Heels & Horsepower Magazine


Women determined to be the change the Automotive Industry needs: Part 3 – Meet Sandra Corbett

Five women in the automotive industry, all accredited members of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud Association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), talk to us about what they love and don’t love about the industry, and how they see the industry evolving.


SANDRA CORBETT, co-owner of Kessel Motors, Cape Town, says her passion for business and creating jobs got her and her husband into the motor trade. “I believed our strong business acumen could be adapted to any industry, so we embraced the challenge and bought our first branch of Kessel Motors – we now have six branches and have learnt a lot along the way!”

Over the years, I have proven that not only can I do the job well but I excel at any given task

– SANDRA CORBETT, co-owner of Kessel Motors, Cape Town

While confident and at her best when solving complex employee, customer or even mechanical problems, Sandra admits being discriminated against as a female affected her on a personal level.

“Some customers insisted on dealing with a man. I had to overcome this and push through by equipping myself with more knowledge in the field and providing the best service I could. This has grown my confidence and empowered me in managing all my branches. My family has always been an incredible support.

“Over the years, I have proven that not only can I do the job well but I excel at any given task. I encourage more women to get involved and pursue their dream of either becoming a mechanic or a business owner.”

Sandra sees education as key to getting more women into the industry. “We need to teach young girls that a career in the motor trade industry is worth pursuing and back this with bursary, mentorship and study programmes.”

Kessel Motors will branch out even more if Sandra accomplishes her long-term plan and customers will be dealing with more women in her branches too.

“There are definite challenges for women but my advice is to never stop believing in yourself and embrace challenges, because these are opportunities for personal growth,” Sandra says.

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