Digital, Diversity & Inclusion, Home Page, Manchester, Software, Technology, Who We Are

Driving value through enhanced products and customer experiences, by leveraging our connected car data, as well as improving gender diversity in the business

Tamanna Haque, the regional winner of this year’s #WeAreTechWomen #TechWoman100 awards, and a remarkable woman within the technology and STEM sector. Tamanna is a Lead Data Scientist at Jaguar Land Rover, based in central Manchester, one of Jaguar Land Rover’s technology hubs. She helps to lead a team of data scientists to improve products and customer experiences by leveraging the connected car and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Find out more about Jaguar Land Rover’s Technology Hubs and exciting career opportunities, click here for more information.

Q: What projects are you working on?

I was recently promoted to technical specialist, as a Lead Data Scientist, working within Product Engineering. My role involves using the connected car and AI to make our products and customer experiences better, whilst leading within our wide data science team too. I’m particularly interested and active in enabling a more electric and modern luxury future from the use of vehicle data.

As well as delivering autonomously, I act as a technical lead on numerous other projects, by leading, reviewing and sharing best practice.

Q: Are you involved in any other projects / networks? If so, please describe what they are and what your contributions are. 

I’ve led outside the team by mentoring female apprentices with a tactical approach, working with them on original project ideas with many value streams.

More recently I founded a ‘Women in AI’ group at Jaguar Land Rover which provides female members (business-wide and of various levels of seniority) with technical and soft-skill development opportunities in a challenging, male-dominated field. Over the past 12 months, founding and making this network an ongoing success has been an achievement, bringing a sense of empowerment and belonging to its women and hopefully helping to attract and retain female talent within this advanced field at Jaguar Land Rover.

Additionally, I was chosen for a new (voluntary) role within Jaguar Land Rover’s Women in Engineering committee as its Analytics Lead, helping committee chairs and executive sponsors to become better informed in their decision-making towards improved gender diversity.

I’ve done a lot of work externally which has promoted my skillset and those of my audiences. I’ve delivered numerous talks to industry professionals, students, and women’s leadership and diversity groups, with the goal of promoting inclusion within AI and automotive. The other angle to my talks involves following your passions and dreams- for me, this was the Jaguar brand and has been since childhood. Externally I have also been a guest lecturer at a leading UK university this year, and I’m supporting multiple students (who are also on placement with Jaguar Land Rover) with their final-year, industry-based projects.

Q: What do you like about working here?

My journey with Jaguar Land Rover started long before I was employed by the company! Since I was nine years old, I’ve been passionate about the Jaguar brand, writing about them, attending previews, going to experience days! I was a fan-turned-customer at 22, hands on with their product, and up to date with the company news.

So to be working for Jaguar Land Rover now is what dreams are made of; I feel at one with our customers and their experiences, and I’m personally committed towards our products and customers. It’s pushed me to find new limits in myself to serve better, and I’m grateful that Jaguar Land Rover supports me with my growth.  I’m particularly excited to be playing my part towards the reimagination of Jaguar as an all-electric luxury brand.

Q: What are your career aspirations? How do you get support from your management / department to help achieve your learning & development goal? 

I started as a senior data scientist here, it was a new role and a new team with lots of opportunities, but I also created them. Expectations were only a small part of what I was doing, but this has been recognised with the promotion recently. I’m grateful to be working at a place where hard work and commitment is recognised and rewarded. 

Q: Describe your team / department, and what makes it stand out from our competition? 

I work in the data science team within Product Engineering. The data science team in Manchester originated with myself and one of my teammates – it’s since grown a lot (cross-sites and countries) and developed into a high-performing, advanced data science team.

What makes us stand out is the nature of our work – we mostly use vehicle data, which is different to a lot of other commercial businesses or teams who’ll focus more on transactional or web data. The data we use lends itself to some pretty interesting projects, and a general futuristic feel here.

Q: Tell us some interesting facts about yourself

  • To put it simply- I love Jaguar!
  • I’m a born and bred Mancunian, so I was excited to learn when Jaguar Land Rover opened an office here. It opened the possibility of working for a globally recognised company, of great value to me, without having to relocate and leave my family and friends. I enjoy meeting colleagues at the Manchester office and socialising with my team in Manchester- it’s a vibrant area for work and after hours.

