Women Techs Rock: Josie Whitlock proves the value of good mentorship
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Women Techs Rock Highlight
Name: Josie Whitlock
Employer: Matt’s Automotive Service Center
Location: Fargo, North Dakota
School: North Dakota State College of Science
Who is Josie Whitlock?
In any career – or any endeavor, for that matter – a great support system is key to success. Fortunately, Josie Whitlock has had the support of friends, family, and instructors throughout her education and career as an Automotive Technician.
Josie’s first taste of an automotive career was in high school, when she worked in a tire shop. While she loved her time there, she envisioned a career in the military, which unfortunately wasn’t in the cards. Recalling the auto shop classes she enjoyed in high school, she enrolled at North Dakota State College of Science, where she found a community of like-minded and supportive instructors, administrators, and peers, devoid of the sexism that so many up-and- coming women techs experience.
Graduating with an Associate of Arts and Sciences in Automotive Technology, Josie started her career in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, before moving to Fargo, North Dakota, and Matt’s Automotive Service Center. And what a great move it was.
At Matt’s, she’s found an owner and mentor who is not only a master mechanic who leads in-house training, but who also makes respect a top priority. He even goes so far as to do personality testing before hiring, to ensure that the shop remains a drama-free and support-heavy environment. And when there’s a customer who refuses to have their car serviced by a woman? Matt sends them down the road. It’s support like this that makes Josie believe that those old stereotypes are changing. She’s worked with women service writers, lube techs, and full-service techs, and works among a group that fully accepts her and her role in the industry. In fact, applications to “Women Techs Rock!” were submitted by most, if not all, of her male co-workers.
That’s the kind of support to build a career on.
Q & A:
Where do you want to take your career?
“I want to learn more about electronics to be able to do advanced diagnostics and recalibration of safety systems.”
What is your near- and long-term vision for yourself?
“I want to stay with Matt’s. They’re family-oriented with great growth potential and plenty of ongoing training to stay current.”
Was you family behind your career choice?
“Mom wasn’t sure if this was a good choice and thought a four-year program would be best. She’s a lawyer. But after I got started and she said that I was thriving and doing well, she changed her mind.”
What advice would you give a young woman?
“Find your confidence! Know when to speak up and how to deal with adversity. It’s not something they teach in school and it’s a lesson worth learning young. Also, don’t stir the pot unnecessarily. If you have an issue, try to resolve it on your own first.”
Do you have a personal mantra?
“Be the reason someone smiles today.”