Women in broking stack2

Name: Tracey Whalley

Job title: Operations Director, XLCR Vehicle Management

How long in role: 22 years

Current drive? Tesla Model 3

TRACEY Whalley says the day of her interview for XLCR Vehicle Management was highly memorable for all the wrong reasons. The date was September 11th, 2001, and the interview took place just as the first plane hit the twin towers in New York. 

Although that first meeting happened on such a horrific day, Tracey also knew she had a great connection with the XLCR business and its co-founder Lee Duerden. And her instinct was clearly right; two decades later Tracey is still there. 

Tracey joined the business after a few years at Asda which she joined straight from school. Asda wanted Tracey to join its management scheme but she didn’t see that as her long-term goal – she explains what attracted her to XLCR:

‘I wanted a career not a job and although I didn’t know much about automotive, it looked like a good challenge. I started out in an administration role which was brilliant groundwork, you learn so much working for a smaller company – including how to multi-task! I was young and ambitious, so it really suited me.’

Tracey had a keen interest in cars when she was young and enjoyed helping her dad fix the family car. She vividly recalls being asked to ‘hold a damp cloth, in case of fire, while dad welded the petrol tank – different times!’ But as cars got ‘more like computers’, her love of cars evolved into a passion for broking – particularly customer service and compliance. Tracey commented:

‘The beauty of broking is that you see all the different interconnecting industries – including the supply chain and lender. I had no idea of the breadth of opportunities available in automotive when I started out – I thought it was just car sales. Automotive can feel like an intimidating industry when you’re on the outside looking in, but my experience has been incredibly positive.’

There were just five people working at XLCR when Tracey started, and she was the only female for the first five years. The business has now grown to over 50 employees and the gender ratio has improved, with a quarter of its employees now female. Tracey has always been encouraged to progress and says she wasn’t even considering the next step when the first promotion opportunity came up. Encouraged by Lee, Tracey became Renewals Manager, a role that she feels she grew into.

Tracey’s interest in compliance and process meant that she then went on to become Operations Manager. Her view is that increased regulation has ‘picked the whole industry up by its bootstraps’ and is driving even better behaviours and service. By 2018, Tracey was almost full time, her children were older, and she took the next step up to the Operations Director role. Tracey also joined the senior management team who she describes as ‘a strong and supportive unit’.


Tracey wins BVRLA award

One of the highlights of the year for Tracey has been the award she picked up at the BVRLA’s annual Dinner at the London Hilton on Park Lane (7 March 2024). She was presented with the Learning & Development Achievement Award - Tracey is pictured with the award on the night of the dinner

Having worked at XLCR for so long, Tracey says the team feels like family. Tracey credits Lee and Managing Director Shaun O’Neill for being great at working out where people fit within the business and ‘seeing something in me that I didn’t even know was there’.  She is keen to acknowledge their support, commenting:

‘All my mentors have been male, and Lee and Shaun are my biggest champions – without their support I wouldn’t be where I am now. Sometimes you don’t want to put yourself forwards when you’re also needed at home, so employer flexibility is really important. When the right roles opened up, I’ve been encouraged to go for them. 

‘When I started out, I had a young family, including a child with diabetes, so it was important to me that my hours worked with my home life pattern.’ 

Tracey believes that, as a society, we’re leaving behind the stereotype that women should be the only ones to juggle family life and work. However, she thinks it will be the next generation that truly has more balance. Tracey’s advice to women looking to progress in automotive is this:

‘Women need to have the confidence to put themselves forward – if we don’t own our value the sector will continue to be male dominated. Show commitment and passion for your role and invest in your own development. It’s also important to take the time to recognise your achievements, as women we don’t pat ourselves on the back enough! Finally, do not apologise for having a home life – we all need balance.’

About XLCR Vehicle Management

XLCR Vehicle Management is based in Bristol, trading as the Best Car Deals. The team driving the brokerage has years of experience in the car leasing and contract hire industry and is trained to provide the highest standards of customer service combined with the best value for money. The company was acquired at the beginning of the year by Global Vans

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

Show CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment