Overcoming the stereotype

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by Vicki Ogilvie, Ogilvie’s Auto & Fleet Service

I am Vicki Ogilvie, the co-owner of Ogilvie’s Auto & Fleet Service in Jasper, On. As a business owner in the Automotive Industry for more than 30 years, I’ve witnessed a common stereotype that ‘women don’t know anything about cars’. Even though the Automotive Industry is considered to be male dominated, this stereotype could not be further from the truth and is, fortunately, beginning to subside. 

Growing up, I was raised on a farm watching my dad always fix tractors and heavy machinery. He never let my gender impact how I grew up, and always allowed me to help with chores and driving the tractors and trucks.

When I met my husband, he was an automotive apprentice and loved hot rods. It didn’t take long for me to begin learning about engines, drivetrains, brakes, and anything mechanical. In our early days, we spent many years showing hot rods and building cars, which eventually led to our family now spending every summer drag racing with our two daughters.

When the opportunity came for me to join the business, it was never a question. The hardest part of my career was proving that I knew what I was talking about when it came to fixing vehicles. Once our customers realized this, I quickly became respected by them.

In today’s Automotive Industry, it is very common to see women working. Whether it’s as an automotive technician, welder, shop or dealership owner, CEO of an auto parts or tire company, saleswomen, or race car driver; there is no shortage of available positions. The popularity of social media has also helped our industry immensely, providing young women with an outlet to meet and mentor successful women.  

As a woman in the automotive industry, I am constantly learning, and love making women feel comfortable coming to our garage. I have two daughters, in whom I have instilled the confidence to ‘be’ and ‘do’ whatever they want, regardless of their gender. I hope that, by sharing my story, other women will feel empowered to follow their passions and/or dreams, even if it goes against the norm.

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