Four auto industry leaders, representing different segments of the retail car business, have teamed up to create the Women of Color Automotive Network.
Launched earlier this month, WOCAN aims to “attract, support, connect and empower women of color in the automotive industry,” through a variety of educational, career and community resources for its members.
That includes monthly webinars, an online private networking group, mentorship program, scholarships, regional events and job postings.
Leading the charge are four auto industry veterans who founded the network:
— Patrice Banks, founder and chief executive officer of the Girls Auto Clinic service repair shop
— Amanda Gordon, founder and CEO of the Gojo Auto independent car dealership
— Erikka Wells, a sales and service marketing manager in the retail auto space
— Kerri Wise, vice president of an automotive online marketplace
In a news release, the organization emphasizes that, “Women of color sit at the intersection of gender and race and face unique challenges in their careers. The auto industry represents a significant opportunity for career advancement and financial prosperity.”
However, WOCAN shared that women of color (Black, Latina, Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander) represent just 6% of the U.S. auto industry, even though they comprise 18% of the workforce.
Each of the WOCAN founding board members shared some perspective in the news release:
- “It’s hard to be it, without seeing it. We want to expose women of color to other successful women in automotive who look like them, and also bring awareness to the various automotive career paths,” Gordon said.
- “Being ‘the only one’ can be isolating, intimidating, and can cause you to question if you belong. There were many times where I considered quitting the industry. But if I’m not willing to break barriers, who else will?” Wise said.
- “It was challenging to find a network in automotive that provided a safe place to address the unique challenges I face as a woman of color. Sometimes you have to create what you want to be a part of. So, we created WOCAN,” Banks said.
- “Diversity is a business decision and businesses that have a workforce that match its customer base have a competitive advantage,” Wells said.
For more information, visit www.wocautonetwork.com