Nestled in the Valley of the sun in Phoenix, Arizona, is a little automotive shop run by two women, Bogi Lateiner and Shawnda Williams called, Girl Gang Garage.
Its mission is to empower, educate, and encourage women to explore skilled trade opportunities within the automotive industry. There is a national deficit of available workers to fill critical automotive jobs spanning from manufacturing to repair and maintenance. This need signaled an opportunity to help widen the cracks in the walls that have limited women’s entry into this industry and do so in a fun and engaging way.
People commonly recognize Bogi Lateiner, for the role she plays as a host on All Girls Garage.
Shawnda Williams join’s Bogi in this crusade to disrupt the automotive industry through positive change. An automotive novice, Shawnda is an IT expert, leveraging more than 15-years of experience in the creative, marketing and technology sector.
She boasts an expansive career of designing award-winning graphics, creating nationally recognized marketing initiatives, and enhancing user experiences in conjunction with global brands such as Apple Computer, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Cisco, Zappos, and Red Bull.
In This Episode
- 00:00 – Crina introduces Bogi Lateiner and Shawnda Williams, hosts of All Girls Garage, a popular how-to automotive show on MotorTrend Network They have more than 15-years of experience in the creative, marketing, and technology sector.
- 04:12 – Bogi and Shawnda share their interests from when they were young and how they entered the automotive industry.
- 08:39 – Bogi talks about why she enrolled herself in a technical school after graduating from a pre-law degree.
- 11:59 – Shawnda and Bogi describe how the automotive industry’s diversity is really slow in breaking gender roles and stereotypes.
- 16:51 – What it looks like to be involved in the Girl Gang Garage workshop.
- 21:10 – Bogi elaborates on the technical side of working in a car shop.
- 25:39 – Shawnda talks about the different reasons why women want to join their workshops and learn.
- 31:16 – Bogi shares Girl Gang Garage’s biggest mission to empower, encourage, and educate women to explore skilled trades.
- 35:11 – Check out Girl Gang Garage’s social media accounts and visit their website, girlganggarage.com, to see their amazing builds and learn how to get involved.
- 39:15 – Bogi shares an inspiring thought for young people who are choosing career paths.
Bogi Lateiner is the host of MotorTrend Network’s All Girls Garage. She’s also the co-owner along with Shawnda Williams, of the Girl Gang Garage. I had a great conversation with them about their work teaching women about car restorations and automotive maintenance skills. Many of us need but don’t have the opportunity to learn in a comfortable environment. What do I mean by that? Well, if you’re a woman and you’ve ever taken your car into a shop to be repaired, you’ll most likely understand. Bogi and Shawnda are having fun sharing their skills and understand the importance of trade schools but are quick to say to each her own. And it’s always fun to find interesting and creative people who use OWC equipment.
This is Cirina Catania with OWC Radio. I am really excited today. This is kind of bringing back a lot of memories from my car aficionado days and my days working for six months on a set where we were building custom motorcycles. Bogi and Shawnda, you are partners in Girl Gang Garage. Tell us what that is and what it does for people.
BL: Yeah, absolutely. So this is Bogi. Girl Gang Garage is an unusual sort of shop where we are focused solely on introducing women in the trades to one another and introducing women to the trades creating opportunities for women to explore in kind of a safe environment welding metal fabrication, bodywork mechanical work, anything involved in the automotive industry. And so here we offer workshops and classes, and then we also do these really unique all-female builds where we get together women who are experts from all over the country as well as invite women hobbyists or women with zero experience to come and participate in being a part of taking a vehicle from bare metal to a show vehicle. And my role here at Girl Gang is I have a mechanical background. So I’ve been a mechanic for about 20 years and was a shop owner for about 13 years. And so I’m kind of the head instructor, and I lead all-female build.
SW: Hi. So I’m Shawnda. I joined Bogi, I guess two years ago, with the operation, and I come from completely outside of automotive. When I got into it, I didn’t have a robust background. I could identify tools, I could do simple things but nothing complex. I have a career in tech, so I spent my career working across digital agencies, corporate startups, you name it, doing web design and user experience. So I came into this situation a little bit blind via one of her all-female builds. I loved what I was doing, and I saw so much crossover between my background and being able to use mechanical functions in different ways. So I 100% bought in.
Well, it sounds like you guys have a really great partnership going there, and you’re doing some amazing work. I’m the kind of person that loves cars, but I would say, “Hey, hand me the thingamajiggy.” So I don’t pretend to be a mechanic, but Bogi, you’re ASE Certified, right?
BL: I am an ASE Master Certified, and I was BMW Certified while I worked for them. You can’t stay master certified once you leave the dealership circle, but I was master certified with them as well.
That’s awesome. So I want to know from both of you take me way back to when you were little girls. What did you like to do? And for you, Bogi, how did you end up in the automotive industry? And for you, Shawnda, how did you end up in digital and tech?
BL: Oh, my goodness. I’m gonna let her start.Many women don't have the opportunity to learn in a comfortable environment. It’s amazing what a simple non-biased, non-prejudiced community can do. Click To Tweet
Think about that a minute.
SW: Our story’s a little bit switched at birth. So my dad was an aerospace engineer. So he was the guy that was hobbying in the garage on the weekends. Like really hands-on, ‘I fix anything that breaks in my house.’ So for me, there were never any barriers of entry into wanting to try whatever I wanted to try as a little girl. So as I grew up, cars became the one thing that I can actually opt-out of with my dad in terms of needing to have the knowledge to work on because you see all these like oil change places, and this and the other. So despite him being like, you need to learn how to change the oil in a car. I’m like seeing all these like Jiffy Lube shops, and this that and the other where I was like, “I’ll just pay someone to do it.” So it wasn’t a serious concern. But I grew up playing with Legos, refining those fine motor skills, and that led me into a creative path. So I went to school, I studied graphic design, which entrenched me into computers, but it was rooted within a fine arts program. So you’re learning sculpture, you’re learning to work with metal, you’re learning to work with wood, you’re learning all these things that fast forward to the future when I started working with Bogi on the first all-female restoration project, we are like hand in hand with a lot of the work that we were doing. So I was picking up tools that I was familiar with, but from a creative standpoint, and using them and execution toward restoring this car and I absolutely fell in love with it.
Wow, that’s awesome. Legos have a very special place in my heart. I remember when I was a little girl, I was living in France, and over there, they had what they called Meccano sets. And he got a big huge Meccano set for Christmas one year, and he didn’t want to use it. So I absconded with it, and I was building all kinds of motorized things with it. It was really fun. I think a lot of us really want to do that. You’re so lucky, Shawnda, that you were in a family that encouraged you to play with that. That’s really wonderful. How about you, Bogi?
BL: So I came from a kind of a different background, and not that my family restricted anything, or said that I couldn’t do anything. They were super supportive. But nobody in my family was into automotive. My dad wasn’t into cars, and there wasn’t anybody to model that for me. And so while I was always a curious kid, I loved puzzles, I loved Lego as well and loved building things, and all of that, but I didn’t know that cars were ever going to be a part of my future until I got my first car when I was 16. And I was in love with Volkswagen bugs. I wanted one ever since I saw one. And I decided that I wanted my own. So I started reading these Volkswagen magazines. And the only time women showed up in Volkswagen magazines in the early 90s was when they were wearing high heels and bikinis. I took that as a challenge. I actually started getting into cars, not necessarily because I was curious about cars, but because I was being told that I couldn’t, and I shouldn’t. So I enrolled in a high school auto shop, and everybody told me that I didn’t belong there, I shouldn’t do it. And so the more people told me I couldn’t, the more I wanted to do it, and then I wind up falling in love with it despite myself. I didn’t know that automotive was an option for me. And it’s one of those situations where I think that really seals what I’m passionate about today is that you don’t know if you like something if you’ve never tried it. And if we never expose all of our kids to all of the different things that they can do as a career or with their life, then they may never find the thing that’s a perfect fit for them if we don’t expose them to it.
