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How One Woman Broke Into the Auto-Supply Industry

Stores will go through the training in order to better understand how women view car repairs and how to help educate women on cars. The company will be offering classes to teach customers basic car repair and maintenance, she says.

"We're very focused on family, women, children and educating them on their vehicles," Moran says.

Moran, who just remarried in March, has five teenagers.

October is National Women's in Small Business Month. As the small business community celebrates, a conversation with how Moran made her mark follows:

Did you always know you would work with your dad?

Moran: I had worked for him on and off when I was younger and just little projects. When I was in college, I started working for him as a summer job and I really found that I loved business. I was going to art school at the time. I started with him as his receptionist and I moved very quickly to bookkeeping and moved up to office manager. It was a transmission business. He made me learn all the different parts of a transmission. It was so boring and I said I'm not going to use this. He said you need to know what these parts mean. So I did. As I grew up in the transmission industry, I really enjoyed working in the environment. [But] at the time, women were not prevalent in the automotive aftermarket. It was very difficult, actually.

Your story is interesting because you are a CEO of a company that is in a traditionally male-dominated world. Where did the challenges lie and how did you resolve them? Were you less respected as a leader because you are a woman?

Moran: In the beginning, the relationship was one where usually the men did not want to hear what you had to say, and I had to have a thick skin and I had to learn to have tenacity and persistence. It was frustrating to have many moments making you feel as if you were inadequate or incapable. I had to learn how to not take it personally and I had to learn how to find ways around it.

I remember going out on the road to visit franchisees and I had brought an employee with me who was from the grass industry. I grew up in the transmission industry. We went to the meeting at the franchise and the franchisee would not speak to me or direct the conversation to me ... I thought it was funny because the [other employee] didn't know anything about transmissions. I ended up calling him and saying how would you feel if your daughter was running a business and people treated her that way. It dawned on him.
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