Accelerating through the glass ceiling

Greta Sullivan – Fordthorne Transit Centre Service Manager

Productivity in the workplace is improved when gender equality is supported within that business. Inclusive teams make better business decisions 87 per cent of the time and a study cited by The i Paper from The Pipeline also ‘found that there is a sharp difference in the net profit margins of companies that have diverse gender leaderships compared to those that don’t’.

Businesses can be harmed by not having enough women making important decisions.

At Fordthorne we are family owned and run, with inclusivity at the core of our business. The automotive industry is historically male dominated, and we want to showcase those who have broken the mould and succeeded. Greta Sullivan is our Service Manager at our Fordthorne Transit Centre operation, and we sat down to talk to Greta about her experiences in the industry and what challenges and obstacles she has had to overcome in her career so far.

Q: How long have you worked at Fordthorne?

On and off for 38 years.

Q: What daily duties does your role hold?

The safe and profitable running of the Transit service department.

Q: Why did you join Fordthorne?

I applied for a job as a mechanic. I was turned down for being a female. So I kept bothering him for a job. My wonderful old boss gave up and employed me in the office to shut me up.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at Fordthorne?

The people I work with. The fast pace of the work. Enjoy a challenge of which there are several.

Q: What would you say/advice to other women looking to break into a historically male dominated industry?

Start at the bottom, learn all the different roles on the way up. Work hard and be determined.

Q: For those women who may be put off by the industry, what advice would you give to those?

I was the first female to be employed in the service department, and went on to become the first female service manager for a Ford dealership.  I just made it work as I enjoyed coming to work, the work I did and the people that surrounded me. So if you want something badly enough you will make it work.  (If you are male or female who is put off by the industry, the job isn’t for you)

Q: Have you encountered pervasive stereotypes, and lack of mentoring because you are a female and if so how have you combatted these societal behaviours to succeed?

The only problem I have had, still have and will always have is customers, who do not like being told how it is by a female. Most of the time you are unable to combat it.

The only problem I have had, still have and will always have is customers, who do not like being told how it is by a female.

International Women’s Day does not mean there is only one day for women. The support and celebration should be 365 days a year.