It's All in the Feels
Woman And Machine: New England
Words by: Karen Sullivan Photos by: Emanuel Ormonde
It’s five in the morning on July 15th. I'm up and getting ready, albeit a little haltingly. My mind and body are buzzing. Nerves are on edge. Thousands of what-ifs run through my head. I'm not even sure if I’ll get my coffee today. Coffee can be my lifeline, but I didn’t need it today.
Why? Because Woman And Machine had invaded New England.
Woman And Machine: New England is the brainchild of Lafayette Hadley, Alexis Dabilish, Karen Sullivan, and Jasmine Lawrence. It is one such byproduct of this fellowship brought about due to meeting at the first Woman And Machine event held in San Antonio, Texas which was developed by Lafayette Hadley. Lafayette, or Faye, is the mastermind behind what Woman And Machine is, as well as having recruited the other ladies through her vision to bring this event across the United States.
Woman And Machine is a place where women can learn hands-on automotive knowledge in a safe space. They don’t have to be ashamed for knowing nothing about their vehicles or how to work on them. It's a platform for them to be able to express their love for automotive or ask questions, to be real and vulnerable with fellow wrench-curious women. This event is also a place to network and connect with other female enthusiasts or those who just want to better understand how their vehicles work.
As I pull into Crossroads Collision and Auto Repair of Carver, Massachusetts I can’t help thinking of all the ladies about to show up in a few hours to get their hands dirty. Excitement starts kicking-in -- and more nerves. On the other hand, go figure that I had forgotten to turn the radiator fan on in my classic VW Rabbit, so I pulled in with style, i.e. a big plume of flashed off coolant was rising from the engine compartment due to not having a coolant reservoir or anything to catch the overflow, my bad! I swear I will get to it one day soon.
Jasmine Lawrence sits in the passenger seat, and I can only imagine what goes through her head at that moment. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Jasmine was up to teach an introductory suspension class. She’s also a founding member of Woman And Machine and owner of Steelettos Garage, a mobile repair shop.
I see Alexis Dabilis through the smoke. She’s from Nashua, New Hampshire, and another founding member of Woman And Machine as well as co-founder of Drift Kitchen, and set to teach a brakes class.
I myself am a founding member of Woman and Machine. I was set to teach both introductory welding classes for MIG and TIG.
The emotions are palpable. These women worked so hard on something that’s so important to the automotive industry right now. With women making so many decisions when it comes to car buying and maintenance, more women looking to enter realms that are not traditionally female, and there being a shortage of automotive technicians, it's a hot topic of everyone wondering how to get more women into automotive.
One such step could be these Woman And Machine events.
As the event winds down, and I’m getting ready for a Q&A Panel with all the lady instructors, I see all the smiling faces of the attendees and hear the ladies all talking excitedly. I can’t help feeling so much gratitude that this event is available for women.
There are other women led automotive workshops held around the United States: 180 Automotive owned by Bogi, Steelettos Garage owned by Jasmine Lawrence, Pistons & PixieDust owned by Faye Hadley, and more. What gives Woman And Machine its defining features is that it offers more than one class for the day and opens the doors for professionals, advanced DIYers, and newcomers to mingle and learn together.
Woman And Machine: New England offered numerous classes, for ladies of all skill levels to learn. There were also plenty of opportunities for ladies to hang out and network, check out the vehicles in the lady-driven car show, and to bask in fellowship. We need more events that celebrate and empower women of automotive, but they are few and far between so Woman And Machine is striving to have their three events annually, spread out in both time and location. The last Woman And Machine event of 2018 will happen in Atlanta, Georgia on October 7th, you can purchase tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/woman-and-machinetm-atl-tickets-48177666698?aff=es2.