A Level Playing Field
Tabitha Grice has been breaking down barriers since she started in the industry roughly two decades ago. Grice, who is based in San Diego and works on the fleet and consumer business for YourMechanic, has had to overcome gender stereotypes in school, with her coworkers and with customers, but she hasn’t lost her spirit and continues to fight for gender equality in the auto industry every day.
Grice was lucky enough to grow up with parents that supported her love of vehicles and didn’t make her do dishes because she was a girl.
“My brother and I both did dishes,” she laughs.
After working in an office setting for a few years, she wanted to start working with her hands again and went to work as a lube tech at a shop in Las Vegas while going to school at Arizona Automotive. Both in school and at the shop, she experienced stereotypes and pushback. She was labeled as the nerd who knew all of the answers, not necessarily the person who could get the job done. She showed them all and graduated as Valedictorian and went on to be the manager and lead tech of that shop. She has six ASE certifications, as well as a Diesel certification. She now works at YourMechanic.
“YourMechanic’s platform tends to attract entrepreneurial, highly skilled technicians like Tabitha because the platform enables mechanics to run their own business without the expensive overhead of running a shop,” said Anthony Rodio, YourMechanic CEO and President.
Grice shares some advice with the industry on leveling the playing field.
For women in the industry who are struggling: Know as much as you can.
Grice used her knowledge as a weapon. She still references the books that she had back in college and is always looking for new knowledge, something that she encourages other women to do as well. Parts vendors offer various classes that are great for learning more about topics such as hybrids.
“If you feel like guys are looking down on you, prove them wrong.”
For shop leaders and co-workers: Do not be overprotective.
Working under and with men for the majority of her career, Grice has had many of them ask if she needs help lifting something or performing a difficult task.
“Stop doing that. Let the woman do her job,” Grice says.
What Grice calls “babying” doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t give a woman, or her coworkers or leadership team, confidence in what he or she is doing.
For the industry as a whole: Spotlight more women.
In order to encourage more women to get involved in the industry, it’s necessary that they see themselves in the industry. Encourage them to be the best that they can be and showcase their stories, Grice says.