Volvo Buses


Celebrating the women of Volvo Buses, a conversation with Jennifer McGill

At Volvo Buses, we actively embrace gender diversity and inclusion all year round, whether that’s by championing women’s voices or supporting our employees in LGBTQI+ communities. Following on from International Women’s Day, and as a nod to Women’s History month, we’d like to shine a special spotlight on one of our most inspirational colleagues, Jennifer McGill, the National Account Manager for Scotland.

A conversation with Jennifer McGill…


National Account Manager for an entire country is a big job, what has your journey to that role been like?

I’ve actually been with Volvo Group for about 11 years, seven of which I was supporting the executive management team for the Volvo Truck and Bus Centre North & Scotland dealer group. I decided I wanted to do something different in 2021, and I was lucky that Volvo supported that dream of mine by offering me the sales role I so cautiously applied for. I think that prior experience gave me a good foundation because I got to understand a wee bit about finance, a wee bit about sales, and a wee bit about HR, so it gives you a well-rounded view as to how a business works. I have used that since and have found that understanding how different roles work helps to recognise how we can best support each other. I believe it contributed to my progression into the National Account Manager role in February of this year.


What do you enjoy most about your position?

I enjoy dealing with people the most. I'm very much a people person and I like to get to know customers and their businesses because they’re all unique. They’re all in the same industry, yes, but they’re doing their own thing and they have their own agendas. It’s really interesting to find out more about that, understand it, and then use it to find ways where we can support them. With vehicles, with services, with finance, everything that goes into the package that makes Volvo Buses their brand of choice, everything is tailored to them – that’s the best part, being able to help them.


Going to industry events is another real highlight for me, you meet such a diverse group of people. If you listen and absorb and understand things, then you can take that information, learn from it, and speak about it to them in the next place.


It's no secret that the bus and coach industry is traditionally considered as a male dominated industry, has being a woman ever been something that’s caused you any challenges throughout your career?

The industry is full of some very different types of people. There will always be old fashioned attitudes towards women in certain roles, but they have been few and far between from my experience.

Most people I’ve come across have been supportive and actually appreciate the perspective of a woman in that role, because no matter what way you cut it, women will do things differently to men. We have different ways of looking at things, different priorities, but our strengths and weaknesses are different as well. Don’t get me wrong, it can be quite daunting and nerve-wracking when you’re walking into a garage and it’s full of men, and they’re looking at you like ‘what are you doing here?’ But when you get into it you learn that there are more women in this industry now. Especially with the Women in Bus and Coach initiative in the UK, of which Volvo was one of the founding members of, it’s great to see more women are being supported and brought together in this space, I know that our MD, Domenico Bondi, is a huge supporter of the initiative.


What advice would you give to women aspiring to work in the bus and coach industry, or any industry for that matter?

Just that you’re going to go into situations where you might feel uncomfortable or intimidated. It is difficult to walk into these environments as the only woman and feel as confident as you’d like to feel, but I’m very much an advocate of ‘just do it anyway, even if you’re terrified’. Because only good things will come of it and you’ll feel so good about it afterwards, that gives you the confidence to walk into the next room full of men and assert yourself and give the presentation. You’re just as qualified to be there.


There are so many great women in this industry who are inspiring. And I get motivated by our customers all the time: people like Sarah Boyd, the MD of Lothian Buses, is very admirable and her career journey is something to be celebrated. Sandra Whitelaw, who owns Whitelaw Coaches, is also someone I have a lot of dealings with. She is inspirational, really helpful, always bolstering women in the industry. Of course, Volvo Buses President, Anna Westerberg is a role model not only for me, but for women throughout the Volvo Group. It’s so nice to have those safety nets as a woman in this industry.


And, outside of work, what are your proud achievements?

My family, I have a husband, a seven-year-old daughter and a twelve-year-old son. Quite unusually my husband is a stay-at-home dad so I’m very lucky that I’m able to rely on him to look after the childcare so I can continue my work. It’s an exciting time for us and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved, we have recently bought a new home and booked a holiday to Florida this year, which I never thought we’d be able to do.