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CARSTAR is celebrating the women that deliver CARSTAR’s renowned high-quality collision repairs and excellent customer service for International Women’s Day, March 8. Working as technicians, painters, detailers, estimators, customer service representatives and store managers, they are on the front lines every day helping customers manage their collision repair experience.
From fulfilling a family legacy to providing a friendly face for female customers to providing excellent customer service or finding a career building the business, the women of CARSTAR are role models for anyone looking to succeed in the vehicle service business.
Fulfilling a Family Legacy
For Laura Trousdale, a new employee at CARSTAR Arnprior in Arnprior, Ontario, joining the collision repair industry is a family tradition she’s proud to carry on.
“My dad is a licensed body man and a manager for 30 years,” says Trousdale. “His dad had a body shop for decades. I love this business! It feels like being part of an ‘all-boys’ club but somehow, I got in. I think having more women in the industry brings more attention to detail and improved customer service.”
Adds Danielle Lefebvre from CARSTAR Myers Ottawa South Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, “I have always been around the automotive industry. My mother was a painter for many years, and my father works in the automotive recycling industry. I started in a body shop when I was still in high school as part of a co-op program. Now, I enjoy completing a challenging paint job and looking back to say, ‘I did that.’ I like being confident in the finished product. I’ve been very lucky in having a few female apprentices over the years, and that’s been a favorite experience.”
Natasha Mills started in a collision repair facility at 19, and nearly a decade later is the assistant manager for CARSTAR Kanata in Ottawa, Ontario.
“My father has been in the collision repair industry for more than 40 years, and I’ve grown up around cars and motorcycles my whole life,” says Mills. “On the weekends and evenings, I would spend my time helping him in the shop. I’m thankful that I get to work alongside my father and help him run the business. And, I met my husband while working here, too.”
There is also the sense of duty when it is a family business.
“My family has been in the industry for many years, and I decided it was time to join them and grow the business,” says Laura Torres of CARSTAR Brantford in Brantford, Ontario. “I enjoy helping others during a difficult time and turning a negative experience into a positive one. And there are funny moments – I’ve had an older customer come in and ask where the men are and if they are at home cooking and cleaning.”
A Friendly Face for Female Customers
Dealing with the aftermath of a collision is always daunting, but the women of CARSTAR work hard to put their customers at ease.
“I really enjoy interacting with our customers,” says Dusty Anglin, who has worked at CARSTAR Osage Beach in Osage Beach, Mo., for the past eight years. “I had one woman enter the shop and would not even let the men acknowledge her. I could not help but laugh since she only wanted a female to help her. I think that women who enter a repair facility feel more at ease knowing there is another woman present.”
Adds Courtney Lacasse from CARSTAR Myers Barrhaven in Ottawa, Ontario, “I think women have a softer approach to certain aspects of the job. As an appraiser, I did an estimate for a woman on her vehicle and she seemed so shocked to see me walk up to do her estimate. Then she said, ‘It’s so nice to see a woman like yourself in this industry.’ She asked me if the company provided training for me (which they did). I think women in this industry have a lot to offer where the male perspective may not have the same insight.”
Having women in lead roles also helps drive business and loyalty with their female customers.
“I have found over the years that we have more and more female customers and they like coming here because of the female perspective,” says Cynthia Vilez from CARSTAR Brantford in Brantford, Ontario. “I love helping our customers, it’s very rewarding. This is like my second family to me.”
“Having more women in this industry is beneficial to everyone – and me personally,” says Amanda Fraser from CARSTAR Brantford in Brantford, Ontario. “My female coworkers and I empower and encourage each other and share that with our customers. I’ve been told by our female customers that they feel more comfortable dealing with another woman when it comes to vehicle repairs.”
Hillary Supping from CARSTAR Calgary Downtown in Calgary, Alberta, has always had a passion for cars, and she turned that into a way to help others during a time of need.
“I always approach the customers with compassion,” she says. “It helps make the process a little less challenging. I also love see the damaged cars coming in and ‘new cars’ leaving.”
A Commitment to Service
“At CARSTAR Mayfield, we are an all-female office staff and everyone gets along well and pretty much has the same approach to things,” says Sally Greaves, a 16-year industry veteran at CARSTAR Mayfield in Edmonton, Alberta. “I think there are many benefits to having women in the industry. Women are usually loyal, hard-working, reliable and process with empathy and understanding others’ needs. It probably comes from being mothers and caring for others. I see great strength in my young coworkers and see a strong future for women in the industry.”