That’s right. I absolutely agree with you. So when was your first experience at an auto mechanic shop? And how did you actually start your education for this?
BL: So I wound up doing a high school auto shop for two years of high school, my junior and senior year, and then I went off to college because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. And did a four-year college typical college education path.
What were you studying?
BL: I was studying pre-law and women’s studies with a minor in politics.
There you go. That’s got a lot to do with cars.
BL: Right? Totally 100%. So when I told everybody I was gonna go to technical school instead of law school, it made total sense to everybody.
Sure, I’m sure.
BL: I graduated from college, and I realized I missed working with my hands. And so I enrolled in a technical school. I did an 18-month automotive program, and then did a BMW specific program for seven months after that and then went right into the BMW dealership network and worked for them for about seven years.
So what was it like at the trade school? Were you accepted there? What was the atmosphere like for you?
BL: I hope that things have changed quite a bit now. Since when I was there, this was a long time ago at this point 20 some odd years. I think there were 3000 guys enrolled in the school, and there were seven girls, and it was definitely challenging. There were those who were supportive. There were plenty who were very vocal about not being supportive. So it was definitely challenging. And then, my first job in the industry was also not such a great first experience.
Well, I admire your tenacity. Shawnda, you must have gone through some similar experiences, though, in the tech world.
SW: Yeah, we did. And it’s so interesting how the industries kind of parallel one another. I think the part that’s been interesting with tech is that people realized sooner that the absence of women in development roles was creating a lot of issues like you needed that diversity. And there are just certain things that are innate with girls, in terms of like that attention to detail and the characteristics that are more predominant traits that you see within the female students. And I think that translates to automotive and what Bogi has seen from a technician standpoint. But for me, I was pretty accustomed, and I still see it now where you’re like the only female on an entire development team of men.
That’s me all the time. My whole career.
SW: The difference now is that there are so many ancillary roles that are required within software development, that it has introduced more opportunities for women to be involved. So software development team has product managers which oftentimes are female. User experience is pretty diverse with women also, and development is starting to get there. So there’s just more opportunity for women to kind of intermix in whereas in a dealership, you’ve got technicians, and they’re mostly dudes.
BL: And the tendency in the dealership or in general repair shops, you have the technicians, and then you have service advisors, and you have service managers. And generally speaking, people would try to push me as a woman, even showing technical fortitude and interest would try to push me into the service advising position. Because the stereotype still lingers that women would do better in the office, that we do better talking with customers, rather than out in the shop. And that’s been really slow to change. I think the tech side has really adopted and embraced women in tech. There have been a lot more initiatives for women in tech than there have been for women in automotive, and automotive has been a little bit slower to kind of come around to seeing the benefits of the diversity of having a really diverse, robust team.
Well, I think that you’re both doing a lot to help women advance on both sides. One thing I do like to think about, however, as difficult as it has been for all of us to get where we are given the constraints of being females in our various businesses, is that in order to get where we are, there have to have been some male mentors along the way, who said, “Yes, you can do this, I’ll give you the job.” And I like to think about that. There were a couple of times in my career when someone said, “Yes, I know, you can do this. I trust you, and I’ll give you the job.” And maybe if we focus a little bit on that, it’ll make us a little happier.
BL: Yeah, though, 100%. And that’s what I tell young women are getting into this industry on a regular basis, and there will be people who are not supportive of you doing this. However, there are people who are very supportive, and there are people who will be your allies and be your cheerleaders and have your back. And they’re going to be your mentors, they’re going to be the people that you look up to, and they’re your allies. That’s what makes this doable because you can’t survive in an industry where you don’t have any allies. And there are a ton of allies out there. And I think sometimes we get overwhelmed by the very vocal minority. The few who don’t want you there are going to be way louder than the majority who either are neutral about it, just don’t care whether you’re male or female as long as you do the job right or those who are super supportive and are really cheering you on. And if we focus on our allies and tune out those that are naysayers, it serves us well.
