Women in broking stack2

Name: Justine Long

Job title: Procurement & Operations Manager, Drivalia

How long in role: 16 months

Current drive? Tesla Model 3 – but would prefer something with a blue & white badge

IN 1994, a 16-year-old Justine Long was crowned ‘Driver of the Year’ at her Under 17s Car Club. She was only the second female to have held the title. Justine was already a seasoned driver and had been behind the wheel (off road thankfully) for four years, as she explains: 

‘I come from a family of petrol heads. In our house it was all about the cars, Formula One was always on the television and my dad used to take my brother and I to the car club which is held at various locations across the UK. In fact, my second driving lesson was at Castle Combe in my dad’s BMW 5 series, aged 12!’

That early baptism of burning rubber might have been part of the reason that Justine decided not to pursue her career as airline cabin crew. Having studied travel tourism, she then took a business degree to broaden her knowledge. 

Following a few years working in wider industry roles, Justine started her first automotive role with Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions in 2005. She started as an Internal Account Manager, with responsibility for an outsourced fleet of 1200 and progressed to Retailer Relationship Manager. During a decade working at Hitachi, Justine established robust automotive foundations while navigating the demands of motherhood, effectively and successfully balancing her professional duties with the responsibilities of raising her children.

From Hitachi, Justine took on some impressive automotive roles including Technical Services Development Manager at Alphabet and Head of International Sales for vGroup. She was also Group Fleet Manager for Millbrook Healthcare which she describes as ‘a revelation to genuinely understand what a fleet actually needs from their leasing provider’.

Then in October 2022, Justine made the move to Drivalia Lease as Procurement Manager, joining as the UK’s second employee. She says that, as with all growing businesses, her remit is wide. She manages new vehicle procurement and has responsibility for supplier and operational management – including the all-important broker channel.  Justine is relishing working for a fast-growing business where ‘It’s a collective effort, and you’re trusted to get on with the task at hand’. 

Justine says that female representation has improved compared with when she started out in the sector, commenting: 

‘Over the last decade I’ve seen more of a swing from females being in customer services to more strategic roles. There are some incredible women out there making a real difference in our industry – like Lorna McAtear at National Grid and Justine Hawkins at Ebbon Automotive. Imagine that perhaps one day we will walk into an automotive event and see a sea of women!’

Generally, Justine has been well supported during her time in automotive. In particular she is grateful that her employers over the last decade have enabled her to grow and develop. 

But that wasn’t always the case. After the birth of her second child, Justine reduced her days from five to four and her line manager told her that she could not manage e a team on part time hours. Thankfully, she says, that mentality has changed.

So, with two decades in automotive under her belt, is Justine glad she didn’t take to the skies instead? 

‘I have a genuine passion for the automotive industry, and I enjoy the gleaming, imposing pieces of machinery that bring mobility and pleasure to the end user. I've always found joy in purchasing cars and securing the most advantageous deals possible. The industry is fast paced too, it’s incredible how automotive technology has evolved - the car is now almost an extension of the driver. And, of course, the people are a huge part of what makes this sector great - you build brilliant relationships in automotive.’

And for women thinking about a career in automotive? Justine has this advice:

‘Being approachable, open and honest with people is key for building strong relationships which makes everything easier. Understanding the business objectives is equally vital; it enables you to offer the best support possible. Lastly, adaptability is key. Being able to tackle various tasks is essential, particularly in startup businesses where each day brings new challenges.’

About Drivalia

Drivalia provides a wide range of services: rental for all durations, innovative car subscription and electric car sharing. Drivalia is active in 13 European countries with over 725 electric Mobility Stores in Europe. It has 1,600 owned charging stations and a fleet of 165,000 cars.

More On Our Women in Broking Series

Women in Broking is our regular series of features highlighting some of the great women who are so influential in the leasing broker sector – a sector that has been male dominated for too long. The series celebrates the Women in Broking – both those working in brokerages and those working with the broker channel – and hopes to encourage more women to have a successful career in the leasing broker market.

Supported by Drivalia

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