January Profile: Audra Fordin
Relationship Status: Married 13 years
Residence: Long Island, NY
Children: Samantha (11), Olivia (9), Andrew (4)
Profession: Audra’s mission is to empower women of all ages to be safe, confident consumers, drivers and passengers. With the automobile as her instrument for notoriety, she has a legion of fans and continues to successfully grow a four-generation auto repair family business. Audra has received many recognitions from industry, (1st recipient “female auto shop owner of the year 2011) community, (city Citations and awards of merit) government, (NYC small business of the year 2011) and not for profits (outstanding girl scout troop leader of the year 2011) for her outstanding achievements and community service. She has an iPhone application available on iTunes, a DVD, a girls glove box guide, and a book due for completion in April.
Environmentally, Audra is making a global impact by reusing tires and turning them into accessories. This is an economic development project for those with disabilities, utilizing students from universities. Her motto is: “Be the master of your personal automotive universe.” Visit http://www.womenautoknow.com and http://www.greatbearautoshop.com.
Q: What lead you to become a later in life mother? What’s late in life today?
A: I am in my early forties and my children range from four to eleven. Maybe back in the day I would be ready to be a grandmother, but in today’s world, we work, we plan, we have a family when the time is right. I am so happy to be a mom that I celebrate it. I don’t know if I were 22 that I would have the knowledge, patience and understanding I have today.
Q: How has your choice of career impacted your parenting?
A: I’m an auto mechanic mom, which surprises many, and my kids also get surprised reactions from others about my career choice. I use this as an opportunity to teach them about quality of life… to do what they feel good about, not what society or stereotypes say they must do. I often hear parents say: “the older your kids, the more difficult”….I believe that each year brings things to learn and share. I truly believe children keep you young and connected. The things they learn; their music; their interests; as they share them, we grow with them. And of course, much of it is quite a surprise.
Q: What do you most want to teach your children?
A: It’s difficult to pick one thing that’s MOST important to teach. I guess I would have to say that whatever they want to do, they should shoot for the stars and go for it. If I believed I could not be a certified auto mechanic, what would I be doing? My life is an example for my children to reach for what you believe you are and what you believe in. Equally important is to embrace all people, whether they are of the opposite sex, different cultures, or abilities. We are all equal in the eyes of God, and we all have a position to play on this earth…together.
Q: What influence, if any, has your own mother or father had in your life?
A: My father, uncles and grandfather believed in their business and did everything they could to make it what it became. My father did not have a son to take over the auto repair business and chain that his family successfully built from the bottom up. He never made me feel as though there was no place for me in that business. Sure, I had to work harder to prove myself over and over again, but that was for the rest of the world, not my dad. He handed me the tools I needed to take on the business and remain a woman in the true sense.
Q: Where do you turn for support as a mom? How important is to connect with mom peers?
A: I have a few good women I can bounce things off of. They range from younger to older moms who have children the same age as my kids. If they are 20 or 60, we are the same because we are going through the same things with our children. It’s not an age thing, rather an attitude. And of course connecting with mothers who have similar challenges is important. You listen, you laugh, you move on.
Q: What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a parent later in life?
A: It’s important to stay healthy, open-minded, and use your life experience to raise your family. Also, when you are walking down the street and mistaken for the grandparent, instead of the mom, you better know how to handle that. Sometimes, the children may look at you as not as cool as the other parents, regardless of your age, so don’t let your own state of mind think it’s because you are a little older. Think young, and you will be young.
Q: When you became a mom, did your own mother or father share any particular sentiments or advice that really resonated? Or do you recall anything from your own upbringing that really stuck with you that you’d like to pass on to your children or other parents?
A: Just that hard works pays and that even if you are blessed with material things, you have to appreciate everything you have and share with others.