I totally agree. I’m so grateful for both of you doing what you do, though. This is wonderful. And I know that you’ve changed the lives of a lot of young girls out there. You do a lot of teaching. Talk about that for a minute.
SW: So our flagship product, we have an All-Female Restoration, and we’re on our third one of those. So in terms of the greatest breath of opportunity in terms of learning, and in terms of outreach, it kind of became that. So with that, we basically—bogie alluded to it earlier— we do a complete frame-off restoration on some classic vehicles. Our first one was a 57 Chevy pickup truck. So we invite women of all ages from across the country to come and participate. So on the first one, we had 100 women from throughout the United States, some women worked within the industry, I want to say over 30% actually came with no automotive experience. And that’s actually how I kind of crossed paths with Bogi and caught the car bug through that. In addition to that, we have workshops on different trades specific to like welding, paint, body, and we do some more craft-based stuff like you can learn decorative sandblasting. So we try to run the [gamut in terms of opportunity.
I saw pictures of the 57 Chevy. It looks great. Oh my gosh, I want to photograph it. It looks great. So you did the 57 Chevy, and then what were the other two after that?
BL: Then we did a 56 Chevy. And now we’re working on a Volvo PV544. It’s an oddball little car, but it’s a lot of fun.
Isn’t it amazing how you get attached to these vehicles that just seem to take on their own personality? It’s really kind of cool. So how many women are involved in these last two builds? Has it increased since your first one?
BL: Well, the second build, the 56 Chevy truck, we did on a much shorter time frame. So we actually only went up doing it over about five months. And I think there are about 70 women. So still a ton of women, but just a much shorter time. And then the Volvo we had kind of really just gotten it underway right before Corona happened. So we’ve been on pause. So we don’t know yet, but we’ll keep you posted.
Yeah, please do. So with that many people, are they in the shop? How are you teaching this? I want to envision this. How does this happen? And do they get hands-on and who fights over the wrench?
BL: Fantastic question. So they’re not here all at the same time.
Okay. I had a picture of this, like a scene at the shop where people were clamoring to get in.
BL: No, it’s a circus. It is kind of coordinating it all. But we have over the course of the ten months that we generally do these builds, we will have women who come in for a weekend, or they’ll come out for a week, or local women will come after work, and we do our best to schedule and coordinate so that we always have a nice balance of professionals as well as newbies, people who have been involved in the builds previously versus those who have not. And we try not to have more than like five or six people here at a time. And that really gives me the ability to work with each woman individually to kind of quickly assess her skill level, what she can and cannot, where her interest level is, and be able to really give everybody a hands-on opportunity and hands-on learning. So it’s very one on one. And then the women are also all teaching each other. And sometimes the reality is when you’re working on cars–I’m sure you’ve experienced this–on the motorcycle side is that there isn’t always a clear cut answer. So I don’t always know the answer. So very often, we’re problem solving together and relying on people’s different skill sets. Sometimes even the newbies who think that they don’t have anything to offer, they’re bringing their background from some other career, some other life experience they’re bringing that to the table, and we’re coming up with new solutions for things.
Oh, I love that. So let’s go back to the 57 Chevy for a minute. Explain to people what state it was in and what you had to do to restore it.
BL: Oh, my goodness. That truck really should never have been restored. It should have gone directly to the junkyard and been done with.
Oh, poor baby. Come on.
