By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) named Jessieleigh Freeman, mechanic at #SavingSaturn, as the newest #SheIsSEMA spotlight member. Freeman has a passion for Saturn vehicles, which ceased production in 2010, and has taken on the task of restoring and collecting Saturn vehicles—17 of them at the moment. Learn more about Freeman in her interview with SEMA below.
SEMA: What is most challenging part of running your business or job?
Jessieleigh Freeman: The most challenging part is finding the parts and keeping up with all the Saturns.
SEMA: How many years have you been in the industry, and what was your first industry job?
JF: I have been in the automotive industry for about six years now. My first job was office manager and service writer for a speed shop.
SEMA: What are three qualities that got you to where you are today?
JF: The three qualities that got me where I am today are organization, perseverance and determination.
SEMA: Being a woman in the industry, what have been your biggest challenges and accomplishments?
JF: Being taken seriously is a big thing for me in what I do. Many people have not taken me or what I do seriously and think that it is a joke. I worked very hard to get where I am and do what I do. People ask me all the time if I am just the face of #SavingSaturn and some man does everything behind the scenes.
SEMA: Who are your role models or mentors in the industry? How have they helped you along the way?
JF: It has been difficult to find a female in the industry who does what I do to be a role model. My family has been part of drag racing for years though, and I always looked up to Team Force. The girls have such confidence, and their father never held them back.
SEMA: What is the best career advice you have received? How has this advice helped you either professionally or personally?
JF: The best advice I’ve received is “If they judge you by your cover, show them why they should read.” I have no idea who said that to me; I wish I did, but it has been a great reminder that I should try to educate rather than walk away.
SEMA: Have you always wanted to work in the automotive industry? What keeps you here?
JF: Yes, I have loved cars for as long as I can remember. The passion to get my cars restored has been my driving force.
SEMA: Who was the most influential person on your career/goals?
JF: My Uncle Frank; he pushed me to be who I am today.
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.