Working in a male-dominated industry from a woman on the inside

Unfortunately, there are still many industries dominated by men, with women having to fight that little bit harder for recognition and to prove they are worthy of having a spot at the table. For Kellie Hill, her journey from Administration Assistant to ANZ Training Consultant for Goodyear didn’t come without its challenges. We sat down with Kellie to chat about the lessons she’s learned from 22 years in the auto industry and what advice she has for other women to succeed. We were able to squeeze in a quick chat with Kellie to hear about her experience working in a male-dominated industry, her approach to her career and how she’s helping up-and-coming women.

Can you share a little about your journey with Goodyear?

I started in 2000 as an Admin Assistant in a large Commercial store doing invoicing, accounts etc. I knew nothing about tyres, but they seem to get under your skin, and I became interested in more than just admin tasks. I was a little intimidated as there were not many females around back then, but I persevered, I then became the Assistant Manager of the store and after a few years, the manager’s role became available (I was originally overlooked as there had not been a female in the role) until I said “Hey, what about me? I can do this give me a chance!”

I was very lucky that my Regional Manager took that chance on me (even though I did hear rumours that the guys were taking bets on how long I would last). Determination and a desire to prove that a woman could do the job just as well pushed me to succeed in running a very profitable Commercial store for many years. Today I look around and it makes me so happy to see many of our stores with female managers and that is a credit to Goodyear.

Over the next 10 years I was very lucky to be able to explore different roles within the business from training, store support, and franchise and now within the HR team as the ANZ Training Consultant.

22 years - What a ride it has been!

How did you cope with being in a male-dominated industry?

You definitely needed broad shoulders, but I also didn’t let the noise and the naysayers get to me. I remember it was always a challenge when a customer would ask to speak to one of the boys, like what would I know about tyres, but they soon figured it out.  

What did you do to know and appreciate your worth in your role?

It took some time to appreciate my worth, being in a male-dominated industry. There are always challenging situations in all roles, and it was just a matter of facing them and knowing I was capable of the challenge. This is something I still working on daily.

What did you do to ensure other people's opinions of you didn’t define who you are as a person?

I knew I was capable, but it was allowing time for others to see that and not allowing other people’s opinions to overshadow my belief in myself. 

Do you think you received pushback from the men on your team?

I don’t believe that I received pushback, it was just because it is a male-dominated industry, and it was new to have a female in the role. 

Did you take on an “I’ll show you” or an “I’ll educate you” approach when trying to break down discrimination?

I don’t believe I was ever discriminated against, but I know in the beginning I did adopt an “I’ll show you” approach. It definitely was an education process, for all of us.

What did your workplace offer you to feel supported?

My manager was always a phone call away, I never felt like I could not reach out, I also utilised my peers whom I learnt a lot from. 

 How do you support other up-and-coming women in this industry now you’ve paved the way?

I think by talking about my career and what I have achieved over the last 22 years, letting them know to be confident in their own ability and to step outside of their comfort zone even if it scares them and trust that the right people will take notice. One of the reasons I wanted to be a part of the Goodyear Women’s Network was to promote and encourage women in our business to be the best they can be.

What advice would you give to young women looking to pursue a career in male-dominated industries?

You can do any job you want no matter what industry it is. Work hard and speak up don’t sit back and wait for it to come to you, make yourself heard and show you are capable.

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