Q: What hints and tips can you share with the potential candidates who are going through the application / interview process? 

Don’t be afraid to be authentic! I’ve had to grow in confidence to be my authentic self, and it makes connecting with people around you easier.

Diversity & Inclusion, Engineering, Graduate

“Our team nurtures a culture of sharing ideas and learning from one another.”

I am a graduate engineer within the Seating team in Product Engineering and our team’s goal is to design & engineer the most comfortable & technologically advanced seats in the industry whilst also ensuring the safety of our customer. Our team nurtures a culture of sharing ideas and learning from one another as we handle a range of engineering projects that require a diverse skillset. I am inspired by the engineering brilliance behind our products and am delighted to be a part of that team now! Meeting Barbara, one of
the directors at JLR, and hearing about her experiences was inspiring and has been the highlight of my month. I am motivated by the confidence that my team has shown by trusting me with a project that gives me the opportunity to utilise my technical skills and develop a unique solution.

It’s an exciting time to be here as we are developing the most technically advanced cars yet. There is lots to learn and I look forward to seeing myself grow in the business and deliver on JLR’s vision of sustainable & modern luxury.

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Diversity & Inclusion, People

“The future is full of technology that is created in a more human-centric, collaborative, and inclusive way.”

As a User Experience Researcher, I sit at the intersection of Engineering, Product Development, and Human Behaviour. In my role, I am interested in understanding and creating the best product experiences for the people that own and ride in our vehicles. That means more intuitive, meaningful, and safer technologies and experiences – for everyone!

I study people and how they interact with our products:  I learn about their desires, needs, pain points behaviours, and concerns. At Jaguar Land Rover, we have a wide range of customers who use our technology, and I am inspired by the opportunity to play a role in making sure that the products we launch that are accessible, user-friendly, and inclusive to everyone’s needs. The future I am looking forward to is full of technology that we’ve made in a more human-centric, collaborative, and inclusive way.

Diversity & Inclusion, PRIDE

Passion for Diversity

Amo Lalli is an impressive person. Impressive for what he has achieved in his career and for the compelling case he makes for a workplace where the diversity of colleagues is not just accepted, but understood.

He knows what he’s talking about. A British Asian born and raised in Leicester, he lived and worked in South America for eight years – where he taught himself Portuguese and in 2016 married partner Wallace, who is originally from Brazil.

“Our wedding was a great, fun, diverse experience,” Amo explains. “We followed my Anglo-Indian culture, which is to have lots of celebrations throughout the week leading up to the big day, and we were joined by guests who flew in from overseas.”

“It was a complete mix of Brazilian, English and Sikh traditions that ended with a very emotional marriage ceremony at a beautiful country estate.”

Like many of his gay British Asian friends, Amo faced rejection when he came out to his grandparents. They were concerned about how it would make them look in Sikh society and suggested a course of ‘treatments’ to ‘correct’ his issues.

However, Amo has not experienced the same ill-feeling from others, with his more immediate family and friends giving him plenty of support and love.

In the workplace, Amo has never experienced any direct prejudice over his ethnicity or sexuality during his 19-year career, however getting to the point where he felt able to say he had a husband was far from straightforward.

“It’s not uncommon for people in the LGBT+ community to lead what might be termed as a double life,” he says. “They come into work and simply don’t discuss their personal lives. When people asked me about my relationships or even what I’d done at the weekend, I’d automatically be defensive and try to avoid the questions, partly to avoid embarrassment and awkwardness.”

Even as an experienced director working right at the heart of Jaguar Land Rover in the Commercial and Supply Chain planning space, and someone who regularly presents to senior executives, Amo admits the decision to be ‘out, married and open’ was hard.

“I wanted to break the cycle of not discussing my personal life and using ways to avoid the subject,” he explains. “Trust and understanding are crucial when building strong personal relationships, and essential to getting things done effectively – so it’s important for me to be open and authentic in order to really get to know my colleagues.

“I remember the relief after taking Wallace to a JLR Christmas ball a few years ago, knowing I no longer needed to be ambiguous about my sexuality.”

