Ever wondered what a career journey looks like when it starts at the age of 19 as a Business Apprentice and leads to becoming a manager? Look no further! Michelle Harman’s path is a rollercoaster of growth, from launching products to leading teams. Dive into her story, aspirations, and tips for success in our latest blog:
Q: What position did you start in and what is your position now? Please describe your current responsibilities.
I started at 19 as a Business apprentice which enabled me to experience many areas of the business. I am now in the Branded Goods area which we call Collections as Planning and Market Performance Manager. I am responsible for the launch management process, project managing the stakeholders to deliver on time to spec. This includes products such as apparel, models, caps, umbrellas etc that retailers may sell or gift to customers along various touchpoints of the Customer Journey. In addition to this I also manage the Markets Performance, working with market champions to understand their needs and ensure we get the global exposure required for our collections.
Q: Are you involved in any other projects / networks? If so, please describe what they are and what your contributions are.
Founder and Co-chair of the Working Parents Network – A HUGE passion of mine. Working Parents are often an under represented group in the workplace and there is plenty of unconscious and conscious bias towards working parents – the network helps change culture, empower , engage and educate others.
Workforce Experience Projects – At JLR we have plenty f opportunity to make a difference outside our day job and the Workforce experience projects are great to be involved in for this. The last two projects have centred around recognition and wellbeing so it’s very rewarding.
I am on the D&I Awards Squad – supporting the growth and engagement in D&I
Q: What do you like about working here?
There is a lot of flexibility to change career direction. The hybrid working is literally life changing for me as a full-time working mother too. The JLR Creator’s Code sits very well with my values, and it is great to see over the years how the culture is really changing for the better.
Q: What are your career aspirations? Do you feel that you get the necessary support from your management / department to help achieve your learning & development goal?
To continually add value and be the best version of myself – this is super important to me. This may be progressing to a senior managers role longer term but essentially, its achieving value add in the business whatever my grade and enjoying what I do, whilst balancing motherhood. Feeing like I am not good at either work or parenthood is soul destroying so getting the balance right is imperative to me. Where you work and who you work for is crucial in supporting this and not being judged on being a mother limiting career progression is important. I am lucky that I have a really supportive manager and he has created a really great, inclusive culture within the Collection and Licensing Team.
Q: Describe your team / department, and what makes it stand out from our competition?
The collections team is relatively small, but they really work together as a team. The pull to the job for me has always been the team culture which aligns as closely to the Creators’ Code more than any other area I have worked in. The standout for me is everyone truly is their authentic self. For example, It’s ok for a dad to leave work to a poorly child, for someone who is part-time to want to progress their career. Inclusive, non-judgemental and full of team work and enthusiasm.
Q: Tell us 3 interesting facts about yourself.
1. I have a twin sister
2. I am a qualified Neuro Linguistic Practitioner
3. I have worked at JLR since leaving school
Q: What hints and tips can you share with the potential candidates who are going through the application / interview process?
Always be true to yourself. Recognise your self-limiting beliefs and be kind to yourself. Confidence is key but you have to believe you can do it.
Search for exciting careers opportunities here at JLR: Click Here
Meet Zubair, an ADAS(Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) engineer who has been a part of the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) family for several years. Through his journey, Zubair has not only grown as a professional but has also witnessed the flourishing of a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion. As a result, he has found a workplace where he feels safe, confident and excited to be himself.
If you want to delve deeper into Zubair’s experiences at JLR and discover how the company has fostered an environment where diverse minds can thrive, I encourage you to read his blog and see it for yourself.
What position did you start in and what is your position now? Please describe your current responsibilities.
I joined JLR In 2013 as an experienced hire after working in the Defence industry for over four years. Although transitioning into the Automotive industry posed a challenge at first, I quickly adapted to the faster pace of the work. My first role was in the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (AME) department based in Solihull, Birmingham where the Range Rovers and Defender (at that time) were being built. Witnessing these incredible vehicles roll off the production line and past my office window every day was a highlight of my time there.
In 2015, I received a promotion and relocated to a position within International Manufacturing Operations (IMO) to launch the brand-new Jaguar E-Pace and all-electric Jaguar I-Pace in Graz, Austria. What I enjoyed most about this role was the opportunity to work abroad and immerse myself in a different culture. The food in Austria was also particularly enjoyable!
