Growing up, Trena McGill was immersed in the automotive industry; her father owned a body shop, and her mother was a Controller. Despite having automotive in her genes, Trena never considered a career in the industry. “I went to college for pre-med,” explains Trena, “I really wanted to be a doctor.” At 21, Trena filled in as a receptionist for her mother’s dealership. When a position needed to be filled in the accounting office, Trena covered it too. What began as a couple of temporary jobs, unexpectedly turned into her desired career. “It was something I liked to do,” says Trena, “it is an industry that changes every day, which is very exciting.”
In a historically male-dominated industry, Trena became a Controller at 24, an unusually young age, which is an accomplishment she is proud of. “I enjoy the numbers portion of it,” she says, “I learn quickly, and I was very determined to succeed.” She admits that her success came with a few challenges, mainly overcoming gender stereotypes in the industry. “There is a misconception that women cannot do their jobs as well,” Trena explains, “which is not true. Most of the time, they are actually very well-received by customers.” Since then, an increasing number of women have entered the industry and challenged gender roles, which she is glad to see.
She admits that her success came with a few challenges, mainly overcoming gender stereotypes in the industry.
Another challenge she faced was adjusting to motherhood a year later while keeping up with the job’s demands. Nevertheless, she was determined to excel at it. She never took any time-off, and even worked from home if she had to. Looking back, Trena does not know how she managed to do it all. “I remember breastfeeding in my office, and having to cover my windows with report paper, so no one could look in. If you try hard, you can make anything work,” she laughed. Since then, Trena has welcomed two more children, which has not slowed her down in the slightest. In fact, they are her greatest motivators. Rather than searching for the next best thing, Trena is content with her job, because the flexibility allows her to be a part of her children’s activities.
Even though she has had several positions in the industry, she enjoys being a Controller the most. “As a Controller, I get to work closely with the dealer,” Trena explains, “which I absolutely love.” The most enjoyable part of her job is the close friendships she forms with her employers, and she keeps in touch with them all. Trena is always willing to go above and beyond her professional duties to assist the dealer anyway she can, and she is grateful for everything they have taught her.
Trena currently works for a used luxury car dealership and enjoys the unique experience. “I get to learn about all these interesting cars like Lamborghinis and Ferraris, and meet a different kind of clientele.” However, the best part of her job is still watching someone find a car that they worked hard for. “Automotive is very rewarding,” she explains, “seeing someone buy a car is exciting. It has been very good to my family and me.”