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Inside One Woman’s Mission to Disrupt the Auto Industry

Most women hate their automotive experiences.

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BY Quora - 23 Jun 2018

Inside One Woman's Mission to Disrupt the Auto Industry

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

These questions originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answers by Patrice Banks, Founder & CEO, Girls Auto Clinic, Author of Glove Box Guide, on Quora:

Q: As an entrepreneur, what has been your approach to disrupting a very established industry?

A: There are a lot of million-dollar ideas ready to be picked up off the ground. I believe I've created a solution to a large problem the automotive industry has not solved and only placed a band-aid on. Most women hate their automotive experiences. My goal is to have the auto industry follow our lead by hiring more women and putting them in positions of influence, power, and ownership. If women are the #1 customer in the automotive industry, hold more driver's licenses than men across all age groups, influence up to 95% of car buying decisions, and are the CFOs of their households, then why isn't the industry doing more to cater to and please their number one customer? If we show the value of hiring women, catering to women, and empowering women, the automotive industry will be forced to change so they can continue to add value. Women spend $200 billion on their cars. We need more businesses like Girls Auto Clinic!

Q: What are the challenges you have encountered in a male dominated industry?

A: Not being taken seriously or my voice being valued. I was paid to speak at an automotive tech school to talk about women in the automotive industry and the 16-year-old boys did not believe I was a mechanic. They asked me all types of questions about cars to test my knowledge. I am an engineer and a manager with 12 years of experience at DuPont, a paid speaker, and these 16-year-old boys weren't buying it. Can you imagine an 18-year-old girl? I overcome them by ignoring it. I keep my head down and focus on my vision and on my goals. If they can't help me then they are in my way and I'll push them aside to find a person who can help me. I don't care about these men, seriously. They can talk all they want but I'm taking GAC to the next level. And they will be saying their shoulda, coulda, wouldas.

Q: Why did you decide to become a mechanic instead of just being the business owner of your auto shop?

A: Because I wanted to understand what women go through working in the industry. I wanted to see what stops women from joining and staying in the industry. I wanted to teach women how to take care of cars. I have a deeper understanding of being a woman in this industry and I can add more value to my employees and customers because of this.

Q: How does working at the Girls Auto Clinic transform a new female mechanic?

A: It gives them the space and freedom to work and make their contribution without the pressure of having a male-dominated environment around them. It is incredible what a woman/girl can become and contribute if we give them the freedom to be themselves without judgement. My girls are confident, knowledgeable, and excited to come to work and make their contribution and be themselves! Sometimes they can't even be themselves at home! Women need safe spaces to learn, grow, and contribute.

These questions originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

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