Paythru chief strategy officer Sara Sloman has been named as the winner of the Barbara Cox Woman of the Year award for 2023.
Sloman, who is director of The EV Café alongside her role with the smartphone payment fintech company, was announced as the winner of the fifth annual awards in a ceremony timed to coincide with International Women’s Day this afternoon (March 8).
Over 150 guests attended the event organised by Cox Automotive Europe, who run the awards in partnership with AM and its sister title Fleet News.
Slomnan was one of six women shortlisted from over 50 entries by a judging panel which included previous winners Caroline Burnell and Lorna McAtear.
Commenting on her win, she said: “I’m overwhelmed to have won this award and promise here and now to pay it forwards and use the profile this brings to continue to embrace equity for women in the automotive sector.
“To be a part of this process has been inspiring. While on one hand it’s been about celebrating individuals, on the other, it’s been about collaboration and recognising the opportunity we have.
“It’s given us all an opportunity to take stock of what we’ve achieved and to create new connections.
“The six finalists have today pledged to work together and push forward as a group and I can’t wait to see what comes next.”
Kate Ruberry-Shoemack, head of people and communication at Rygor Commercials, and Erin Baker, editorial director at Auto Trader were also presented a Highly Commended awards this afternoon.
Shortlisted for the top award alongside them and Sloman were: Mariam Aslam-Digger, commercial director at Rhino Group; Kate Howdon, head of HR for eStar Truck & Van; and Dal Dosanjh, head of marketing communications at epyx.
Martin Forbes, president of Cox Automotive International, said that, despite receiving so many strong nominations for this year’s Barbara Cox Woman of the Year award, Sloman was a “very deserving of this accolade”.
Forbes said: “She is described as having endless drive, enthusiasm and tenacity for improving our industry, and she does this by sharing her knowledge and own experiences.
“Throughout her career she has given her time to mentor women in our industry. Having experienced gender bias and discrimination during her career, she understands exactly what other women may be facing on their own journeys and has worked hard to influence and change policy and improve things for women in automotive.”
Forbes added: “Her work in the sustainable transport and energy sector is truly inspiring, as is her drive to leave a legacy where we see strong leadership from all age groups with recognised diversity and accessibility.
“She’s overcome personal adversity too. Having recovered from an aggressive blood cancer, she now takes on extreme physcial challenges with the target of raising £5,000 a year for charity.
“Sara is a phenomenal person and I am honoured to have been able to present her award today.”
As well as the prestigious award, Sara received £5,000 to spend on her own personal development.
She has already pledged that her bursary will go towards establishing an initiative that will help women get a foothold in the automotive sector, and supporting Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.
Cox Automotive’s chief people officer Sarnjit Kaur said: “Meeting the six inspirational shortlisted women today, has been an inspiring experience. I’m thrilled for Sara and equally delighted that we were able to recognise Erin and Kate’s achievements.
“The automotive sector has made huge strides towards diversity and inclusion in recent years and while there remains much more to do, this award and our Women with Drive events reinforce why we must continue to champion equality and continue to empower one another keep driving change.”