I’m going to say it. The automotive business is a male-dominated world. I know it. You know it. The guy next door knows it. It takes a lot of grit for a woman to stand out among her male peers. It’s even harder if you are a minority woman. I’m not saying this in a bad way, and I don’t mean any ill-will with these statements in any way, but I do personally feel that the auto business is not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough world to be in, male or female, and you have to have a certain tenacity to succeed. Especially if you are on the retail sales side of the business, we’ve all had that experience with not-so-happy customers yelling in our faces and learning to deal with it professionally. Actually, that can be said for anyone in any retail space if you think about it.
I was fortunate at my previous dealership. The management team we had was very diverse, and to even further that statement, the finance team comprised of two women—something you don’t see very often. And I’m not sure if “fortunate” is the correct word to describe the working environment I was in, but I do feel fortunate that this was the team that I had. Needless to say, with this diverse team, we had many humorous debates on who was actually “in charge” – the female-led finance team or the male-led sales management team? It was all fun and games and made for a great working environment, and in all honesty, we did get along very well and worked very well with one another as one unit. We worked together to increase sales and profits for not just our team, but most importantly, the store.
And you know me, I found an article that is a human-interest related story in the auto business. And this article is obviously the basis for my earlier comments. Despite everything going on right now, these females deserve a little shout out for what they are doing. Kerri Wise and a few of her friends decided to turn a bad situation into an opportunity vital to them. In light of the coronavirus and George Floyd, these women formulated the Women of Color Automotive Network in hopes of opening doors to other, well, women. Wise, along with 3 of her friends, got together and came up with this group to spread the word to other minority women in a show of support and awareness in this male-dominated world. It’s like a group saying, hey, you’re not the only one out there! We’re with you!
This network is new, so we have yet to see their full potential, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The world is their oyster, and they can shape this program into whatever they dream. The sky is the limit. From what I can tell, they want to help their peers and any potential peers interested in the automotive world. They want to help empower women.
In a world where it is rare to see women on top, it’s definitely cool to see women helping other women find jobs and careers. The competition cannot be easy, especially as a minority, but they are working with one another instead of working against each other.