SEMA Member News—March/April 2011
We’ve Come a Long Way Baby!
Balancing a career and home life is more challenging than ever, but the women of the automotive specialty-equipment industry have done it with style for more than 30 years. As a woman who has literally grown up in this business, I’ve witnessed the transition firsthand. In the late ’70s, I attended many events as a representative of the Edelbrock Corp. It was a struggle in those days to get any of the customers to take me seriously. When I offered to answer a question, they simply replied, “I’ll talk to one of the guys.” In 1991, I started racing a ’66 Shelby Mustang GT-350 on the vintage racing circuit. There were no women in the B-production class in which I raced at that time, and very few who drove. Some of the guys treated me like a little sister, teaching me the ropes about road racing. Others were irritated and threatened by my presence, but only when I got close to their rear bumpers or had a faster lap time and qualified for a better starting position.
It’s a completely different story today, thanks to women such as Lynn St. James, Linda Vaughn, Lauren Fix, Courtney Hansen, Jesse Combs and others who have helped pave the way. It’s rather obvious that gender diversity is here to stay!
Here are more thoughts from some of our SBN members:
Owner of Crazy Horse Painting
Owner of eTool Developers
Internet Marketing and Training Specialist
“I love being a woman in the automotive aftermarket! While I am not a big fan of the women’s liberation movement, I want to have the same respect and the same opportunities as our male counterparts. I have found this working in the automotive aftermarket. As in most industries, you have to prove yourself, but if you do what you say you are going to do and get the job done, it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman! You do good work, you reap the rewards.”
Founder and Owner of Kwan International
Global Marketing, Public Relations
“For me, being a woman in the industry today is having the opportunity to continue the efforts of the women who have opened the doors for us. It’s our job now to not only exemplify but to exceed the expectations of what a woman is capable of in the automotive industry. My hopes are that, one day, our efforts as women won’t have to be looked upon as well-deserved respect because of being a woman but rather as an extraordinary individual who happens to be a woman.
To say that we’ve come a long way is quite an understatement, especially when you consider the turbulent economy we’ve all weathered and the technological advances that we continue to provide for men and women enthusiasts. The passion, dedication and continued love affair of this wonderful hobby is a guarantee that there will be plenty of performance, excitement and great-looking hot rods for many years to come.”