Women Techs Rock: Volvo tech Clary Bellino proved the naysayers wrong
This technician spotlight is published as part of TechForce Foundation’s diversity initiatives. Help us find other women technicians to highlight in Women Techs Rock. Get started at TechForce.org/WomenTechStories
Women Techs Rock Highlight
Name: Samantha “Clary” Bellino
Location: Bellevue, WA
School: UTI Dallas, followed by Volvo manufacturer’s program
Who is Clary Bellino?
Clary Bellino knows what it takes to build success. After graduating from the Dallas campus of Universal Technical Institute (UTI) with a 4.0 GPA and a 97% attendance rate, Clary’s hard work and determination allowed her to choose any manufacturer’s program she wanted. Volvo was the lucky program to receive her efforts, and quickly she was off to Phoenix, AZ to train in Volvo’s technical service program.
After completing the Volvo training program, Clary crossed the country to take her first dealership service job at a small Volvo dealership in Pennsylvania. Not challenged by the oil change work she mainly carried out at the dealership, Clary set her sights higher. She began to participate in a corporate network of other women technicians within Volvo, expanding her professional network. This networking would pay off when another technician in the Volvo program mentioned the career opportunities at her own dealership.
“…Clary knew she was taking a huge leap but now feels that it was completely worth it
as she has found a career that fits her skills, motivations, and ambitions.”
All Clary needed was the right connection, and after a phone interview with the service manager at the new dealership, Clary was hired on the spot. She was such an outstanding candidate, she was able to negotiate relocation assistance and help her roommates find jobs at the dealership as porters. Once again, Clary drove all the way across the country, this time heading westward to Washington State.
Having zero experience with the area, Clary knew she was taking a huge leap but now feels that it was completely worth it as she has found a career that fits her skills, motivations, and ambitions. At her new Volvo dealership in Bellevue, WA, Clary is now a trusted member of the service team and continues to receive plenty of challenging work that makes her feel productive and well-placed.
Q & A:
What have you learned since working?
“Unless you have been at it for 10 years, you have to ask questions, but men make it sound like they know it all. You can’t be afraid to ask questions about what you don’t know.”
Are there different rules for men vs women?
“YES! We must show more certifications and more knowledge and to make it. It seems that the industry assumes a man knows how to do it all and his training and preparation don’t seem to matter as much.”
How do you move past the frustrating times?
“I remember the times when people said I couldn’t do it, and it energizes me to show them all that I can, I will, and I do!”
How did you get into this career?
“Did it out of pure spite. I had a few friends who were techs. In high school I wanted to be able to take care of my own car and keep myself moving so I would ask my tech friends who would tell me what to do. And I would do it! So I learned a few things. But everyone said I couldn’t do it. It was a mistake and my “I will prove you wrong” side took over. So, I did it out of spite.”
What would you tell other women considering this profession?
“You’re not there to make friends, you’re there to make a paycheck and it doesn’t matter what others think. If you keep your head down and stand up for yourself, you will surpass the men or others who don’t have the confidence and didn’t take advantage to learn more as they went. Women don’t stand up for themselves because they aren’t taught to. Some women must first unlearn what they think they know to become confident enough to stand up for themselves. I had to relearn that I am a human and not just a pretty face. In fact, I am a capable human!”
What mantra do you use when things get challenging?
“You’re here, you’ve done all of this so far so why stop now. My 16-year-old self would have thought I am dumb for trying this. I didn’t come from a great family background. I thought I would be dead by 18 or going nowhere as an adult. I had no family support at first. I was a girly girl from way back, but my dad saw something in me as I matured and helped me move each step of the way. Because he wanted to be part of the story! He even drove my toolbox across the country!”
What is your biggest career goal?
“After getting as high up as I can at a dealership, I would like to open my own dealership or service shop.”
What is your dream form of transportation?
Clary describes a wide range of dream cars, from Hyundai Velosters, to Dodge Challenger Demons, to a classic Hemi ‘Cuda
But like so many other technicians, Clary continues to take care of her 16 year-old, 190,000 mile car, affectionately named Eleanor Rigby. It has criss-crossed the country more than once and shows no signs of slowing down.