Girls Auto Clinic is bringing top-notch innovation, breaking the mold in a male-dominated space, and empowering women. Founded by engineer turned mechanic, former auto airhead, Patrice Banks, who traded a six-figure salary for passion, the idea looks towards empowering and offering women a more comfortable experience.
“I saw a major business opportunity in the auto industry’s gender gap.”
“I wanted to create a space that caters to women, lets them ask questions, to learn, and to feel good about the choices they make,” she says.
Founded in 2016, the Pennsylvania-based repair center staffed by women has been focused on educating and empowering women through their cars! The award-winning entrepreneur, passionate about inclusion, equality, and empowerment in 2017, published Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide. In her quest to close the gender gap, she has notably delivered engaging talks, interactive workshops, and TED Talks.
Touching on business leadership, innovation, technology, and STEM education, Patrice for more than 10 years spread power messages through her #sheCANic movement urging and motivating audiences to action, beckoning them to break down barriers, find their purpose, and achieve greatness.
“I grew up in an unstable home—drugs, alcohol, violence,” says Patrice Banks, owner and chief mechanic of Girls Auto Clinic. “My mentors were the people I saw on TV like Oprah.”
Born the daughter of a single mother, the first in her family to graduate from high school and college, she worked three jobs in high school and bought her first car at age 16, viewing it as an escape from an abusive household; her grandfather taught her how to drive.
An honors student at Phoenixville High School, she excelled in math and science classes and considered engineering as a career at the suggestion of her mother. She was further got inspired by an African-American industrial engineer. Banks attended Lehigh University with a $32,000 scholarship. She initially majored in chemical engineering before switching to material science and graduated in 2002. She began a job at DuPont headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, and worked there for 12 years before doing her own thing.
“Women in any field need to believe in themselves and have confidence. Know that men don’t know more than you. They’re not more deserving or smarter. They don’t work harder. You deserve this, and your contribution needs to be made. It’s not easy. I never felt smart as an engineer. I was surrounded by white men, was the youngest person in my group, and one of the only minorities. But as I grew my own business, I realized that I am smart, I am good enough and my voice deserves to be heard.”