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Plan International youth activist Maisy becomes McLaren Automotive CEO for the day to mark International Day of the Girl

A 17-year-old youth activist has become the Chief Executive Officer of luxury supercar maker McLaren Automotive for the day to celebrate International Day of the Girl and encourage young people, and particularly young women, into science and engineering careers.

Maisy from Wales took over the reins from McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt, as part of McLaren Automotive’s long-term partnership with global children’s rights charity Plan International. 

It comes as McLaren highlights Plan International’s new research* today showing that 1 in 4 (25%) girls aged 11 to 18 have wanted to try out a science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subject or job but have either been told it is for boys, were worried about being negatively judged, or were unsure since they only saw boys doing it in the media.  

It also showed that nearly half of girls (47%) have heard through media, friends, or family that ‘girls are not good at STEM’.

“My day as CEO of McLaren Automotive was full of incredible moments but being part of building a supercar was amazing, and that’s not something many people can say.

“Plan International is about smashing stereotypes, changing attitudes, and unlearning lessons because a lot of girls think they should be playing with dolls and not cars, and that’s not right.

“This partnership between McLaren Automotive and Plan International is inspiring young women to consider STEM careers and achieve their full potential.”

Maisy, CEO for the day, McLaren Automotive

Maisy started the day with a handover from CEO Mike Flewitt, where he presented her with CEO business cards and her McLaren CEO access pass.

The day included leading her executive team in strategic decisions as well as collaborating with many of the company’s female business leaders, engineers, scientists, and designers.

CEO Maisy gained an understanding of every aspect of the process of designing, engineering, building and marketing supercars and helped to hand-build a McLaren supercar, including putting on the all-important McLaren badge as the finishing touch to one of the company’s new hybrid supercars, the McLaren Artura.

Maisy also met brand ambassador Amanda McLaren, daughter of company founder Bruce McLaren, at a new “McLaren: Driven by Design” exhibition at Brooklands Museum which features a full-scale LEGO 720S supercar, before having a CEO preview of some of McLaren’s top secret future supercar designs and a passenger test run in a McLaren GT.

“Having Maisy take over as CEO of McLaren for the day to celebrate International Day of the Girl has been both an enjoyable and valuable experience for me and the whole McLaren team. Her ideas, insights and intelligence – as well as clear passion – will help us move forwards even faster on our efforts to achieve even greater diversity and inclusion.  

“Maisy also got to see the incredibly exciting and diverse range of talents we depend on to produce our supercars and I hope, in the process, she has helped to dispel stereotypes associated with the automotive industry from a gender and skills perspective.

“Our work with Plan International is for the long-term and I’m delighted that one of the key decisions Maisy led on as CEO was our pledge to work with Plan International on McLaren’s commitment to holding workshops with 100 girls over the next 12 months, scaling up to 1000 globally by 2025 to encourage greater take-up of STEM careers. That is a legacy Maisy and everyone at McLaren can be very proud of.

Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive

*The polling was conducted online by Opinium Research amongst a representative sample of 1,000 11 to 18 year old girls in the UK from 15th September to 23rd September 2021.

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