Meet The Manufacturer Top 100 2019 Exemplars – 9: Lisa Oxnard

The Manufacturer Top 100 is a project that showcases the most dynamic leaders, young pioneers and unsung heroes working in UK manufacturing, all of which have been nominated by their peers.

Among the Top 100, however, our judging panel chose 20 individuals for special recognition. We call them ‘Exemplars’ – those who have exemplified remarkable leadership, daring or innovation within their respective field, and who set the direction of travel as we head into the new decade.

Lisa Oxnard, Chief Financial Officer, Doncasters Group

Lisa Oxnard, Chief Financial Officer, Doncasters Group
Lisa Oxnard, Chief Financial Officer, Doncasters Group

To say that Lisa Oxnard is by nature an industrious person would surely be to undersell her abilities. The self-described “worker” has risen through a predominantly male industry over the course of 20 years, by forcibly stepping outside of her comfort zone and going beyond the typical demands of one working in finance.

Before she became the CFO at Doncasters Group, a precision casting, forging, fabrication and superalloy manufacturer headquartered near Burton-on-Trent, Lisa started her career on a finance management training scheme in a division that was once part of Alstom Power, now Siemens, after deciding not to pursue a degree in mathematics at Lancaster University.

She later studied for her Masters in Commercial Law at the University of Aberdeen and from there assumed a number of accounting roles that have taken her around the world.

After a term in Germany for Siemens as part of the integration team post acquisition by Siemens, she returned to the UK to join laboratory supply and biotechnology company, Fisher Scientific – latterly Thermo Fisher Scientific – in a financial controller role which then enabled her, over six years, to work in a number of different senior roles outside the finance function.

“I’ve seen a number of mergers during my career and being part of the organisation process was something I felt I could really put my stamp on. I’m curious by nature and I’ve always sought to go beyond my CFO box, because I wanted to have a more rounded business knowledge, as opposed to just a number cruncher,” she said.

Celebrating seven years of inspirational industry leaders

The Manufacturer Top 100 Logo 2019 - For Use in Slider BarLaunched in 2014, The Manufacturer Top 100 publicly recognises the most dynamic leaders and innovators in manufacturing.

Published by The Manufacturer, in partnership with Cranfield University, one of the country’s top centres of business education, the project is helping to dispel widely-held myths that vibrant manufacturing in the UK is a thing of the past.

Click here to make your nomination for The Manufacturer Top 100 2020, and to download a copy of the 2019 publication.

A self-confessed “geek”, Lisa adores manufacturing and said she could not envisage herself in any other industry. “I just love the process and the change aspect of something tangible and I’m fascinated by things transforming and moving.”

But she admits there are still some trials facing the industry. “UK manufacturing has challenges in attracting people into that environment and it’s still heavily male-dominated, more so in the senior management positions.

“I feel I’ve had to step up my game and become a lot more vocal, more extrovert, which is counter to my more natural introverted personality. Luckily, I’ve had some really great mentors throughout my career who have given me that opportunity and really pushed me beyond my comfort zone in my roles, but also the softer skillsets required.”

A staunch advocate of all things STEM, Lisa has frequently spoken at schools and career fairs with fellow female colleagues on the importance of pursuing careers in manufacturing. She said it is important for young people to trust in their judgements and to, “learn from your mistakes and grow from your successes”.


In their own words

What is your favourite engineered/manufactured product?

The smart phone, it’s a real gamechanger. It grants access to so much and enables us to accomplish a lot
remotely.

Please give one interesting fact about yourself that not many people know

I completed my first full Iron Man in Sweden in August 2019. I started doing 10K runs which then became a half marathon and then a full marathon and then triathlons. I don’t know what comes after an Iron Man, but Marathon des Sables is on the bucket list.

If you weren’t in manufacturing what would your dream job be?

A maths teacher. Having the ability to share knowledge and craft a person’s development using mathematics, that would have been a career I would have opted for.


The Manufacturer Top 100 is produced in partnership with Cranfield University – one of the country’s top centres of business education, and low-cost talent partner, Trust Hunter Ltd (Hunter).