“What opportunities exist for women in the collision repair industry? There aren’t too many women in this industry other than typical office personnel. I think it’s important for all women (and men) to know that we’re capable of becoming reliable and good workers in any position in this field, and we should be respected as such.” — Angela Spears, collision center manager, Bob Tyler Toyota Collision, Pensacola, Fla.
Question answered by: Denise Caspersen, chair of the Women’s Industry Network Board of Directors
Angela, thank you for sharing the story of your growth (from receptionist to estimator to manager) and involvement in the collision repair industry.
Your question about the opportunities for women in the collision repair industry is a great one. The steps you’ve taken are reflective of the real possibilities for a ladder of career growth for any individual with a desire to succeed and grow. Perhaps the next step on your path is shop ownership – like female shop owners Gigi Walker, Geralynn Kottschade and Jeannie Silver, to mention a few.
Having been in the industry for nearly 20 years and a member of the Women’s Industry Network (WIN) for the past nine, I can say without pause that many women are building their careers in the collision industry at all levels and within all segments of the industry – from the reception desk to ownership, intern to engineer, appraiser to senior claims manager and clerk to vice president. I would encourage you to visit WIN’s website for an overview of the talent within WIN and the collision repair industry.
History of WIN
WIN was started in 2005, when a few passionate women and men set forth with the mission of encouraging, developing and cultivating opportunities to attract women to the collision repair industry, while recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and fostering a network among women who are shaping the industry. The WIN foundational membership has remained consistent as the member body has grown in numbers and influence.
The roles of women involved in the collision arena have historically been a vital element of the collision repair industry. You’ll find women participating throughout the industry anywhere from co-ownership of family-owned collision repair businesses to the strategic minds of material vendors to the editors of collision publications to the associates within rental car companies, insurance agents, repair instructors, technology titan – and even the CEO of one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers, General Motors.
Each year, WIN holds an educational conference for WIN’s membership that’s filled with industry-relevant content. Last year, there were nearly 180 attendees, and our membership numbers reached nearly 400. What’s amazing about WIN and its conference is the diversity of talent. Women from all levels and segments are represented and inspire one another to continue their career path within the collision repair industry.
If it weren’t for my involvement with WIN, I too would have thought that there were very few women in the industry. I encourage you to become an active member of WIN, attend the conference May 4-6, 2015 in Baltimore, Md., and build your network of women who have made the collision repair industry their career. WIN is composed of women just like you who are learning something new each day and contributing to an amazing industry. For me personally, WIN is “the land of mentors,” as so many of the WIN members are so inspirational and willing to lead.
One last thing: I encourage you to check out the Most Influential Women in the collision repair industry listing on WIN’s website. As you scroll through the nearly 80 recipients, this may also “ring some bells” on how many talented women there are in the collision repair industry holding many different positions.
Thank you again for lending your talent to the collision repair industry and leading by example.
Angela Spears won $50 for submitting this question to our “Reader’s Choice” contest. For your chance at $50 and a spot in our next Reader’s Choice issue, click HERE to submit your own question.