Today I say goodbye to almost 20 years in the automotive industry. For the second and last time. My career in autobody began with answering phones and greeting customers, although that soon bored me and I wondered if I could learn to write estimates, and understand cars and how repairs were done. I was told back then to not even consider it, that the male-dominated industry would "eat me alive". All that was, was fuel. I learned as much as I could as quickly as I could, and became the first female auto damage appraiser in Calgary. And I was good. It was refreshing for women customers to deal with another woman, and the men were always surprised and for the most part, willing to take words of advice from me. What I didn't know about cars, I made up for in personality. "Fake it til you make it", I'd tell myself. I had tenacity and hunger and climbed my way into management, working ridiculous hours in dirty ,dusty and very stressful environments. At the height of my career as an appraiser, an opportunity arose to open a quilt shop in Airdrie and I jumped at the chance to turn my hobby into a business.
By the end of our 5 year lease, shopping online was becoming very popular and we just couldn’t compete any more. As we had a book in the works, and patterns already being published and sold, the decision was made to close the store and pursue designing and writing. And I went BACK into the automotive industry, needing to, as a single mom, to pay the bills.
3 years passed. I found and married the most amazing man I could ever wish for, who just happened to buy the longarm quilting machine for me, that we had in the shop when it was open. I have bee