People of Georgian: Alumna’s automotive career in her blood
Dec. 8, 2023
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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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
‘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.