Meet the team

Ten adventurous women from Cox Automotive are taking on the challenge of a lifetime. Find out more about the climbers, what inspires them, and how they are preparing to take on Africa’s highest peak.

on Jan 25, 10:24 AM

Introducing our climbers alphabetically

Aneliese Platts | Charlotte Haylock | Gillian Bowen | Jo Robinson | Kirsty Parkinson | Leanne Carley | Rebecca Varo | Tracey Howell | Vicky Avison | Victoria Lee

Aneliese Platts

Role: Graphic Designer, Cox Automotive


Aneliese Platts – Designer in Cox Automotive UK Marketing

Reason for taking part

Aneliese said:

There are quite a few reasons that I wanted to be a part of this team. I’m a very goal-oriented person and I was looking for my next challenge when the opportunity to apply for Kili came up.

“As a kick-boxer and runner I’ve never really done a walking challenge before so I was excited to test myself and train for something unlike anything I’ve ever done before!”

What it means to me

“Climbing Kilimanjaro is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, and something I’m really honoured to have been chosen to do. I can’t wait to get to know my fellow teammates in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. But my main reason for applying was to be a positive role model for my little girl, she’s three now and I want her to grow up knowing anything is possible if you work hard enough. “


Charlotte Haylock

Role: Vendor Support Co-ordinator


Charlotte Haylock – Vendor Support Co-ordinator

Reason for taking part

Charlotte said:

This was something that came up and I thought it was too much of an amazing opportunity to miss.

“I’m not the usual outdoors type of girl that likes to get muddy so I wanted to challenge myself to something that was out of my comfort zone.”

What it means to me

“I’m doing this mainly for my children, I want to make them proud of their mum and show them that anything is possible, but also my close family and friends. I’m also looking forward to making friends for life with my amazing team.”

How I’m getting prepared

“As I live in London there aren’t many hills for me to climb but I am preparing myself by walking more instead of driving, going to the gym and also taking the children on walks on a Sunday at a place called Box Hill.”


Gillian Bowen

Role: HR Advisor for Colchester, Northampton and Wimbledon


Gillian Bowen – HR Advisor for Colchester, Northampton and Wimbledon

Reason for taking part

Gillian said:

Having been though my own mountain in life on a personal level and having come out the other side; I want to show my children that if you have courage, aim high and have a positive mind set, you can achieve anything.

“This is so far out of my comfort zone it is untrue (the last time I slept in a tent I was 17 on a girls weekend!!). I truly believe this will be life changing and the start of a brighter 2018.”

How I’m getting prepared

“In between panicking as the reality hits, I am doing lots of walking and working out in my gym. I have also invested in a maxi climber which is challenging, but I can see my fitness levels starting to improve the more I do this!”


Jo Robinson

Role: Head of Back Office Systems, Business Improvement


Jo Robinson – Head of Back Office Systems, Business Improvement

Reason for taking part

Jo said:

I usually only take on challenges that I know I will be good at, but this time I really wanted to do something that would push my boundaries physically and mentally.

“Just because you aren’t 100% certain you can do something at the highest level shouldn’t stop you from trying it. In fact, it should drive you to achieve it.”

What it means to me

“Being able to do this as part of a team of ten women supporting each other to achieve a common goal was such an amazing opportunity I just couldn’t walk away from it. And it’s far more than just the climb in February, the prep and training leading up to it is key to build a team bond. We are already taking on training walks and getting to know others from across Cox Automotive who we may not have met without this challenge. Having the chance to do this was a massive factor in wanting to be part of the team.”


Kirsty Parkinson

Role: Product Manager, incadea Service


Kirsty Parkinson – Product Manager, incadea Service

Reason for taking part

Kirsty said:

Climbing Kilimanjaro was never on my bucket list, I’m more of a lounge around the pool sipping on cocktails kinda girl.

“However from attending the Women With Drive conferences I have learned to push myself. Push your own boundaries and limits, dream big and achieve the impossible.

