Jacqui Barker, Global OEM Strategy Director at Keyloop, has been named Barbara Cox Woman of the Year 2024. 

She was among six women shortlisted for the award, which was presented yesterday (Wednesday) at a special Cox Automotive Women with Drive event in Bruntingthorpe, Leics.  

Now in its sixth year, the accolade recognises women in the sector who demonstrate a commitment to innovation, leadership and community. It takes its name from Barbara Cox, a business pioneer who served as Director of Cox Enterprises, Cox Automotive’s parent company in the US. 

Accepting her award, a stunned Jacqui said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to receive this award and to be part of automotive. One of the beautiful things about the sector is that once you’re in it, you never really leave it.  

“It’s also beautiful to be part of the growth and change that we see in the industry, particularly the growing diversity and witnessing more and more women driving amazing initiatives.  

“I’m so grateful for every opportunity I’ve been given and afforded during my career. I’m really stunned I’ve won this, to be honest. The shortlist was an amazing and impressive cast of dynamic, innovative, amazingly strong women who continue to change things for the better, clearing a path for the next generation of women that follows.”  

Last year's winner, Sara Sloman, was among the judging panel tasked with the difficult decision of deciding the winner. In addition to gaining industry-wide recognition, Jacqui receives £5,000 to spend on her personal development. Fellow nominee Marta Blazquez, President of Faconauto, received a “Highly Commended” award.  

The prize once again saw Cox Automotive Europe team up with AM and Fleet News. 

Martin Forbes, President of Cox Automotive, said: “The calibre of nominations for this year’s award was, as ever, of a very high standard. But our judging panel, through careful deliberation, decided that Jacqui is a truly deserving winner. 

“And I cannot argue with that. She is clearly a woman who works tirelessly in business and her private life, to make lasting improvements in so many areas. 

“I was greatly impressed by Jacqui’s launch of not one but three magazines, which are still going strong today. Her work with OEMs in the e-commerce space has been exemplary, too. Her pivotal role in launching a campaign aimed at young female graduates, promoting automotive careers as a viable and exciting route for women, has been nothing short of remarkable. 

“The word ‘inspiring’ is often used to describe people in business and automotive who go the extra mile. In Jacqui’s case, it is arguably not an adequate description. She has a passion for learning and inspiring others, a magnetic personality and an unwavering determination to do the right thing. 

"Despite being a busy mum of three, she has managed to find time to participate in community events and charity fund-raisers. 

“She is a phenomenal person who has clearly made her mark on the industry and who has clearly demonstrated how women can shape the way the sector innovates and evolves. It was a privilege to present her with the accolade.” 

The shortlisted finalists for the award also included: Jade Budden, Head of Marketing & Online, Fords of Winsford; Lucy Line, Deputy Managing Director, Novuna Vehicle Solutions; Sally Foote, Chief Commercial Officer, Sell My Car, Carwow; and Lisa Spong, Sales Director at Reflex Vehicle Hire. 

Cox Automotive’s Enterprise Sales Director and Sponsor of Women with Drive Sam Panayides said: “Meeting the six incredible shortlisted women today has been an inspiring experience. I’m thrilled for Jacqui and equally delighted that we were able to recognise Marta's incredible achievements. 

“The automotive sector has made significant progress towards diversity and inclusion in recent years. “Whilst much work remains to be done, this award and our Women with Drive events reinforce the importance of championing equality and empowering one another to continue to drive change.”