BL: It was horrible. I bought it off of Craigslist. It was far more rested than we realized once we got it stripped down and sandblasted. It was in a horrible, horrible condition: the floor, the quarter panels, the steps, the roof was all dented in. Like there was just a ton of work that was needed on this thing. And we took it from bare metal, and we did all of the metalwork, all of the fabrication, all of the customizing, all of the bodywork, the paintwork, the wiring, the mechanical, the upholstery, like everything was done in house is pretty phenomenal to see it all come together, honestly.If you feel like you haven’t found your passion in life yet keep looking. You’ll never know unless you try. Just keep experimenting. Click To Tweet
Wow, it needs to go on tour. It looks like a character out of an animated film. I mean, it really does. There need to be songs written about this truck. Plastic surgery for automotives. So there’s an awful lot that goes into this. The people who have never seen a shop and how it works have no idea. They’re thinking about somebody under the car on the platforms that roll, and you’ve got a wrench in your hand. And that’s all they see. They don’t know how technical and how much literal high-end technology goes into some of these machines, particularly when you’re manufacturing. So can you picture yourself back in your shop after Corona? What machines am I going to see? What do I see in there, and what do each of those machines do?
SW: So that’s the fascinating part about kind of where we’re at in terms of restorations because it basically takes you back a step. And it takes away a little bit of the gloss and gleam that you would expect with high-end CAD machines and digital 3D printing and whatnot, and you’re using a lot of manual processes and a lot of manual tools like an English wheel.
BL: Yeah, we’re working on older vehicles. And because the reality is we don’t have the big budget to have the big fancy CAD equipment. We’re doing things really the old fashioned way here at the shop. For my experience being a mechanic and working on higher-end vehicles, that’s a whole nother world. It’s almost like two different skills entirely working on old cars versus working on new cars. So here at Girl Gang Garage, we’re really focusing on the basics, because you can’t learn to improvise until you learn to master the basics, right? And so we’re really teaching people the basics and that entry-level of things. Whereas I can say from a mechanic standpoint, my goodness, technology comes into play in everything that we do. Our modern cars today have more control modules than the first space shuttle. So, automotive technicians today are literally rocket scientists.
But I think that you’re right, I think you’re right in teaching those basic skills because you’ve got to crawl before you walk before you run. And there’s so much pressure on young people to just jump in, and all of a sudden be an “overnight success” and know how to do everything. I think the way you’re doing it sounds really pretty wonderful because you’re not throwing them into an area that they may not be ready for. And I do think that if I wanted to do this, it would be great to start from ground one and have the joy of building something. Especially with the Chevy 57, it was probably almost like scratch. Well, worse, you have to tear it down and then build it back up. I saw a picture on your website of the back bumper, and I went, “That thing’s pretty rusty.” That truck needs a wheelchair.
BL: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing. We’re not claiming to be a place that is turning out people who are ready to enter the workforce as collision experts or as master mechanics. Really our function is to create a space for women to explore. Because when does your average Jane Doe get the opportunity to try cutting metal with a plasma cutter and see if she likes it or try building a wiring harness or try doing bodywork. Like these are things that most folks, in general, these days, but definitely women aren’t given the opportunity to explore. And then I think the other really important function that we’re hoping to serve is a place where women who work in the trades can connect with one another and feel really validated. Because I think in our daily life, we often aren’t only, and we don’t often have that chance to meet somebody else who is like us, let alone work with another woman.
And women do work well together. I do think we support each other very well. So when a young woman comes up to you and says, “I think I want to learn how to work on cars,” what’s your process in empowering them? What do they need to know? Is there a like a mindset, or do they have to be good in math? Or do they have to have a creative outlook, or can it be anything? What would somebody like you or somebody who owns a garage that wants to give somebody a chance? What do they need to know? I mean, you said you work with people from all levels, right? But you know how we all have something that when we’re five years old, we’d love to do like, we all love Legos. So what does that tell people? So if you would ask these girls that come to the shop what they did when they were little kids, what do you think most of them would answer?
