I have a confession to make: That “maintenance required” light on my car’s dashboard has been illuminated for the past three months. Every time I put the key into the ignition, I’m reminded that my car may explode if I don’t get it to the shop ASAP. It seems like a silly thing to put off, right? But then I imagine forking over my credit card at the mechanic’s shop so he can fix some screwy thing I’ve never heard of—you know, a gizmo that does something important and a whatchamacallit—and I think, “Hmm, maybe tomorrow.”
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: More Than $200 Billion
According to one professional car-industry organization, U.S. women spend more than $200 billion on new cars and repairing our current vehicles every year. Additionally, there are more female drivers on the road—nearly 106 million—than male drivers, and women are the key decision-makers in 80 percent of all automobile purchases. We buy a car about every six to seven years, but we visit the automotive-service department several times a year. Sounds like men aren’t the only ones who get all revved up about their motor machines!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Patrice Banks, Founder and CEO of Girls Auto Clinic
Today’s Woman to Watch is one of those kick-butt gear heads, and she’s zealously working to empower other women by advancing their automotive education. Patrice Banks is an engineer, automotive technician and the founder and CEO of Girls Auto Clinic, a car-focused business and growing movement that’s just as awesome as it sounds.
Located near Philadelphia, Patrice and Girls Auto Clinic are seriously changing the game when it comes to how women feel about car care. All of Patrice’s mechanics are women, or “shecanics,” as she calls them, a rare yet welcome change from most repair shops. And her company’s mission is to cater to its top customer demographic: women.
For more than a decade, this self-proclaimed former “auto airhead” worked as an engineer for a science-and-technology company. But in order to solve a problem in many women’s lives, including her own, Patrice changed gears, leaving behind her six-figure salary to earn a degree in automotive-engineering technology and launch Girls Auto Clinic, which provides automotive services, products and resources that cater to women based on trust, education, inclusion and empowerment.
And here’s a really major bonus: Rather than making customers pace about in a dingy waiting room filled with crinkly Maxim magazines and a broken vending machine, Girls Auto Clinic offers its onsite Clutch Beauty Bar, where customers can indulge in hair blowouts, manicures and pedicures—all while sipping on mimosas. Sounds like heaven, right?
But for Patrice, Girls Auto Clinic is about more than a welcoming environment. It’s also about educating women because, as Patrice says, it’s no secret most women absolutely despise going through the automotive-repair process because we feel misunderstood, taken advantage of or mistreated. But by providing in-person education about all things auto repair, Patrice is disrupting the automotive industry and providing a welcome, safe and energetic space for women to learn. Indeed, at Girls Auto Clinic, the shecanics personally show customers exactly what’s wrong and right about their cars, and encourage women not to worry about getting their hands a little dirty—perhaps before getting that manicure!
Patrice doesn’t consider Girls Auto Clinic to be an automotive company so much as a female-empowerment business, and says her customers are helping make history, or, as we at On The Dot like to say, “herstory.”
We are ecstatic that Patrice has created a wonderful space for women, by women, and one that thrives, or rather, drives on transparency and respect.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Today’s quote from writer R.H. Sin embodies Patrice Banks’ philosophy that women can and should be our own champions:
“The most dangerous woman of all is the one who refuses to rely on your sword to save her because she carries her own.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.
To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.