SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Whitney Moore, co-owner of G.L. Moore Tire Pros & Automotive in Springfield, has worked in the tire business for 18 years with her father as her mentor.
Now she wants to assist other women who could use a mentor to help them succeed in their tire and automotive careers.
As a member of the Tire Pros National Dealer Council (where she represents the Midwest region) and the Council for Tire Pros, she recently developed a group called Women of Tire Pros to support owners and employees of Tire Pros franchises.
The group started up during the chaos of the pandemic, so meetings and communications have been virtual, but the Women of Tire Pros is planning an event during the franchisor's national conference in October.
"I really love the support not only from Tire Pros staff but the ATD (American Tire Distributors) staff in helping me develop and support this program," she said.
"I think there are so many different avenues that we are all excited about of where to take this. We've talked about recruiting and how do we get more women in. One of the things is we want to be a dealer support, helping dealers with remodeling or training or how to handle women (customers). ...
"And the big one I also really love is mentorship. When I first started, there weren't very many women and I kind of had to navigate myself," she said. "So we're trying to partner with some of the newer women coming into the industry with some of the ladies that have been around for a long time to kind of navigate and help.
"It's a wider range. We're not only trying to bring in technicians, service writers, sales staff, office staff, I even really want to bring in spouses, even if they are not active owners, even if they don't have a lot to do with the shop. I want them to be a part of this group for a support system as well."
Right now the group has 30 members (employees, franchisee owners and a few Tire Pros staff), but Ms. Moore said she hopes to add members after the national conference.
"I've had so many phone calls and text messages with women wanting to get involved," Ms. Moore said.
One of the goals of the new group is to also encourage more women to join the male-dominated industry.
"That's actually one of the things we're working on in Women of Tire Pros is how to recruit more women. We're hoping to work with some groups that have some recruitment tools already in place and maybe do some features with women. ...
"I think what a lot of women don't understand is it is very lucrative and it can be a very promising career to be in the automotive and tire industry. We want to put that message out there to women, that you can make really good money, you can actually develop a career. …
"We really want to showcase that there are opportunities. One of the things that is especially true for Tire Pros is so many of the Tire Pros locations are family-owned, so we really understand family."