SW: So there’s a multi-prong to your question. So the first step is one, attracting anyone to dare to want to get dirty to want to do this. And that in itself is a pretty sizable barrier of entry. Because I think women across the board are coming from a couple of different paths, there is either the path of I was not allowed to try this, I was pushed to the side. There’s the path of, I don’t know that I’m smart enough to do this. There’s the path of just general disinterest, and then there then there’s the path of people who are like, yeah, I am a hands-on person, I am hands-on with everything else in my life. This is just one more thing I want to be hands-on with. We get the entire cross-section coming for the shop. Sometimes the lady who never thought she would be interested in ever picking up a wrench is just coming alongside to support her friend, who was a little bit more gung ho. That’s the beauty of like, female friendships is that our friends are willing to support us doing insane endeavors that we otherwise would not have gotten anyone else to do and be supportive in a way that maybe your husband or your brother, your dad wasn’t supportive. So we get this diverse cross-section of women in, and they start noticing that things that they’ve done in their previous life have made them more adept at doing what they’re doing right now. We had a woman, in particular, she was the picture-perfect housewife, she was an avid cake decorator. And she picked up a TIG welding torch, which is really hard because there’s a lot of fine motor skills because you have to use both hands and your foot. So it’s basically like driving a motorcycle. So it’s a lot of fine motor skills, and she picked it up and instantly was playing a perfect weld out the gates, which is super uncommon. And it was because she had that fine motor skill dialed in from decorating cakes.
I love it.
BL: Yeah, there’s a ton of really interesting crossover that happens. And answering the other part of your question, what are shops looking for in potential employees? What are the skills that we need? The biggest thing that I looked for when I was hiring for my repair shop was curiosity and a desire to learn because cars are changing so quickly. Technology is changing so quickly. And you need to have that curiosity of how does this work? How can I take it apart? How can I put it back together? What makes it go? And also humility because technology is ever-changing and ever-evolving. You don’t know everything, you will never know everything. Nobody in this field knows everything. And if you don’t have a level of humility going in, that ego can get in your way of success. And so I tell young people, in general, going into the field is stay curious, stay hungry, and stay humble. And for women, particularly, it is known that you are going to encounter those who don’t support you and use them as fuel for your fire, focus on your allies, and the people who are supportive. And let that fuel you and keep you moving forward. And if it’s what you love, if it’s what you want, go after it no matter what. But there’s a ton of skills that go into all of this work. It’s not just the old stereotype of getting greasy and lifting heavy things. It’s computers and its technology and its analysis and its physics, and it’s math, and it’s all of the things.
SW: So the final part of your question was what do we think they were doing as little girls, and I mean, to be honest, it could be anything. I brought my little sister in here who is the antithesis of me. She’s the girl that grew up with dolls, pretending she could read to her dolls, as just the world of make-believe. And I brought her into a shop, and she is not remotely the kind of person that would pick up any type of tool or get herself dirty, and she gravitated toward sandblasting. The ability to just completely take a gross piece of metal and make it clean, she was enamored with it. And that one experience made her open-minded to try a whole litany of other things because she had found the thing that she could do. And I think that’s the big piece with a lot of the people coming through the door is getting that kind of validation that you can do this. And whatever piece of the puzzle it is that makes that light go off for you, and it opens your mind to the possibilities of all the things that you can do. So we’ll find one person may come through the door, and they hit it off, and they’re like, “I really like metalwork.” And then we get to bodywork, and they’re like, “Oh my god, I’m even better at this.” And then that excitement grows and next thing you know they’re three builds deep with us.
BL: I think the biggest thing that we do here is we empower women. And the vehicle that we use, no pun intended, just happens to be cars. But in reality, what we’re doing is teaching them that something that they thought was big and scary isn’t so big and scary, and if that’s true, then what else in their life isn’t as big and scary as they thought it might be? And what else can they tackle and surprise themselves with being capable of doing that too?
Exactly. This is very exciting. Now, are you still doing Women’s Car Care Clinics?
