People of Georgian: Alumna’s automotive career in her blood

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The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

People of Georgian: Meet Grace Stein

Both my parents like drag racing, so I was born into a car-loving family.  

My mom apparently tried to race when she was pregnant with me, but they told her no because her belly touched the steering wheel.

A headshot of a person with short, brown hair, pink jacket, white T-shirt and gold jewellery.
Grace is an alumna of Georgian’s Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Automotive Management) program (class of 2023).

My earliest memory as a child is being at the racetrack. On Fridays, I would get picked up early from school to go there, which I thought was so cool because my dad had this big race trailer and truck that were wrapped to match.

My dad tried to get me into racing when I was younger, but I thought it was the scariest thing and didn’t want to do it.

‘Where did this come from?’

Instead, I was a dancer. My parents were like, “Where did this come from?” Nobody in my family dances, but they supported me.

I still loved cars and I took auto shop class in high school, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career.

Everyone would always ask me if I was going to take over my dad’s business. He owns an auto repair shop that my papa started more than 50 years ago as a gas bar.

Three people stand out front of an auto shop that has a sign reading "Blaines Automotive."
Grace with her dad and papa at their family business.

I didn’t want to take over, in part because I don’t like getting dirty and usually wear fake nails and like to be prim and pretty.

How to work with cars and not get dirty

Then, my auto shop teacher told me about this program at Georgian where you can study the business side of the automotive industry, and I always kept that in the back of my mind.

I applied after high school and got in – and, funnily enough, I started drag racing around that time with my mom’s racing car just for fun.

Two people sit in the front seats of a car in front of a race track.
Grace and her dad at a racetrack.

Finding self-confidence at college

Because of my family’s history and connection to the automotive industry, I felt a lot of pressure at the beginning of my program to love it. I remember one of my friend’s parents telling me, “Your papa is so proud of you!” I didn’t want to disappoint people.

But once I started the program, I liked it. I had a lot of encouragement from people around me and I found more self-confidence.

I always tell people I would love to come back to the Automotive Business School of Canada (ABSC) when I’ve done more in my professional career and get to teach students because I love the ABSC so much.

A person sits in a golf cart and looks back over their shoulder to smile at the camera.
Grace was the Director of the 2023 Georgian College Auto Show’s Media and Marketing Relations.

‘Surreal’ experience as Georgian College Auto Show director

Getting to be one of the directors of the Georgian College Auto Show was so crazy.

I got to talk to so many people I never thought I’d get to meet, like people that work for Ford Canada and Hyundai Canada. All these influential people know who I am. It was very surreal for the longest time.

I also became really close with the people I worked with, including the other directors. The auto show team really became a family. Your mentors and all the people you meet want to see you succeed, so it makes you want to do well.

Two people stand at a podium and smile at each other.
Grace says the 2023 Georgian College Auto Show team became like family.

‘I’ll remember it forever’

Then, to finally see it all come together in the end… I had to stand back and admire it for a second, like, “Whoa, I did this.”

It was really cool and definitely one of my top-tier memories from Georgian. I’ll remember it forever.

I can’t wait to tell my kids about it.

Grace Stein, alumna of Georgian’s Automotive Business program (class of 2023) and current student in the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Automotive Management) program.

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