We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Steph Brindley, Regional Operational Lead at Solus Accident Repair Centres.
In the interview below, Steph details her passion for the automotive sector and speaks more about what attracted her to the industry as a youngster. She also highlights the automotive woman who inspires her and urges other women to reach out and learn something new! Hear more from Steph below.
What is your job and what does it involve?
I am a Regional Operations Lead for Solus Accident Repair Group. I look after a region consisting of 4 Bodyshops with a headcount of 160 fte comprising of Customer Service and Repair Technicians. We focus on getting our customers back to normal following an insurance claim and we are part of AVIVA.
How long have you worked in the sector and what attracted you to the sector?
I have worked in the body repair industry since 2002. I was attracted to the industry as a 5-year-old when my father had his own unit repairing vehicles in the ’80s that was situated at the bottom of our garden. After school, I used to go down to him with a cuppa and I ended up staying there till teatime, watching him work. When I was in my teens, I used to help him prep vehicles, mix paint and if I were lucky, I would be allowed to use the spray gun. I feel so very proud to be able to follow in his footsteps, although I’m not sure it’s the profession he envisaged for me.
What is your career history?
I started my career at DLG Insurance, which spanned over 22 years working in various leadership roles within claims and progressing into Motor Engineering and DLG Auto Services. After spending time in those areas, I felt I wanted to be closer to vehicle repair and develop my own knowledge of in-vehicle technology, the next evolution of the motor vehicle. It’s so exciting and in body repair, I feel I am right in the thick of this technology and how we can repair these cars and get our customers back on the road. An opportunity at the Solus Accident Repair Group came around and it was one I could not afford to miss.
What do you like best about your job?
The people and their talent, something we need to celebrate and tease out into the public domain. The way a vehicle is repaired by hand back to a factory standard still blows me away.
What are your future aspirations?
To see more females, get excited about this industry and want to find their place within it. It’s so important that our workforce becomes more diverse to represent our customers. We need to build an inclusive business fit for the future, regardless of gender.
Can you name a woman in automotive that inspires you and why?
Leena Gade, a British Race Engineer with Asian heritage, became the first female to win the 24 hours of Le Mans. My reason is that Leena broke boundaries not just in motorsport but also in her own culture. It just shows that if you want to do something it’s possible. I always think of her when things get difficult. She inspires me to not give up.
What makes you happy?
Walking in the wilderness or the mountains with my husband, kids, and my fur babies. I absolutely love achieving something that I’ve been told may be difficult.
Which word or phrase do you most overuse?
Probably my husband can answer that one, he would probably say it’s “ What’s on your list over the weekend” meaning what jobs around the house are you doing…….
What is your worst trait?
I’m impatient and I have lots of energy, I get frustrated when others aren’t the same especially when things need to get done.
How would you like to be remembered?
Leaving a legacy for this industry, knowing I have made a difference in paving the way for future generations, personally as the complete life and soul of any party…. I want to be remembered for always dancing and having the best time.
What advice would you give to women who are wanting to progress in the sector?
Reach out, go and do it and don’t hold back. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know everything, you never will. This industry is always evolving with vehicles always changing. What you knew yesterday has moved on meaning you will learn something new today and tomorrow there will be a raft of more things you do not know and need to learn. Every day in body repair is a school day and an opportunity to learn. The body repair industry is waiting for you girls, you just need to know we are here.