To make a real difference for others in the workplace, Amo believes there’s a need for role models from the LGBT+ community that others can look up to and ask for guidance.

“I don’t promote or project myself, but I do hope it is helpful that a leader, who has a strong track record of delivery at Jaguar Land Rover, is being open and also taking a visible role in collaborating with many parts of the business to shape a more inclusive work environment.

“Some of the personal stories other people have shared about their experiences at work as a result of being LGBT+ are truly upsetting. I’m passionate about driving an inclusive workplace culture where people can be their authentic selves.”

Amo explains that Jaguar Land Rover and those who volunteer to support the PRIDE Network have taken many positive steps in terms of creating better conditions for LGBT+ colleagues to feel valued and more comfortable, but it is important not to rest on any laurels.

“If you are a transgender colleague for example, it should not be a long and frustrating process to get your security pass updated as it was just a couple of years ago. There should be a clear process, enabling you do to it quickly and without having to explain yourself repeatedly. There are still areas where we can improve and help LGBT+ colleagues, as all everyone wants to do is go to work and do their job, surrounded by great people.”

While it might appear hard to make a ‘commercial case’ to push for better policies and practices given that the benefits can often take years to flow through, Amo believes it ultimately makes sound business sense, as Jaguar Land Rover should aim high and achieve ‘employer of choice’ status with the LGBT+ community.

He says: “We should recognise that a significant number of existing and prospective employees and customers care passionately about these issues. As a company, I believe we’ve got a very good reputation in the LGBT+ community, but it is important this is always supported by an authentic, progressive and inclusive culture in our all of our facilities.”

Diversity & Inclusion, PRIDE

A huge amount of PRIDE: A powerful case for listening and understanding

This week we meet Joanne Smallwood who opens up about her struggles with mental health, to show visibility for World Mental Health Day and Spirit Day.

Joanne’s enthusiasm for her career and Jaguar Land Rover has encouraged her to speak candidly about the daunting personal challenges she has faced.

She makes a powerful case for more listening and greater understanding across our teams and workplaces.

Joanne, Business Operations Lead, said: “My story was not something I aimed to share, but it’s important we all take the next step when it comes to understanding both mental illness as well thinking about our many LGBT+ colleagues.” 

“The business is definitely on the right track, but we can do more to make people feel happy and content here at Jaguar Land Rover and therefore even more productive.”

Feelings of guilt caused the teenage Joanne enormous anxiety and panic, which disrupted her education and required significant medical help.

It took Joanne time to find a route back and realise that honestly assessing her mental health would be an ongoing task, and that pursuing a relationship would help.

“My mum was incredibly supportive in terms of understanding and helping me put things into context. I owe a great deal to her and she inspired me to be strong.

“People who know me are less surprised that I have a female partner and more that I’ve experienced quite serious mental health problems and still need to be mindful of it.

“I am seemingly this confident, bubbly person, but I need to consider my mental well-being and there have been times when it has been uncomfortable to discuss my sexuality at work.”

Joanne joined Jaguar Land Rover’s PRIDE Network a year ago and has found the experience hugely important on several fronts.

She realised she was far from alone at Jaguar Land Rover when she joined and has enjoyed being able to help and to support other LGBT+ colleagues.

“We have new starters who want to succeed but they come here not knowing what they can say, or anxious as to whether they’ll fit into in a manufacturing world.

“In some areas nobody is openly LGBT+, and it can feel lonely or awkward to get involved in chats or important social events.”

Joanne says these issues matter enormously if the business wants to recruit and retain the best people.

“When you’re part of a global business with strict deadlines and big budgets, it’s essential you feel part of a team and sometimes discussing things other than work.”

Now on the right track – with a busy, fulfilling career and enjoying life with her partner Amy – Joanne hopes talking about her sexuality and mental health will encourage people to listen and understand.

“The PRIDE Network is not only here to help people who are from the LGBT+ community, but we are available to support and educate everyone. They’ve certainly helped me enormously.

“A great first step is just being prepared to invest some time in listening and understanding. Ultimately, we’re all aiming for the same thing and that’s happy, successful teams who feel completely at ease and able to fully contribute to our brands.”