BL: Absolutely. Well, not during COVID.
Well, of course, yeah. Isn’t it sad? But I was looking at the list of what you teach, and I think that’s pretty valuable. How to change a tire, how to check your fluids, braking, how the suspension works. I mean, there are so many women who go into a shop with their car that needs to be repaired, and feel disempowered at the way they are treated. It’s assumed that you don’t know what you’re talking about many times. And I think what you’re doing is so valuable, not just teaching the people that come into the garage for your renovations, but also these Car Care Clinics that you’re teaching. Talk a little bit about that.
BL: The Car Care classes are a ton of fun, and we do some other basics classes as well. So we have the basics of Car Care class, we do basic metalwork, basic paintwork. So courses that are really meant to be your very introductory place. But the basic Car Care classes, I think, attract the most diverse group. And I honestly think that every single human being who has a driver’s license should know how to do the basics. But a lot of what I teach in that class is how to ask questions of a repair shop, how to find a good repair shop, how to walk into a shop and not feel vulnerable. And it’s an incredibly empowering thing for folks to know. My favorite story that I ever tell about my car care classes, one of the first students I had. She’s a woman in her mid-50s, various successful, high powered lawyers. And right after taking my class about a month later, she called me up, and she was “Bogi. I’m so excited. I got a flat tire,” and I was like, “That’s great that you’re excited about that.” I said, “What did you do?” and she said, “Oh, I was wearing high heels in a business suit, I called AAA but”–and this is the important thing, what she said next was–” but I watched him. And he did it right.”
Oh, that’s awesome.
BL: And that was such an empowering statement. And it’s such an important thing for me to hear is it’s not about necessarily saying that every woman who takes my class is going to go be the one to jumpstart batteries and change her own tire and help her friends with that stuff. Like you’re not necessarily going to go off and become a mechanic or decide to even like this stuff at all. You may never ever do it again in your life but knowing that you could if you needed to, knowing that when somebody else is doing it for you that you are still feeling in a position of control and not feeling vulnerable, that’s invaluable.
Isn’t it amazing to think about the fact that we drive those vehicles almost every day of our lives or every day, several times a day if you commute to work when it’s not COVID, and we don’t know how they work? We wouldn’t know what we’re looking at when we open up the hood. I just love what you guys are doing, and I want to thank you for that. I really do. I think this is awesome. Where do people go to learn a little bit more about maybe booking a Car Care Clinic? You have to come to San Diego. You’re in Phoenix, right?
BL: We can talk after this.
Let us talk. We got to bring you to San Diego. Oh my gosh. So, where do people go to find out more and to book a Car Care Clinic or to visit one of your remodels?
SW: So they can visit us online at our website, which is www.girlganggarage.com. We’re also on social media, on Facebook @girlganggarage, and also super active on Instagram also with the same handle @girlganggarage.
BL: And then you can also find me directly for teaching and speaking and workshops outside of the garage @BogisGarage. And that’s also, the website Instagram and Facebook is @BogisGarage.
BL: Yeah, exactly.
That’s awesome. So what do you do for a boy who says, “I want to do this too”?
SW: If it’s a boy, sometimes we have them come in with their moms because I feel like there is a lot of power in a young man seeing women do these roles. So we were open to that. Now in terms of men wanting to come in and take classes, we have some advanced level coursing that is introduced and offered to a co-ed audience. We try to make sure that those are advanced because we don’t want any type of intimidation to impede the women in their learning environment. So we do have some barriers to entry in place. The point is not to exclude men, but to promote women’s learning in the best possible environment. And sometimes that just needs to be with your other ladies.
BL: Yeah, I’ve been teaching women’s car care classes for about 20 years now, and I initially tried to teach them to both men and women collectively. And I will say that men are very cool and women are very cool, and there is definitely something to be said for everybody learning how to work together. But in a learning environment, particularly is something that women are intimidated by when you put men and women in a room together, they get silly. And the men would naturally gravitate towards the front of the class, the women would naturally gravitate towards the back, and they may hold themselves back from asking questions. And that was something that we wanted to eliminate was to say this is already an uncomfortable field for women to raise their hand and say I want to try this. And so we wanted to make it as comfortable and as non-threatening as possible for them.
