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A Note About Color and Diversity – A Girls Guide to Cars

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Our group took a moment to celebrate our day at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta. 📸Scotty Reiss

We are diverse by design. This is why.

I hope you feel welcome and comfortable here, no matter who you are.

You see, when we started out to create a space for women to learn and share stories about cars, we recognized that there were not a lot of sites designed for how women shop for and drive cars.

So we knew that we had to find the conversation points that would appeal to women. We needed storytellers they would identify with and stories that would create an emotional connection between women and their cars, that would turn that bright, shiny hunk of metal into a warm spot in her heart.

We needed writers who are like the people we want to read our stories, who will talk in the same terms, who will understand what’s important to you.

Dawn, Karen and me on the road to Palm Springs in the 2019 Hyundai Veloster. 📸Scotty Reiss

The Only One in the Room

As we started the site, I began to attend automotive events—press conferences, test drives, auto shows. I often
found myself to be the only female journalist in the room. Typically it was me, maybe a black male journalist or two (though sometimes not), perhaps a Hispanic guy or an Asian guy… and about 40 white guys (lovely guys who have become friends, colleagues and supporters of our mission). Increasingly there are more women attending these events, but we still represent a minority of voices in automotive journalism.

Feeling super fly with Honda and Mr. Willie Nelson! 📸Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

Building a New Voice

It quickly became obvious that we needed to develop a band of voices to tell stories from the female point of view. I began looking for writers with their hands up. Women (and men) who wanted to learn about cars, share automotive stories, who like to travel, work hard and have fun doing it. Writers who wanted the opportunity to do something new and to break down barriers in the process.

And, who relate to women who buy cars.

Our writers and staff members at Girls Drive 2019.

Women Buy a Lot of Cars. Like, Most Cars That Are Sold

Women buy or influence the purchase of 85% of all cars and light trucks in this country. They outright buy 62% of all cars, and they influence another 23% of purchases. And, these women are a diverse group: They are Black, Hispanic, Asian, white; they are single, divorced, married, widowed; they are moms, or not; they are career focused, or empty nesters or both. No matter their life stage or demographic category, they have to get around and often, they consider who will go with them on their journey.

Women also want style, smart technology, solid safety, someplace to put things like a handbag and a phone. We want confidence when we hit the accelerator and in knowing that our investment won’t turn into a money pit. We want to know that there’s room to install a child car seat, that the tandem stroller will fit in the cargo area and we can reach the roof rails to carry a kayak.

It’s not that women aren’t interested in cars, it’s just that most automotive content does’t speak to women’s interests.

One of our editors, Lillie Morales.  📸 Jose Gomez

If You Can See Her, You Can Be Her

Just telling car stories isn’t enough. It’s representation. It’s me telling you a story so you can see yourself in that car or in that automotive job. It’s Dawn sharing why her aunt bought a Mustang. Or Lillie telling why she felt so good behind the wheel of a Subaru. It’s Tomika negotiating peace with her kids on a road trip. And Natalie reminding us why we love to drive.

It’s also Keitha building a career she loves with Porsche. Brehanna literally breaking down barriers and shattering stereotypes in NASCAR. It’s Celeste bringing women retailers together for mentoring and building success at General Motors. And her boss Mary , who against the odds rose to be the most powerful woman in the automotive industry.

Kim and Tomika take a break in the installation process. 📸 Scotty Reiss

Diversity Is Not an Accident

Diversity is the result of thoughtful, deliberate intention to include different voices, opinions and points of view. It’s not a one-time thing or a quota that needs to be met; diversity demands that you continually evolve, that you reflect reality, that you constantly refine your sensibilities and respect for others. Recognizing this, we will continue to work with writers and editors who want a seat at the table, a voice in the discussion and to represent and connect with you.

And, we will continue to tell diverse stories. Look for more stories about women who are achieving their dreams, having fun and changing the world, told by women who are achieving their dreams, having fun and changing the world.

I am immensely proud and grateful to be on this journey with a diverse group of women who are friends and partners in our mission. Branching out beyond your own cultural and racial heritage can be difficult and mistakes can be made. But the biggest mistake is if we don’t try. We may make missteps, and if we do we need to correct our course and keep going, learning and growing.

And when we do that, our space becomes a more comfortable place, one where we hope you feel comfortable, too.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom, Scotty likes to say the automotive business found her, she didn’t pursue it. But recognizing the opportunity to give voice to powerful female consumers and create a voice to match their spending power, her mission became to empower women as car buyers and owners. A career-long journalist, she has written for the New York Times, Town & Country, Adweek and co-authored the book Stew Leonard, My Story, a biography of the founder of the iconic grocery company Stew Leonard’s. Her love of cars started when her father insisted she learn to change the oil in her MG Midget, but now it mostly plays out in the many road trips taken with her family.

This content was originally published here.

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