Women at The Wheel – 2017

Women in male dominated industries

On October 17, over 150 guests attended the ‘Driving Your Business: Women at the Wheel’ seminar at the Westchester Country Club, as three extraordinary women CEOs and executives spoke candidly about their journey to success, and provided insight into how they broke through the gender barrier in male-dominated industries. 

Maryann Croce 

I grew up in the trades. Three generations in the construction industry.  I admired and respected people in the trades. To me they were the people who made people whole again when something broke, got damaged or needed improving. They made life better. 

I became an automotive shop owner in 1999 when my husband and I opened Croce’s Transmission Specialists. I understood much of the business side of a small business, having years of corporate banking and management experience.

Learning more about the needs of the auto industry was a priority.  Attending industry conferences was eye-opening, highlighting the same issues in the construction industry. 

  • Skills Gap
  • Technician to Owner Mindset
  • Outdated Perception of the Trades

Breaking through the gender barrier is easier today than it was in 1999 when I was one of three women in a room of two hundred. 

Advice/Lessons Learned

  • Keep current in your industry.
  • Listen to understand the challenges
  • Be part of the solution not part of the problem

Your gender doesn’t matter.  It’s the story we tell ourselves. 

  • Be the best version of yourself (always professional)
  • Don’t minimize your accomplishments or efforts
  • Acknowledge others 
  • Mutual respect goes a long way

Not everyone will support you. Reality check, life isn’t fair. Gender as an issue says more about them than it does you. At the end of the day, you know how you are showing up. I’ve earned respect in the automotive industry because of results. We have a healthy business. (One that is enjoyable, sustainable and profitable.) We give back to the community and freely share what’s working with others to better the industry.