As we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8th, I reflect on my personal experiences in the automotive field. How did I get to where I am today?
The one thing that stands out growing up is to be told “You can do or be anything you want.” My father was my biggest supporter. He led by example with great patience (something I need to work on). Being by my dad’s side, I learned many things like lawn care, gardening, painting, remodeling. But the most important was how to fix and maintain a car.
I was around 11-12 years old and I remember my first experience with being told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. Dad took me to the National Guard Armory to compete in a BB shoot. I was told this was for boys only. I was understandably upset since I had practiced and practiced for this competition. After some convincing, I was allowed to compete. I got the highest score but wasn’t allowed to take home the trophy, but what I did take home was the feeling of self-satisfaction. I realize today it’s not about the limelight or trophies but knowing you have given your best.
As a teen in the 70’s, my mom signed me up to join N.O.W. (National Organization for Women) at the local YWCA. Women’s lib was coming into the forefront. The experience gained from this organization bolstered my confidence to achieve whatever I set out to do.
While in high school, my dream was to study astronomy and be the first woman in space. College didn’t work out for me, so this dream was put on the back burner. By the time I was 24, I landed a job with a local dealership. My duties where to start an office with a new concept in the 80’s. It was the Finance or Business office. I had to sell myself to the long-term salesmen, office ladies and customers. I never realized what talents I had until I tried something new. I could never have accomplished this without the guidance of my boss. He gave me the knowledge and the confidence I needed to succeed. Through perseverance and tenacity, I gained leadership skills. This helped me overcome obstacles as a young woman in a man’s world.
I found the automotive field was my calling and I’m passionate about it. I have a coach that mentors, pushes and advises me to be better. My husband is behind me and supports me every day. I will never know it all, but I know one thing, having a support group behind you is priceless. I am thankful and grateful for all these wonderful people in my life.
My satisfaction is to see my team become better everyday in ways they didn’t think they could. We are very proud of Diedra for graduating with her Automotive Accredited Manager (AAM) designation from Automotive Management Institute (AMI). I’ll bet she never would’ve imagined three years ago that she would achieve what she has in an industry she knew nothing about.
Cheers to all the women across the globe who aspire to be a better version of themselves. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a CEO, you can be anything you want to be! Finally, to my daughter, we are here to help you become anything you want to be in whatever you choose.