals drive a sale. As an Account Manager, Donna saw her sales rates grow year upon year. She invested time in her customers and became their go to when they needed assistance rather than going to our competitors.
In September 2019, Donna moved into her first official management role as a Contractual Sales Manager. Taking on a management role as the Fleet business structure changed and dealing with a worldwide pandemic was a huge test for Donna. “It certainly was a challenge but you have to keep going, keep positive, work as hard as you can and that’s what I did, seeking out potential deals, liaising with our funder partners and helping our Account Managers and Direct Sales Department drive sales forward wherever possible.” In July 2020, Donna was promoted to Sales and Marketing Manager with a team of Account Managers, a Direct Sales Department to look after, and assisting our Head of Fleet. “I am looking forward to the future with Mercedes-Benz South West, a company that I feel very passionate about, who has always supported me and helped me build my career for which I am very grateful.”