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Melissa Toffolon
WinA Member of the Month

This month, we are featuring Melissa Toffolon. 


Melissa is a Mechanic at Mercedes-Benz. In her Q&A, she talks about her passion for drifting.

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.

Melissa  Toffolon Member of the Month Post.jpg

Tell us a bit about your current role or involvement in the automotive industry.

I am currently a mechanic for Mercedes-Benz and have been in the industry for 6 years. My first role was as a mechanic apprenticeship and now I’m a fully-qualified mechanic.

What was your first professional experience within the automotive industry?

I love attending drift events and always wanted to learn more about the cars and how they run. I realized that starting an apprenticeship would give me a much more in-depth understanding. So, I completed my mechanic apprenticeship in 3 years and since then have continued to expand my knowledge.

Do you think you have experienced challenges within the industry that your male counterparts have not?

I personally don’t believe I have experienced challenges within the field that my male counterparts have not. Being a mechanic is a really tough job! We all started on the same level as apprentices and have worked our way up through the years, all finding our different niches and things that we enjoy best. I find that we all agree on how physically and mentally demanding the job is.

What is your biggest achievement within the automotive industry, personal or professional?

My achievements come from everyday life. When you're a mechanic, you never know what your workday is going to look like or what surprises are in store for you. I enjoy how this job has really pushed my critical thinking abilities and how it has enabled me to be always incredibly switched on; questioning symptoms and root causes and its problem-solving abilities. I find the skills you learn being a mechanic are useful in other aspects of life too. Ie. your knowledge of tools, ways to troubleshoot problems and more. 

Do you have a favourite resource as a woman working in the automotive industry? Maybe a book, event, organization, mentor, or online platform?

I look up to Naoki Nakamura and Miki Tagaki - two N-style drifters from Japan. Their driving style is wild and some of the angles, speed, and accuracy they get is like nothing I've ever seen on a track before! I also enjoy vlogs from YouTubers like Noriyaro. They share footage from events all over, providing insight into things I wouldn't have been able to see otherwise.

Who is your inspiration as a female in automotive?

My main inspiration is my wonderful fiancé, Chris. He is also a fully qualified mechanic for Mercedes-Benz with 8 years of experience in the field. I find that we are constantly teaching each other new things. It feels great to be able to build knowledge and a strong foundation together. We both have extremely resilient and have strong work ethics. I am extremely lucky to be able to work with and learn from someone like him.  

What is the best piece of advice that you have received or that you could give to another woman working in the automotive industry?

It’s hard for me to give advice as it would differ depending on what sector of the automotive industry you work in, but my broad advice would be to always go with your passion and do what you enjoy doing best. There are always new things to learn with technology constantly advancing and expanding! Never stop learning!


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