Jeanette_DesJardins_CarChix_Herhighway

Jeanette DesJardins Staging Lane Director & President CarChix>

Jeanette DesJardins founded Car Chix as the Premier Motorsports Organization for Women in January of 2010. Car Chix is a way to recognize, inspire, and encourage women that are involved in motorsports and/or the automotive industry in any shape, way, or form. Over the years, more and more women have been notably and honorably taking over a “male” dominated industry. Women are doing it fast and are doing it with class!

Car Chix has presented several Ladies Only Drag Races recently. They teamed up with the women of IMSM to bring you, “Heels & Wheels.” This event was a bracket style drag race that women could enter to win cash, Coach Purses, and much more! Watch for Heels & Wheels events in 2012!

Who have you mentored who did someone mentor you in this industry to
help you get started?

My Dad and Uncle used to take me to the Vintage Car Races at Elkhart Lake
when I was a young kid.  At that time, I hated it.  I thought it was too
loud and boring .. hahaha.

When I was a teenager, my interest in cars really picked up.  I lived with
my sister, Lilly and she was a mechanic.  She would have me help her out
working on her car in the garage a lot.

Around that time, I started going to Automotive School at a local
technical College when I was about 15.  Got my first car and my parents
were not too thrilled about it.  “How are you going to afford
maintenance!” was their biggest argument.  So, I started working at small
ma & pa garages and paid attention.  If it was broke, I HAD to fix it
because I didn’t have any money to pay someone else to do it.  It was a
huge learning experience to say the least.  A couple of the shops I worked
at, I was one of the very few people that spoke English and the only
female employee.  I remember one of the people that trained me didn’t
speak any English. lol that was interesting.

As a woman what features are your favorites in a car?
I am a lover of all different kinds of cars.  I am not a single brand
fanatic.  I do have a passion for old American muscle cars though.  The
main thing that draws me to a car is the body style.  I love curves.  If
you were to stand a car up on the bumper, it should have the same curves
as a woman.

Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for
females?

I don’t think it seems like a difficult environment for females.  I
believe IT IS.  I worked in it for almost 10 years now and there are times
when it is not easy.  For example, when I would initially begin working at
a garage, dealership, etc.  I would be the only female technician.  Most
of the guys I had worked with were not used to working side by side with a
woman in the garage.  Some have very set views of women and what is
acceptable types of work for women.  Working as a technician in a garage
is not one of them.  So there would be like a initial testing phase where
the male co workers wouldn’t think I could do as good of job or handle the
physical labor like they could.  However, every job I had I went above and
beyond.. would have higher production levels, higher sales volumes, etc.
You really have to want to prove your abilities.  After the guys would see
that I knew my stuff and could perform just as good if not better than
them, they had a lot of respect for me and it would usually be easy going
from there.

Another thing is, you have to have thick skin.  It gets hot in the kitchen and you can either handle it or you can’t.  Some people will say some pretty rude things or tell some pretty crude jokes and you need to know
how to deal with it.  I would either give it back or blow it off.  My work
performance spoke louder than words.

Why did you want to work in the auto industry?
Being a car enthusiast.. the hobby can be pretty expensive at times lol  I
wanted to be able to fix my own car.  I didn’t want to have to pay someone
else to do something I could.

First automotive job?
My first automotive job was a quick lube oil change center when I was 15.

Proudest professional achievement?
I own a motorsports organization for women called Car Chix, Inc.  We
advertise and promote women in motorsports and the automotive industry.
We also host many women empowering events including drag races, car shows,
etc.  We also present Racing for a Cure a Quarter Mile at a Time to raise
money for Breast Cancer Awareness & Research.  Last year, we raised over
$9,000 for the cause.  I guess the proudest professional achievement would
be starting my own motorsports corporation at age 23.  We just hit
1.7Million visitors in under 2 years.  A lot of people like our
organization from around the world which is a great feeling.  Feels good
to offer something to people that makes a difference in their lives and
that people enjoy.

Also, I have been a judge for the World Power Wheel Standing Championship
at Byron Dragway for the last 2 years.  I not only the only female judge,
but also the youngest!  Most of the judges have kids that are my age.

Current challenge at work?
Winter in the US!  During winter, alot of people put their cars away and
race season is over so there is less going on.  This affects daily website
updates for Car Chix, Inc.

Dream job?
I have been working at a drag strip for the last 3 years.  I initially was
hired to be a bartender.  Within hours, I was promote to staging lane
director.  Pretty much, I would set up car races all day – anything from
your daily driver to 6 second pro-mods.  I spent this last year as a
starter for the track.  Again, a tough job, but hands down, the coolest
job I have ever had.  I love drag racing.  It is something I am very
passionate about.  So to be a starter and/or involved with the
coordination of race events was awesome.  Plus, I had the best seat in the
house!  Directly between the two cars racing to the finish!

Honestly, I think I am currently working my dream job.  I own a
motorsports organization for women and I am about to open another company
in the media industry in the next few weeks.  It’s a lot of work, but I
love what I do.  I work for myself and set my own hours.

What you do to relax?
I like to turn off the phone, turn off the computer, slip into my pajamas,
and watch movies.

For more information on Car Chix, Jeanette or the events calendar for Heels & Wheels click here.