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Shining a Light on Passion for Bodywork

Autosphere » Collision » Shining a Light on Passion for Bodywork
Kassy Vaudry hosts the popular podcast Spotlight Carrosserie. Credit: Spotlight Carrosserie

Who said that bodywork was just for men? Seventeen years ago, Kassy Vaudry fell in love with all aspects of this field, and now, with her experience, she shines a light on it through her podcast Spotlight Carrosserie. A goldmine of inspiration!

If Obélix fell into a cauldron of magic potion when he was little, then Kassy Vaudry hwas bottle-fed on bodywork. “My father has always been a panel beater,” she confides. “And since he worked a lot, if we wanted to see him, we had to go to his garage.”

Thus, throughout her childhood, Kassy spent her Saturday mornings with her father, whose specialty was heavy work—meaning the most damaged cars—as well as assembling rally cars.

“He was very impressive to watch!” recalls the young woman. “He could completely dismantle a car and then rebuild it identically or graft elements onto it, like a cage for race cars. I didn’t really get my hands dirty, but I observed everything he did.”

As a teenager, Kassy Vaudry had already seen tons of damaged and remodeled vehicles. To such an extent, in fact, that she was saturated! “I didn’t want to hear about this trade anymore and wanted instead to become a criminologist or a social reintegration police officer,” she says.

But life always has surprises in store. While she was a student at CEGEP, Kassy contracted meningitis, so she had to drop out of her courses. Once she recovered, her father came with a job offer: a liaison officer position had just opened at his shop. “Let’s just say he put a lot of pressure on me to take it, ha ha!” she admits. “But I know now that he saw something in me that I didn’t yet perceive.”

Building her career in bodywork

Kassy Vaudry’s father was right. She immediately fell in love with her new job, even though she had never studied in the field and the person who was supposed to train her left two weeks after she arrived.

“I had a hands-on perspective thanks to my father, but I knew nothing about the administrative side. I could have panicked, but I didn’t. I understood everything quickly; it was natural for me. I was in my element!” the young woman relates.

Kassy was 18 years old at the time. She is now 35, a mother of three children, and continues her career in the bodywork sector. Over the past 17 years, she has worked for several dealerships as a liaison officer, but also as a shop manager (handling customer management, workforce on the floor, productivity responsibility, and liaison with evaluators) and damage estimator, notably for vehicles assessed as total losses. “Thanks to Eric Laurendeau of Évaluation Concept, I even learned to open and close franchises,” she says, adding that it’s the constant learning that she enjoys the most in her career.

A career she now fully enjoys, having forged close ties with the automotive industry and built a solid reputation. “I never lack work,” she proudly confirms. “People in the industry know I’m credible and don’t hesitate to contact me when they have needs.” Not bad for a woman who didn’t initially plan to go into bodywork, right?

The bodywork industry in podcast form

“In my life, I have two passions: bodywork and podcasts,” Kassy Vaudry confesses straightforwardly. “I love the feeling of closeness, naturalness, and spontaneity of podcasts. And since I also love meetings, a project like this on bodywork came to mind in the summer of 2022.”

The young woman didn’t want to start a technical podcast but a human one, to highlight all the amazing people she met during her journey: body shop and dealership owners and managers, as well as technicians, parts or professional equipment salespeople, teachers and trainers, insurers, evaluators, etc.

“It’s such a vast field, and the information about it is so scant! Spotlight Carrosserie‘s mission is to shed new light on this industry, to inspire young people to get involved, to give advice to those already working in it. It’s a unifying project that I believe in a lot,” explains the host.

She’s not the only one to think so, as the industry immediately welcomed the podcast’s arrival. Several players quickly joined as sponsors. “They were a bit surprised at first, but they are very enthusiastic and help me grow this podcast, which I hope to host monthly soon. The enthusiasm is there, for sure!”

Women, men and bodywork

Even though Kassy Vaudry has made her mark in the bodywork field, we can’t help but see her as the exception that proves the rule, as few women still work in this sector.

The professional, however, has a personal opinion on the subject: “In the surveys I see on this question, we often ask if our industry welcomes women properly. But I think the crux of the problem is not so much the place reserved for them in our field, but rather the lack of interest they have in these trades. You need a spark to work in bodywork; you have to love it.”

Kassy believes that those who, like her, are passionate about this industry find their place in it. “No one ever made me feel that I didn’t know what I was doing because I was a woman. We need to stop playing the victim; there’s plenty of room for women in our field.”

The young woman can attest to this, having managed to build her family and embrace her role as a mother while continuing her career. “Of course, I’ve weathered some storms,” she admits. “When I separated, for example, I found myself alone with my three children, two of whom were under one year old, along with financial difficulties. But at the same time, I started my podcast. Through it, I proved to myself and to my children that there is always a solution to problems.” Determination knows no gender, we could add.

Categories : Collision, Editorial

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