Bentley’s global ‘Extraordinary Women’ programme continues to expand with the next selection of extraordinary students, this time from the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, visiting Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, UK, as the final stage of its bespoke mentorship programme.
The ‘Extraordinary Women’ programme is designed to inspire the next generation of female talent from the fields of technology, engineering, design and business and encourage young females to consider careers in STEM and automotive. Building upon the success of the inaugural edition, the 2023 programme has brought together eight students and eight mentors from the UK and Saudi Arabia.
Bentley hosted four students from its partner universities in the UK – Loughborough, Bath, Warwick and Manchester Metropolitan University – as well as four from the Dar Al Hekma University in Saudi Arabia. While at the brand’s headquarters, they were able to go behind the scenes of Bentley’s manufacturing operations, meet with senior automotive leaders and pitch ideas to a panel of Bentley experts.
After undergoing a thorough selection process earlier this year in collaboration with Bentley’s partner universities, the eight students were chosen to participate as mentees and were then assigned a specially chosen mentor, known as a Bentley Pioneer, for regular engagements ahead of the week-long visit to Bentley’s facilities.
In the UK these Pioneers included: Amanda Levete, the RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect; Megane Montabonel, product manager at Focal & Naim and Hayley Hunton, Head of Financial Planning at Bentley Motors. The Saudi Pioneers were represented by: Mishaal Ashemimry, aerospace engineer and founder of MISHAAL Aerospace; Noha Zagzoug, Associate at Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Nadine Attar, designer and founder of Nadine’s Jewellery, and Nicola Gough from the Bentley Motors product strategy team.
Commenting on her involvement as one of the UK Pioneers, Amanda Levete said: “This is a great initiative to encourage young women from underrepresented backgrounds to enter the very male dominated automotive business. Thank you Bentley for introducing me to my extraordinary mentee Guari.”
Nada Hudaib Aljaid, who is studying at Dar al-Hekma University, said: “Participating in Bentley’s Extraordinary Women programme has been a life-changing opportunity. I am so grateful for the mentorship and guidance provided by the many experts I have met, and for the truly unique opportunity to visit the company’s headquarters. This experience has really ignited my passion for STEM and automotive, and has shown me the limitless possibilities that lie ahead.”
Gauri Morjaria, who is studying at the University of Warwick said: “The programme was so insightful. It was great to be able to see and speak to so many Bentley engineers and colleagues and learn about their careers and passions. This week has taught me so much and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me.”
Member of the Board for Human Resources at Bentley Motors, Dr Karen Lange, explained: “This is the second edition of the ‘Extraordinary Women’ programme, and we are delighted to welcome again inspirational young women to our head office this year. The programme complements our Beyond100 goals, as we extend our efforts to increase female participation in the industry. I’m particularly pleased to welcome a second group of students from the Middle East. Empowering the future generation of female leaders remains a key focus for us, going far beyond the automotive sector.”
In the Saudi Arabia chapter, the four Dar al-Hekma University students involved were: Nada Ayman Alzahrani, majoring in Computer Science; Sarah Nahill Alrawi, majoring in Finance; Joud Mustafa Zahran, majoring in Graphic Design; and Reem Mohammed Alsamkari, majoring in Cyber Security. In the UK chapter, the programme welcomed Gauri Morjaria, majoring in MEng Automotive Engineering from the University of Warwick, Judith Mburu, majoring in MSc Finance and Investment Loughborough University, Polly Berryman, majoring in Mechanical Engineering from University of Bath, and from Manchester Metropolitan University, Alisha Nasim, majoring in Technology & Cyber Security.
The ‘Extraordinary Women’ programme is an ongoing initiative from Bentley that forms part of the British brand’s wider Diversity and Inclusion commitment under its Beyond100 strategy, which it aims to inspire and educate young women across the globe and help equip them to take up leadership positions in their chosen professional fields. Extraordinary Women supports Bentley’s Beyond100 strategy and goals to achieve 30 per cent diverse management by 2025.
Photographs by Bentley Motors.