Thursday, 17 May 2018 13:54

WIN Races to Connect at 2018 Educational Conference

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Outgoing Chair Petra Schroeder passed the torch to Incoming Chair Michelle Sullivan. Outgoing Chair Petra Schroeder passed the torch to Incoming Chair Michelle Sullivan.


“I didn’t care about cars. It was about proving a point. It’s not that women are fearless, but we just do it anyway,” she said. “I’m terrified all the time, but I just do it anyway because I’m stubborn as hell.”

Although she planned to go to law school after college, Lateiner found that she missed working with her hands and decided to pursue a career as a mechanic. However, she was met with resistance and accusations that she wanted to be a man, applying for around 20 jobs before someone finally gave her a chance. 

She stressed, “I don’t want to be a man---I want to be a mechanic.”Because she wanted to give back, Lateiner began teaching car care classes for women, and before long, she decided to open her own shop where she is devoted to empowering and hiring women. This led to the television show featuring her garage, but her favorite part is the letters she receives from little girls who now know that they can do anything they want when they grow up. 

When Lateiner came up with the idea to do an all-female build, Kristen Felder of Collision Hub and Tina Nelles of BASF bought in.

According to Lateiner, “It turned out to be way bigger than I’d ever imagined. It took 10 months, 90 women and one truck, but it was way more than just a rebuild. Of the 90 women who worked on the truck, 30 percent had never worked on a car before. Many women in the automotive industry rarely get a chance to work with someone like them, and it’s so important. We built a community. We even had little girls, 8-year-olds, helping out, and as they grow up, this is completely normal to them, and that’s a great thing to teach this next generation.”

One of the women who participated in the build, Seana Denney, joined Lateiner on stage to share her story. After being diagnosed with late stage cancer, Denney heard about the all-female build and wished she could participate, so when her doctor decided that she needed to take a break in her chemo, Denney begged to work on the truck since she liked cars but did not know how to work on them.