By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network named Cora Jokinen as this week’s #SheIsSEMA Spotlight Member. Jokinen is a volunteer on the SBN select committee, and the president of Torq-Masters Industries, a manufacturer in precision automatic locking differentials for the aftermarket automotive industry.
SEMA: How many years have you been with your current company and what do you enjoy most about working there?
Cora Jokinen: I acquired Torq-Masters in 2014 after being a formerly sponsored driver of Torq-Masters. Meeting fellow enthusiasts is what we enjoy the most followed up closely with innovating new products.
SEMA: What is most challenging part of running your business or job?
CJ: Customer Service. We know what it feels like when USPS loses a part you need to make a trail ride tomorrow and the disappointment that can cause. Or if you are wrenching over the weekend and need to drive to work on Monday morning but have a question about an install and your vehicle is all torn apart. We treat our customers like our friends and try to go out of our way to make their experience awesome and easy—anytime, everyday.
SEMA: Being a woman in the industry, what have been your biggest challenges and accomplishments? Do you have a specific situation that comes to mind?
CJ: I think being a woman in the automotive industry is an opportunity, not a challenge. If some people expect less of you, and you deliver more, then that’s an even bigger win. One of my first accomplishments in the automotive industry was I won rookie of the year, the first female Monster Jam tech (who was never a registration coordinator prior or related to another tech official) official to do so. Other accomplishments are a number of patents I’ve developed since owning the business.
SEMA: Who are your role models or mentors in the industry? How have they helped you along the way?
CJ: Jessi Combs inspired me to go out and take welding classes in 2003 and inspired confidence that I can design and make my own parts. Then later her Rally and Racing inspired me to compete in the Rebelle Rally and race King of the Hammers. She is a legend and has inspired so many people in meaningful ways. Charlene Bower has inspired and mentored me in business, marketing and PR. Emily Miller taught us how to complete with grace and confidence.
SEMA: What is the best career advice you have received? How has this advice helped you either professionally or personally?
CJ: Anyone with project management skills can be great managers and business owners. Doesn't matter which industry your PM skills are in, they translate over to any industry. This has given me confidence to drastically switch career paths when I transitioned into the automotive industry.
Do you know, or are you, a woman with a career in the automotive industry? Fill out a #SheIsSEMA spotlight form to submit a self-nomination or nominate a colleague and highlight how you or she is contributing to the specialty-equipment industry. Selected candidates are automatically eligible to be considered for SBN’s #SheIsSEMA Woman of the Year award, featured on SBN’s social media, SEMA eNews and recognized on the www.sema.org/she-is-sema website.