After successfully launching those vehicles in 2018, I made the decision to return to Engineering and was fortunate enough to secure a position in the Assisted & Automated Driving (AAD) department. Initially, my role was as a System Lead where I oversaw the delivery of a range of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) onto a new electrical architecture. A couple of years later, I was given the added responsibility of team leader.
Last year, as part of JLR’s transformation into an Agile organisation, I became a Product Owner within a new project and worked closely with NVIDIA as a technology partner. My focus is on delivering ADAS products using a Modelled Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) approach with a globally dispersed squad of 11 engineers. My primary objective is to ensure we build the right product in the right way and with the right quality, with a particular emphasis on customer use cases. A significant aspect of my role involves working with stakeholders and customers to ensure that the product we are developing meets their needs while balancing any technical constraints.
Are you involved in any other projects / networks? If so, please describe what they are and what your contributions are.
I am currently involved in two employee-led networks within JLR, namely the Islamic Society (ISoc) and REACH, which stands for Race, Ethnicity, and Cultural Heritage.
I joined the ISoc network when I first started working at JLR. On my first day in Solihull, I was looking for a place to offer my afternoon prayer. In my previous company, I would usually find a quiet meeting room to do this. However, at JLR, I was pleasantly surprised to find a multi-faith room in the building! It was then that I realised how supportive the company is of employees who wish to practice their faith. As a member of the ISoc network, I want to play a part in promoting this supportive environment.
I became involved in the REACH network since its inception in 2018. The aim of the network, to create an encouraging environment where diverse minds thrive and everyone feels safe, confident and excited to bring their whole selves to work, appealed to me the most. At that time, I had just started my new role based at Gaydon, so I volunteered to be a champion for the site to promote the network’s activities. More recently, I have been leading an initiative called the “Name Campaign” with other members of the network. The campaign aims to educate people on the importance and benefits of getting someone’s name right. Over the last 12 months, we have done this through Lunch & Learns on various name-related topics, a monthly column about the meanings and history of names from around the world and driven positive actions within the business. In November 2022, the campaign was given an award for the meaningful impact it has had within JLR. This was one of the proudest moments of my career so far. Over the next year, we have set out our vision and key workstreams to build on what we achieved last year.
One other project I have been involved in is the virtual Coffee Roulette within my department (AAD). I initially established this during the Covid-19 pandemic as a way to keep colleagues feeling connected while working from home. This initiative has continued as our department has expanded globally and has helped colleagues’ network and build new connections. The feedback has been great, and the best thing for me has been learning more about my colleagues beyond just the work stuff.
What do you like about working here?
There are several things that I like about working for JLR. My top five are:
The ability to practice my faith without compromising my identity.
The brand and products – it goes without saying that our cars are impressive!
The wide variety of roles available, making it easy to move within the company and look for that next challenge.
Collaboration – while the team culture varies, I have always experienced a strong sense of collaboration in each of my roles.
Lastly, the shift to hybrid working has allowed me to have a better work/life balance.
What are your career aspirations? Do you feel that you get the necessary support from your management / department to help achieve your learning & development goal?
I am always keen to continuously develop myself and advance within the company – I do feel I have the support of management in my professional growth. Additionally, I am currently pursuing registration as a Chartered Engineer through the IET.
Describe your team / department, and what makes it stand out from our competition?
The diversity of our department’s teams, both in terms of culture and location, is immediately noticeable. This has become even more prominent in the last 2-3 years due to remote working, which has allowed us to attract talent in mainland Europe and expand in the US, China and India.
This is what I believe sets us apart from our competitors – the abundance of creative ideas that stem from the diverse range of minds in our department. As a result, we have created an environment that is forward-thinking, positive, and proactive in our approach to work.
Tell us 3 interesting facts about yourself.
Firstly, I am proud to be a STEM Ambassador. As part of this role, I engage with young students, delivering talks in schools and mentoring individuals through the Arkwright Engineering Scholarship programme. My main motivation is to give back to the community; I wouldn’t have pursued my current career path if someone hadn’t inspired me when I was younger, and I hope to be that inspiration for the next generation of Engineers.
