WinA Member of the Month
This month we are delighted to feature Andrea Mendoza from Surfside Motorcycle Garage – a Royal Enfield Dealership based in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Starting her career in Auckland 25 years ago, Andrea has been championing women in the automotive industry for many years.
Andrea’s unique voice and passion for the industry has led her to achieve many milestones, such as leading an education-driven automotive business in New Zealand and helping other women who have a passion for motorcycles.
Know of someone you would like to see featured as our next Women in Automotive Member of the Month, or interested in sharing your own automotive story? Get in touch below and let us know.
Tell us a bit about your current role or involvement in the automotive industry.
I currently run the sales department for Surfside Motorcycle Garage. We are a Royal Enfield Dealership based in the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I look after our marketing, social media, sales processes, ordering motorcycles, stock management and customer care. I also assist the workshop with their day-to-day running, such as accounts, orders and ensuring our customers get the best deals and service possible. I am very lucky to work with such an iconic brand of motorcycle.
What was your first professional experience within the automotive industry?
I started out as a Service Advisor for a prestige automotive dealership in Auckland 25 years ago. I knew back then that I wanted a career in the industry but couldn’t quite work out what position would be best for me. Being a Service Advisor was a great start and I slowly progressed through a couple of other roles - running a workshop, customer care, technician etc. - so I know what is required to run a successful automotive business.
Do you think you have experienced challenges within the industry that your male counterparts have not?
In my first apprenticeship in an automotive workshop the owner wouldn’t let me work on the cars and made me do the invoicing, coffee making, cleaning and answering the phone…Suffice to say, I didn’t last long. Now that I am a little older and wiser, perhaps I don’t really experience or notice any major challenges. I work very hard in my job and have earned respect from my coworkers. I consider myself to be really organised and strive to achieve great outcomes every day.
By working in this predominately male dominated environment, I have helped my colleagues appreciate a tidy workspace, organisation, structure and a few other little female touches around the workplace. I also get great satisfaction selling motorcycles and safety gear to other women who share this interest and passion, so that’s definitely a big plus for me. I am really lucky that I work with a great bunch of guys who all have a partner/daughter in their life, so I feel this really helps.
What is your biggest achievement within the automotive industry, personal or professional?
I started my own business in the automotive education sector. After I was working in an automotive garage, I saw a gap in communication between our customers and the technicians. My company taught people basic vehicle maintenance, how to check their own fluid levels, change bulbs and tyres and how to not get ripped off when you took your car in to be serviced. The business eventually became funded by the NZ government which allowed us to teach in schools, the YHA, and several other projects such as women getting back on their feet after domestic violence and returning to the workforce. We also catered for corporate businesses with fleets. The company was put forward for several small business awards and was featured on breakfast television.
Do you have a favourite resource as a woman working in the automotive industry? Maybe a book, event, organisation, mentor, or online platform?
I find my resource as a woman working in the automotive industry has been my supportive male colleagues. I have also read many adventure books through the ages of ladies on motorcycling adventures as it’s something that’s always appealed to me.
I find that a lot of mentor programs and platforms are not so affordable, so I track other ladies in the industry down. I give them a call, bounce ideas, listen and ask questions. I am also part of a female entrepreneur group and I receive a lot of online workshop management information, which isn't so female focused, but there isn’t a huge demand for ladies running a workshop on motorcycle sales at present (hopefully this will change).
Who is your inspiration as a female in automotive?
There are several ladies that inspire me on social media who travel through remote places on bikes, do their own maintenance and have amazing adventures. Sybil Lupp is a huge inspiration to me and we both share similar values and experiences (with the exception of motorsport awards which I hope to hold one day!). If you’re not familiar with Sybil, I would encourage you to look her up online.
My bestie based here in Sydney is in aviation and she is another huge inspiration to me. She is bold, innovative, raw, and honest. I have so much respect for her and am so lucky to have her to bounce ideas off, have technical conversations with and just be a sounding board. She is also a mum like me, so we love a good chat about work life balance which is super important to me personally.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received or that you could give to another woman working in the automotive industry?
You can’t take what people say to you too seriously in this business, you definitely need a thick skin and remind yourself that you can be whatever you want in life.
If you are not enjoying your job every single day, you are in the wrong place. It is so important to love what you do. I know how lucky I am to be working in such a unique role and feel very blessed to love what I do so much.