Therefore I had to put my name forward and do something way out of my comfort zone in order to raise money for children who need it most.”

How I’m getting prepared

“Training is tough at times when the weather is wet and cold but no one ever said climbing Kili was going to be a walk in the park. Currently I am going to the gym most evenings where I alternate between cardio and strength training and then I am spending a full day at least one day at the weekend walking.”


Leanne Carley

Role: HR Administrator, Cox Automotive


Leanne Carley – HR Administrator, Cox Automotive

Reason for taking part

Leanne said:

This is my chance to encourage others – I want to show that at any point you can push and believe in yourself to achieve your goal, even when you are at the point of giving up.

What it means to me

“Being part of the Kilimanjaro challenge has put me in situations which are so far out of my comfort zone I would normally never dare take part. One of our vendors, the CarShop, kindly donated a vehicle to be sold through a sale and I auctioned it. This sale was live and streamed through our Simulcast so that bidders online could listen, watch and buy if they wanted. It was the most nerve wracking thing I have ever done but my word did it feel good when the car sold. “


Rebecca Varo

Role: Operations Manager, Vehicle Solutions


Rebecca Varo – Operations Manager, Vehicle Solutions

Reason for taking part

Rebecca said:

In 2017 we started “The Million Step Challenge” to encourage healthy living and a bit of healthy competition in the team. This encouraged me to get out and join a walking club. I’ve met some lovely people along the way, and that really inspired me to apply for the challenge.

What it means to me

“To get the opportunity to be part of this fantastic team is a dream come true, it’s one of those once in a lifetime events and I can’t wait!”


Tracey Howell

Role: Head of Account Management, incadea


Tracey Howell – Head of Account Management, incadea

Reason for taking part

Tracey said:

I’m inspired by the whole Kilimanjaro challenge, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but hadn’t plucked up the courage to go alone (and couldn’t convince any close friends to join me!).

How I’m getting prepared

“It has certainly been more challenging to keep up the training over the winter months but I have completed a number of challenges including the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, 6 Dales Challenge, and climbing Snowdon. Over and above this I try to complete at least 2 walks or runs through the week, and a long distance walk every weekend.”


Vicky Avison

Role: Data Engineer


Vicky Avison – Data Engineer

Reason for taking part

Vicky said:

I made a resolution a couple of years ago to say yes to all opportunities which came my way (within reason), the more ridiculous the better.

“It’s led to some really positive experiences, so when this, the most ridiculous one of all, came along, how could I say no? Actually, I did say no to begin with, because I was completely unfit and this seemed like something only fit people could do. But after thinking about it, that just gave me another reason to say yes : I needed to get fit but had no motivation to do so. In case you were wondering, 5,895m of mountain is pretty good motivation.”

How I’m getting prepared

“Walking. Everywhere. I don’t even know what a lift is anymore. I’m that person charging up the left side of the escalator out of the tube. That’s if I’m on a tube, because I have now discovered there’s a whole world above ground. I’ve also managed to get out on some great walks with my family, who find the fact that I’m doing this absolutely hilarious because I despised walking as a child. It turns out that I don’t hate walking anymore, so discovering that is another good thing to come out of this.”


Victoria Lee

Role: Account Manager, Manheim


Victoria Lee – Account Manager, Manheim

Reason for taking part

Victoria said:

I put myself forward for the Kilimanjaro challenge as it’s a once in a life time opportunity and something completely out of my comfort zone.

“I’m normally a high heels, nails and nice clothes kind of girl so eight days up a mountain and sleeping in a tent is so far away from what I and other people expect of me.

It’s also something I will remember and cherish for a lifetime, even if I do nothing else as challenging and exciting at least I will always have a good story to tell.”

What it means to me

“My main driver is my little boy, I want him to be proud of me and I want to inspire him. Since starting to train and telling others about the challenge I realise there are so many other people that have real admiration for us and can’t wait to hear all about the experience.”

Categories Challenge