Home > Automotive News >  

Making a Difference: Women in Auto Care

The Women in Auto Care Organization Has Been Making Differences For Over 20-Years

Women in Auto Care Mercedes Lilienthal loosening lower shock bolt
Author loosening a lower shock bolt. (photo by: Andy Lilienthal)

Women in Auto Care (or WiAC), is an official community under the Auto Care Association and is dedicated to connecting, empowering, and mentoring women within the auto care industry. WiAC is a diverse group that includes shop owners and technicians. However, the vast majority of members are corporate businesswomen that work for parts manufacturers. No matter what segment these women fall into, WiAC prides itself by making a positive difference in their lives. They offer specialized programming and unique events to their members, with the support of the Auto Care Association.

WiAC hosts a monthly Bookish Club, one featured special guest Karyn Schoenbart, CEO of The NPD Group and author of Mom.B.A.: Essential Business Advice From One Generation to the Next. (screenshot by: Jessica Finnerty)

Significant Scholarships

With most of their core programming offered free of charge, Women in Auto Care includes life-changing meetups and events. They offer a robust Mentoring Circle Mixers mentorship program and informative Bookish Club meetings. Additionally, WiAC supports the future of women in the auto care industry by providing young women financial support through their scholarship program.

Women in Auto Care awards multiple scholarships for high school and post-secondary female students pursuing a career in the auto care industry. Established in 2004, the scholarship program has grown from $2,000 to more than $100,000 distributed annually, an impressive step to support females in auto care.

Although 2020 saw economic hardships across the board, WiAC partnered with Garage Gurus and created the largest sponsorship event in the organization’s history. In total, 53 women were awarded more than $140,000 in cash scholarships or tool kits.

Note: Get in on the action! The deadline to submit a Women in Auto Care scholarship application is March 31, 2021.

2020 Women in Auto Care Annual Leadership Conference attendees (photo by: Auto Care)

What WiAC Does

In addition to mentoring and an ever-increasing scholarship program, WiAC also recognizes excellence through its awards. This includes the Women of the Year Awards and the Marketing Communication Awards.

Women in Auto Care’s goal is to, “engage and reflect the broader community of women employed in auto care while we continue to expand our reach to ensure that our community is inclusive and far-reaching across our industry.” Having a community that reflects the millions of women employed across all sectors of this industry, they feel, will allow more women to benefit from what they do.

Moderated by Stacey Miller of Auto Care Association, the Women in Auto Care Week panel discussion featured: Michelle Tansey of Dubclinic, Kristin Grons of Brake Parts Inc., Lauren Beaulieu of Advance Auto Parts, and Jacqueline Rodriguez of Parts Authority. (screenshot by: Jessica Finnerty)

One instance that WiAC reached a broader audience was by hosting a week-long Women in Auto Care Week in February (there is a fee for this event). What’s usually an in-person leadership conference; the group successfully hosted a multitude of sessions, happy hours, and informative classes for virtual conference-goers to attend.

Women in Auto Care conference roundtable discussions (photo supplied by: WiAC)

Generosity of Others

The Women in Auto Care’s executive committee is run entirely by volunteers. They generously give time to support the group’s mission, along with help from the Auto Care Association staff.

As WiAC continues to grow and evolve, they’re looking to strengthen their offerings to women in the auto care industry. Interested parties can donate to the Women in Auto Care Scholarship Fund or become a sponsor of the organization. Women in Auto Care’s goal is to positively affect and be a support system to women in the auto care industry.

If you’re interested in receiving WiAC communications, you can opt in to receive their newsletter and additional communications by signing up on their website or you can email them via womeninautocare@autocare.org.

Women in Auto Care women wrenching on a chassis (photo supplied by: WiAC)

Additional Resources

In addition to women in auto care, other groups have been created to help women in the automotive trades. For instance, the Real Deal Revolution hosts a variety of workshops throughout the year to teach women about pinstriping, welding, and more. The Jessi Combs Foundation and the SEMA Businesswoman’s Network also offer scholarships and support for women in the auto industry.

Thanks to the internet and social media, women pursuing the auto industry can easily get connected to others across the globe. Many women, like Sarah “Bogi” Lateiner of MotorTrend’s “All Girls Garage,” are active online. Bogi hosts weekly happy hours interviewing women throughout the industry. Additionally, she hosted a few of the Women in Auto Care members at her shop last year. From women who wrench to those who weld, social media can bring a world-wide industry together on a much smaller scale.

Dedicated Women in Auto Care volunteers have grown this organization over 20 years. (photo supplied by: WiAC)

No matter if you’re a technician, a mechanic, or even a corporate businesswoman that works for a parts manufacturers, a wide variety of automotive-related groups can help you. Organizations like WiAC and others are helping women become more confident, skilled, and progress positively in their careers.

About Mercedes Lilienthal

Mercedes is an Oregon-based freelancer who specializes in vehicular adventure travel. She and her husband have three right-hand-drive turbo-diesel Mitsubishi 4x4s and two customized subcompact daily drivers. Mercedes enjoys automotive adventure competitions, having competed in the 2018 Rebelle Rally and the 2020 Alcan 5000 Rally. Her freelance work includes writing, editing, photography, social media management, event coverage, and marketing services.