Guest Blog Post by Audra Fordin
I am Audra Fordin, the fourth generation, first female owner of my family’s auto repair shop in Queens, New York. I have been in the auto repair industry all my life, like Mona in the movie “My Cousin Vinny,” working on cars through the evolutionary transformation from muscle cars to hybrid.
I have intense pride in my family business and it was instilled in me at an early age. The recession of 2008 was a very scary time for me as a wife and mother of three small children. I was watching in fear as auto shops and manufacturers closed their doors. My customers were unemployed and I feared the same fate; I was depleting my inventory and having trouble paying my rent. All the while, women were coming through my auto shop door, sharing with me how they had been taken advantage in auto shops. I can totally relate to this because throughout my career it has happened to me too! Enough is enough! This anxiety, frustration and insecurity women feel when they go into an auto shop is just wrong. It was at that point in time when it became crystal clear to me: the industry that I truly love is not going to survive unless change happens. It has been long overdue for a makeover.
There is no reason why a person, who is spending their money to take care of their property, should ever feel unsure and insecure about what he/she is buying. This is a major problem! Not to mention, this issue is further augmented by the lack of women working in auto repair. As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention!” I took my fears and passion for the industry and created “Women Auto Know.”
“Women Auto Know” takes the fear out of auto repair. We are a FREE, membership-based online community of women and men who are looking for honest service. Members rank repair shops based on their cleanliness, respectful environment and other “women friendly” attributes (that includes having a clean restroom, a place to sit and no offensive pictures on the walls). Our community relies on peer-to-peer support: people sharing reviews of the auto facilities they go to which enables people to help each other and help themselves.
Auto shops that take the "Women Auto Know Pledge” are making a promise to uphold very particular demands from the driving community they serve. The auto facilities that take the pledge want you to know that they take their business and your business seriously enough to take action. This is an imperative, not an option.
The pledged repair facilities proudly display the "Women Auto Know Pledge” poster on their wall and have an annual pledge sticker of approval visible to their customers too—so keep an eye out for it! If you don’t see it in your local shop, tell them about WomenAutoKnow.com. We heavily rely on our supporters and readers to hold auto shops responsible for their service.
I am proud to say that we have gained momentum with our outreach and even caught the attention of American Express! They have been so great in bringing even more awareness to my mission to repair the auto repair industry. They have chosen me to be a member of the American Express #PassionProject, an exciting initiative to inspire and help people pursue the projects that are meaningful to them. Watch my #PassionProject videos here: http://amex.co/PPS42
We have also aligned with auto manufacturers and distributors, giving our members exclusive Women Auto Know coupons and discounts, in addition to our monthly newsletter filled with auto tips, tricks, and information drivers “auto” know about.
WomenAutoKnow.com is the go-to place to find the auto facility that all drivers, men and women alike, are looking for. I invite you to join me in the FREE automotive community where women and men belong. Take an active role and share your experience by ranking, reviewing and recommending (or not recommending) the auto shop you frequent. Take pride in empowering and helping others to make smart automotive decisions. WomenAutoKnow.com is a resource, not a threat, and a necessary evolution to meet society’s current needs while creating a better future. Connect with me on Twitter @WomenAutoKnow and like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/whatwomenautoknow). I am happy to answer any questions you have. Please take the pledge today!
About American Express #PassionProject:
American Express’ #PassionProject is a program designed to enable, inspire and encourage people to pursue their passion projects. #PassionProject brings together leading experts, how-to-advice, personal profiles and a monthly contest to inspire consumers to pursue the projects that are important to their lives and kick-start their own passion projects. With #PassionProject, American Express is supporting a new generation of makers, creators and mold-breakers to further pursue their passions. To bring the program to life, the initiative shines light on Members (“Doers”) of the #PassionProject through profile and how-to “do-torial” videos of people who are making an impact in large and small ways, with the goal of educating and inspiring people to pursue their own passion projects. Learn more at: http://www.amexpassionproject.com/.
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