Secondly, I am passionate about fundraising for charity, and I usually do so by undertaking extreme challenges. In the past, I have completed the Paris Marathon, conquered the 3 peaks challenge, and cycled over 100 miles from Leicester to London in a day. In June, I will be participating in another cycling challenge, riding over 400 miles from Amsterdam to Copenhagen within 5 days to raise money for the Help the Homeless charity in Leicester.
Lastly, I am a sports fanatic – especially football, Formula E and Formula 1. In fact, I am a qualified FA youth football coach and have been coaching a team for the past 6 years at a local football club in Leicester called Community Football Academy (CFA). My love for football inspired me to take up coaching and help encourage youngsters to stay active and fit, rather than staying at home playing video games.
What hints and tips can you share with the potential candidates who are going through the application / interview process?
As a STEM ambassador, I often get asked for tips on applications and interview process. Here are five that I always suggest:
Do your research on the company. Find out about their products, business strategy, and any challenges they’re facing.
Structure your answers to competency questions around your experiences, and make sure to highlight the role you played in achieving positive outcomes.
Remember that you won’t just be assessed on technical skills; your behaviour matters too.
Prepare a few thoughtful questions to ask at the end of the interview.
Most importantly – be yourself! It will make the whole process smoother and less stressful.
Find out more about our latest ADAS opportunities: click here
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s important to reflect on the progress we’ve made towards gender equality, but also to acknowledge that there is still much work to be done. As women, we have a responsibility to support each other and create a sense of belonging in our workplaces.
In large global organisations like Jaguar Land Rover, it is easy to feel like just another number. It’s important to remember that every woman has a unique perspective and set of experiences that can bring value to the table. By actively listening to and supporting each other, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.
We asked our female colleagues to share stories about times when they felt inspired and encouraged by other women. Jo Hill simply couldn’t wait to share her story about Georgina Green, “Georgie continually supports my development as an informal mentor and coach. She helps me find solutions when I don’t have clarity, by being available and listening. Her support for my development has been demonstrated particularly through the Team Improvement Circle (TIC) programme and more recently in her new role as Learning Manager. She encouraged my involvement with the wider TIC central activity, with opportunities to support events and this year I have been given the opportunity to learn and grow as the HR Admin for HR.
Already I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone by delivering 3 lunch and learns, I would not have had the confidence or the knowledge without Georgie’s support. I have appreciated all her support over many years and feel her contribution to the development of others is amazing and deserves celebration.”
We also extended an invitation to Georgina to offer her insights and future aspirations, allowing us to gain a valuable perspective from her unique journey. She shared, “From the moment I joined Jaguar Land Rover in 2018 I have had the pleasure of working with such wonderfully diverse teams and individuals right across our global business. The opportunities, experiences and people I have met have truly changed my life and contributed towards shaping me into the person I am today. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am passionate about people. Alongside my role within the My Growth & Development experience, I sit on the Committees for the Team Improvement Circle (TIC) programme and the Gender Equality Network (GEN), as I want to drive, champion and celebrate the culture that we are building together at Jaguar Land Rover.
When it comes to supporting other women, I try to set a good example, this can be as simple as ensuring I speak up in meetings or looking for ways to shape the conversation to ensure women feel included or empowered to speak. I feel that being positive, transparent and approachable has enabled me to connect with colleagues and I have been lucky enough to support some fantastic women in their growth and development as an informal mentor. Women can often be prone to more self-doubt than men, but by simply showing you care, giving feedback or introducing new opportunities you can make a huge difference to boosting another woman’s confidence.”
One way to create an inclusive and supportive environment for everyone is by actively seeking out opportunities to connect with and mentor other women in the workplace. By sharing our experiences and knowledge, we can help each other navigate the challenges and obstacles that we all face in our careers. We can also create a network of support that can help us advance in our careers and achieve our goals. Let’s make a commitment to support and uplift each other as women, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. Together, we can create a more equitable and inclusive workplace where all women can thrive.
Join our company and be part of a team that is committed to transforming the culture and shaping the future. Your unique talents and perspectives will make a significant impact and help us create a better tomorrow. Find the latest opportunities here.