When we think about the automotive world, we initially think male-dominance.
This is true for the most part, there are several women trailblazers leaving a huge imprint on this industry. With that being said, let us take a minute to give a huge shoutout to ALL women who are brave enough to shatter glass ceilings and resist the stereotypes.
In celebration of Black History Month, we are going to narrow things down a bit and pay tribute to 5 African-Amerian women trailblazers in the automotive industry who are making waves.
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Patrice Banks, a self-proclaimed former auto air-head and the founder of Girls Auto Clinic continuously makes a positive impact in the auto industry.
Frustrated by her lack of car knowledge, Banks enrolled in an automotive technology school to learn how to work on cars. When she discovered it wasn’t as hard as she thought, she established Girls Auto Clinic (GAC) in 2013 with a mission to create a safe place for women to bring their cars in for repair and maintenance.
“When I learned how to work on cars I realized ‘wow this stuff isn’t hard!!’ Women don’t know that because there’s nobody speaking like them. The industry is run by men.” – Patrice Banks.
It is very obvious that women of all colors are the minority when it comes to Motorsports.
Shauntia Latrice “Tia” Norfleet, daughter of NASCAR driver Bobby Norfleet, holds the title as the first African-American female to be licensed by both NASCAR and ARCA, the Automobile Racing Club of America.
The young racecar driver has had a love for the sport since she was only seven years old and at the age of 14, she began competing on a local and regional level in go-kart racing. Eventually, she moved on to late model stock car racing and later became the first African-American to obtain a NASCAR late model series racing license.
“What I stand for is something way bigger than me.” -Tia Norfleet
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“If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” — Today’s the big day. I’ll be changing tires on the 52 Cup car, pitting at the highest level in NASCAR at the very track I made history at last year by going over the wall in my first ever set of NASCAR race(s). I get chills every time I come here because of that. I’m doing this for everyone that believes in me.. even the ones that don’t. Sometimes you have to take a chance on things because you never know what could happen. This track will forever have a special place in my heart. Love u guys! #breakingbarriers #makinghistory #blackgirlmagic #trailblazer #pioneer #blessingsontheway #firstblackfemaletirechanger #nascardiversity #nascaronnbc #xcaliburpitschool
Women are not only on the NASCAR track they are also in the cockpit!
Meet Brehanna Daniels, the first African-American female pit crew member to work a race in the Monster Energy series, the sport’s top series. While finishing her senior year at Norfolk State, NASCAR approached her about joining their drive for diversity program to attract women to the sport. She said yes and the rest is history. Ironically, before then she had never even changed a tire. Daniels proved that she could hang with the best of them! Get it girl.
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“There were not a lot of people who looked like me, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do it.” Alicia Boler Davis sought to become the representation she did not see in the engineering field during college. Check out our Instagram Story today to watch the full video from Scholastic. #NationalEngineersWeek #STEM
Alicia Boler Davis, the Executive Vice President of global manufacturing at General Motors.
This V.P. has rapidly moved up in this fortune 500 company. You can say she is an extreme over-achiever.
She was one of the first African-American women to become a GM manufacturing plant manager and before holding her current position she was the Senior VP of Global Quality and Customer Experience. In 2014, Alicia was awarded the Technologist of the year award by the Women in Colour Magazine and she continues to take the world by storm proving that We Can Do It.
Edie Reaves, is the V.P. of the quality and health, safety and environment for the automotive seating division in North America at Faurecia. Reaves admits to finding herself in a man’s field. A man once even told her that she did not “belong” at her job because she was a woman- and an African American one. Despite these obstacles, Reaves continued to take the lead and work as the only woman many times. She has held many manufacturing and management positions in the auto industry. How’s that for shattering glass ceilings?
“Keep in mind that we are still paving roads and making paths. Don’t create a new barrier for the women who follow”
All of the women mentioned above are true trailblazers. They’ve helped pave the way for other women by bravely pursuing their dreams and not allowing anyone or anything to stand in their way. Did we miss anyone special? We would love for you to tell us about them in the comment section below.