GREENSBORO, N.C. - Making a huge career change takes a lot of perseverance for anyone, but maybe especially so as a single mom in field dominated by men.
"I had never seen a woman anywhere related to the auto field. It just kind of occurred to me that I would have to be my own role model," said Mbie Carroll.
Carroll worked for years in beer sales in California. One day, she took her car to the repair shop to see what was wrong with it. "What he told me, just didn't feel right. I didn't know if it was right or not, but I didn't trust it. That stayed with me and I thought then, 'I'd like to be a car mechanic.'"
Carroll moved to North Carolina with her daughter and enrolled in GTCC's automotive program. As part of the program, she had to be working in a garage, but finding someone to take a chance on her proved to be really tough. "I went to every car garage in the area, visit after visit. All 'No’s.' No one hired me. I wasn't going to be able to stay in the program without finding a garage to let me work there. Finally, the director of the program made a call to our last option, Casey's Tire & Auto."
"She wasn't scared to do anything, she made that known to me. She said she'd try anything and that she really wanted to do this. She just had a tremendous positive attitude and that's all we're looking for in this business," said Casey's owner Alan Jones. "She exudes this honesty and respect for our customers and they feel that. It has just worked out terrific."
Carroll now has had plenty of experience fixing cars and is now the longtime service manager at Casey's. The nation's largest auto parts supplier liked her story so much, she was featured as part of its advertising campaign.
Carroll doesn't seem to enjoy getting lots of attention, but is glad to share her story if it helps inspire other women. "Follow along the path, especially if you think that's the path you're supposed to be on. Don't let anything or anyone or even yourself push you off of that. I think a lot of times we feel like we're going to lose something if we try something and it doesn't work. But we never lose, we gain, because we gain a sense of ourselves."
If you know of a woman in the Triad whose story inspires you, please let us know. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.