I think that’s wonderful. Well, I really appreciate Other World Computing, OWC, for sponsoring this show so that we can bring wonderful people like you on. And Shawnda, I heard a rumor you use some OWC equipment.
SW: Yes, I love them so much. So I’m kind of getting old.
Oh, you are not.
SW: I historically been on Macs my entire career and bless OWC for selling Mac peripherals. Because let me tell you, there was a time where Macs weren’t just everywhere like they are today. And getting a hard drive or getting RAM was like Indiana Jones Crusade, right? And OWC always came through, and I have put RAM in pretty much every laptop except for the new ones because the unibodies are terrible, and you can’t access them via OWC.Let’s end the stereotype that women do better in the office and talking to customers, rather than out in the field getting their hands dirty. Click To Tweet
That’s good to hear. I just have one more question. We’ve talked about trade schools, and we’ve talked about colleges. Do you encourage people to go to trade schools? And I have to tell you a secret, and I have a terrible crush on Mike Rowe. How do you guys feel about college versus college in addition to trade school? What can you tell these young kids who are trying to make a decision about what they want to do when they graduate from high school, for example?
BL: So, I am 100% for following the path that makes the most sense for you. And there is a lot to be said for a traditional four-year college, and there is also a lot to be said for technical schools. And I don’t think one is inherently better or worse than the other one. It neither is good if it’s not a good fit for you. And so knowing what it is you are wanting to do with your career, with your future, with your life is going to determine which path you go. But I’m not an advocate of going to a four-year college just because that’s what you’re “supposed to do.”
I agree. Well, this has been really fun. So I’ve been speaking with Bogi Lateiner and Shawnda Williams, the co-owners of Girl Gang Garage. And I can tell you that if these two women have had any roadblocks in their life, they just ran right over them and kept ongoing. And that’s what I encourage all of you to do, male or female, any age, any walk of life, don’t let people tell you no. If there’s something you want to do, do it. And like I say, every show, get up off your chair and go do something wonderful today. And thank you so much for listening in. Bogi and Shawnda, so nice to meet you, and let’s talk again very soon.
- Bogi Lateine
- Bogi Lateiner – Facebook
- Bogi Lateiner – Instagram
- Shawnda Williams
- Girl Gang Garage
- Girl Gang Garage – Facebook
- Girl Gang Garage – Instagram
- 56 Chevy
- 57 Chevy
- All Girls Garage
- ASE Certified
- BMW Certified
- Indiana Jones
- Jiffy Lube
- TIG welding torch
- Volvo PV544
- Women’s Car Care Clinics
- Introduce new opportunities and skills into your life through workshops and classes. If you have a skill you’d like others to learn about, teach others and spread the knowledge.
- Promote inclusivity within the community. It’s important to cultivate a sense of belonging regardless of one’s gender, religion, race, and personal beliefs.
- Build a team to help you accomplish your mission. If you want to have an impact on other people’s lives, it’s more fun with help along the way.
- Empower women and let that goal reflect in everything you say and do. Lift each other up instead of bringing people down and succumbing to “cancel culture.”
- Create a safe space for women so they have a place where they’re fully accepted for who they are.
- Eradicate gender stereotypes. Women are as capable of doing things considered a man’s job and vice versa.
- Support girls’ dreams and let them know they can achieve anything they set their minds to.
- Do what you love and keep going for your dreams. Don’t let others dictate how your life should be.
- Keep enhancing your skills. Stay hungry because there’s so much to learn and new things to do. There’s no end to exploring new possibilities.
- Check out Girl Gang Garage to learn more about their cool story and how to join their classes.