Teri Anderson was a temporary employee at CARSTAR C&H in Fairborn, Ohio, and begged to become a full-time employee.
“I’ve never been happier to find my forever job,” she says. “I love the relief in a customer’s face and a calming sigh when we tell them we will ‘take it from here.’ I also love getting the customers excited about their vehicles when the repairs are completed. It’s a celebration for me to complete their repair, and I want them to feel that same joy.”
Adds Liliana Camacho from CARSTAR Brantford and CARSTAR Brantford West in Brantford, Ontario, “When I was looking for a new, more permanent job, I found CARSTAR, and I’ve found CARSTAR is a company full of growth opportunities. I find that when dealing with customers, vendors and suppliers, the fact that there are women working here gives them a sense of support and understanding. Sometimes that facilitates the communications and makes them feel more at ease.”
“I got into the collision repair field when I was 18,” says Rebecca Civitarese of CARSTAR Burnsland in Calgary, Alberta. “I was a receptionist at a salon and was approached by someone in the field asking to come be a CSR at a collision repair shop because they recognized my customer service skills. The benefits of having more women in the collision repair industry are being able to say we are a diverse industry and also being leaders in promoting quality in the workplace. Both men and women get in accidents, I find that women are very comfortable when I am helping them with their claim as they know I have their back and want their car to get fixed safely and back to the way it was before the accident.”
“My boyfriend is an auto tech, and he got me into the business,” says Hannah Tymo of CARSTAR Royal Oak in Calgary, Alberta. “It’s great to have more women in the industry, and you know they always have your back. It’s like working with your friends, only you get things done!”
The focus on patience and understanding make women a valuable component of the CARSTAR team.
“I got into this industry by accident – I was a nursing assistant and looking to make a change,” says Joanne Moisan of CARSTAR Calgary Downtown in Calgary, Alberta. “I really enjoy the different challenges every day. I also think women bring more patience and understanding to the job.”
Opportunities to Advance
For women looking for a rewarding career, CARSTAR offers numerous opportunities.
“I was working in the petroleum industry and looking to make a change, but I’ve always been interested in auto parts,” said Debbie Crow, who works at CARSTAR Gateway in Edmonton, Alberta. “Now, I’ve been here seven years and love working for the (owner) Johnny K Group. It’s great – I get a lot of respect from my male coworkers as we work as a team.”
Adds Jasmine White from CARSTAR Barrhaven in Ottawa, Ontario, “Personally, I’m proud to be a part of the magic that happens day in and day out at our collision centers. I have a very strong attention to detail. I’ve always been around cars and liked seeing how shiny they can be. I’ve always wanted to be the person who makes them shine! There are lots of opportunities in the industry – it depends where they would want to work — the front office to be a warm and friendly face, the detail department or in the shop as a tech.”
Many women who start out in an entry-level position at CARSTAR soon find themselves managing the operations.
“I’ve always been interested in vehicle repairs, and I found CARSTAR while looking for a receptionist job,” says Chelsea Burwash from CARSTAR Ottawa South East, in Ottawa, Ontario. “I enjoy that I get to learn something new every day. My favorite part is watching the repairs and seeing the finished results. That makes our customers happy!”
“My dad was a mechanic for 35 years, and when I needed a job to get back on my feet four years ago, one of his friends hired me to help him out,” said Diahann Elliott from CARSTAR Brantford in Brantford, Ontario. “I started out cleaning and learning the basics of body work. As I gained more experience, I realized the problem-solving and physical aspect of this job really suited me.”
Lesley Eagleson, with CARSTAR Brantford in Brantford, Ontario, said CARSTAR is helping advance her career in the automotive industry.
“I’ve been a part of CARSTAR for four years, and I think CARSTAR is great with an amazing atmosphere,” she said. “I have always been in the automotive field, so working with CARSTAR is the next step in my automotive career. Yes, sometimes people react with shock that I’m an estimator and a female, but as women, we work hard and tend to be more organized than men.”
And that is true for the many women of CARSTAR throughout North America, where hard work, a commitment to quality, a dedication to customer service and a passion for performance make them the heroes on the front lines.
CARSTAR is actively seeking new franchise partners. Interested parties should call (844) 906-9764 or visit CARSTARfranchise.com.