IWD2024: Spotlight on Anne Ashman – The View from the Top

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day 2024, it’s rather apt to shine a spotlight on women who are breaking barriers and making significant strides in what could be conceived as traditionally male-dominated industries.

One such trailblazer is Anne Ashman, Group Commercial & Operations Director of MVIS, a leading provider of Portable VMS signs & Intelligent Transport Solutions.

Anne’s journey doesn’t just highlight personal achievement, but also underscores the progress being made in the highways industry towards gender equality and inclusivity. It also showcases MVIS as the inclusive company it is, putting ‘the best person for the job’ as the only criteria on the list for employment & progression opportunities.

Here we take a look at Anne’s career path with MVIS, her time in the highways sector, what brought Anne to where she is today, as well as some of the challenges faced and hurdles overcome on the route.

A Journey of Growth and Leadership

With over a decade of service at MVIS, Anne’s journey is a testament to her commitment, resilience, and leadership qualities.

Starting from the role of Office Manager within the company in 2012, Anne has steadily progressed through the ranks. Her journey exemplifies the opportunities for growth and advancement available to women in the sector, and at MVIS in particular.

The highways industry has historically been perceived as a male-dominated sector. However, the landscape is shifting, with an ever-growing female presence across a range of roles – from operative to boardroom level.

Anne’s leadership role at MVIS highlights this shift, and the company has a further female presence within its workforce to the tune of 35% percent – showcasing the continued opportunities available to females in the sector via a career with MVIS.

With ‘the best person for the job’ the ultimate goal, more women are welcomed not just into the sector in general, but into leadership positions within MVIS.

The Importance of Female Leadership

The presence of female role models like Anne is not only essential for promoting gender equality but also for driving innovation, and adding diverse perspectives within organisations.

As Anne continues to lead by example at MVIS, she contributes to the company’s success and reinforces the importance of female leadership in driving organisational growth and sustainability.

This ‘on the ground’ skillset is in addition to highlighting to females both in, and interested in entering the highways industry that it is a career path that brings opportunity for growth and progression.

A Brighter Future

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Anne’s journey serves as a reminder of the progress being made towards gender equality in the highways industry and beyond.

With more women like Anne assuming leadership roles, the future looks brighter and more inclusive than ever before. As we continue to champion diversity and empower women in the workplace, we pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous industry for all.

We spoke to Anne about being a female leader in a sector typically seen as male dominated, as well as some of the challenges faced, as well as crucially how they were overcome.

Anne told us:

“The sector is certainly a different landscape to the one I entered in 2012, with the number of females drastically increased. Take a look around an industry event or exhibition in 2024 and there’s almost a 50/50 split of males and females in the room. In 2012, women were very much a minority there.

Whilst working in the Highways Sector, I have had opportunities that I may not have had in other industries. Yes, I was a female in a male industry, but as someone who has always believed in equality and a role being filled by the right person, not a gender, then this didn’t bother me.

What I did do was take all the opportunities offered that has allowed me to move to the role I am now in. My list of qualifications and skills is endless, this is what I want others to read, it’s about hard work and grabbing the opportunities you are offered. Whether your female, non-binary, or male, you only gain by putting in the hard work and not being discouraged by being who you are”.