The women interviewed for this special series share their stories. The goal of this interview series is to not only share the stories and experiences of these market leaders, but also inspire more women to join this fun, exciting and growing carwash industry.
This week let’s meet Claire Moore.
Claire Moore, Chief Content Officer, International Carwash Association
MP | How did you get your start and how long have you been in the carwash industry?
CM | I joined International Carwash Association (ICA) as the director of education back in 2004, so I’m celebrating my 18th year in this industry. I have always been a bit of a carwash fanatic, so after working for a period of time in higher education, this was a wonderful opportunity that has turned into an even better career.
MP | What is the most important lesson you have learned while working in the carwash industry?
CM | The people of this industry will always surprise you (in the best way possible). This industry is made up of people from incredibly different backgrounds, education experience and life experience, but they share one thing in common — a passion for hard work. They are an incredibly dedicated, loyal group of people and it has been wonderful watching the growth of recent years provide some incredible opportunities.
MP | What advice do you have for women getting into the carwash industry today?
CM | Create and find your village. That village can and should be made up of women and men in this industry. Suck up as much knowledge as you can and learn from the best you can find. Find trusted mentors — the people who are there to support your growth and goals — and stay close to them. Opportunity is everywhere and your network is key to your success.
MP | What are some challenges you have overcome as a woman in the carwash industry that you’d like to share with other women in hopes of helping them to overcome similar challenges?
CM | When I first began in the industry, there were not as many women in leadership positions as there are today. I think there was a level of imposter syndrome always at play for women, meaning that they couldn’t talk the talk or walk the walk as well as their male counterparts. However, I think women in this industry have proven everyone wrong. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds, some of the most mechanically inclined and some of the smartest women in this industry. Never doubt your place or your worth. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. Learn everything you can and stay engaged.
MP | What aspect of the carwash industry is most exciting/rewarding to you?
CM | What is currently most exciting and rewarding to me is watching what organizations are doing to focus on their people. It is so great to see operator companies creating defined career paths that are explained to potential employees during the hiring process. This is more than just an hourly job now; it is a place where you can truly grow within a company. The investments that I’m seeing companies make in their people and their professional development are wonderful. Training is table stakes today and without a well-defined growth plan, finding and retaining employees is very difficult. I’m encouraged at the innovative ways companies are developing their people and I hope that we get to be a small piece of that with our programs like LEAD™ – Manager Training Program, the Executive Management Institute and the Women’s Leadership Experience.
MP | What three character traits are most important in your opinion for a woman starting out her career in carwashing?
• Confidence: Don’t ever question your worth. Don’t be afraid to raise your voice and be your own self advocate.
• Communication: Being able to actively listen (and hear what is not being said) and respond effectively is an important trait in building your team and being successful in any organization.
• Self-awareness: Never be afraid to look within to make sure you’re getting what you need from your job and that you’re truly giving your best. Know your strengths (and use them). Know where you have opportunity for growth, and don’t be afraid to reach for it.
MP | What would you have done differently starting out in the carwash industry if you could go back to the beginning? Or, would you not change a thing?
CM | My path in the industry is different to many others but I truly wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve had the opportunity to do so many different things over the last 18 years. I championed the WaterSavers program when it was launched and got to understand the regulatory environment.
I’ve led the consumer study work with our researchers and had the opportunity to really dive deep into consumer habits and perceptions as it relates to our industry. For a period of time, I was deeply involved in our trade show, which is the best opportunity to see our industry all come together and learn. During COVID, getting to help tell the stories of our industry was some of the most rewarding work I’ve done.
Today I’m developing a training program (LEAD™) for the managers in our industry that I think is key to helping organizations develop and train their teams in core life and management skills. I get the opportunity to see the next generation of leaders of this industry work through their leadership plans and styles.
All of these experiences are so rewarding, but the work I’m doing today is that which I’m most proud of. There are so many talented people in this industry and I’m fortunate to directly experience their growth.
MP | Did you have a role model or a mentor in this industry? If so, who and how did he or she inspire you?
CM | I’ve had several, and I continue to find new ones all the time. Everyone has a unique story to tell that makes them who they are and getting to know the stories of the people of this industry is incredibly inspiring.
Melissa Pirkey is the CEO/president of Melissa Pirkey Insurance, dba Car Wash Insurance Agency. If you are interested in sharing your story in an upcoming issue, please contact her at 214-998-8960 or [email protected] or email PC&D’s Rich DiPaolo at [email protected]