Finding Success in a Man’s Industry
Working for years in transportation, an ordinarily man’s industry, is difficult and requires special skills, patience and a driving will to succeed. It is not easy, but can be done if you have courage and a will to overcome obstacles. The best way to show your ability is to succeed in making yourself a competitor. Over time my company evolved. I went from a tour company, to a convention planning company, to a mass transportation company. I had made changes to survive, and I know I ended up right where I belong. I love it.
Working in a man’s industry is different. To begin with it is lonely. Others feel you are no threat, so they ignore you. I struggled going to large meetings like the United Motor Coach Association. I found it very hard to walk into a room full of 200-300 men and feel comfortable. I sought help by calling a friend who is a psychologist and explained my situation.
“This is easy,” she said. “If the meeting starts at 8am, get there at 7:30. The first man who walks in the room will have to talk to you. You’re the only one there.”
Then she asked me, “Who is your favorite singer?”
“Well, I like Barbara Streisand.”
“Perfect,” she said. “If you arrive and there are men there already, walk in with your head held high. Pretend you are Barbara Streisand, and they are dying to meet you. Don’t be afraid.”
To my amazement, it worked time after time. I began to feel better when, at later meetings, some men called me by name. As the years went by things improved. As my company grew, I got more respect.
Occasionally, there were still times when the indifference re-occurred. Once I went to a local transportation luncheon meeting. I was assigned a seat between two CEOs of large companies. They spoke with each other as if I were not even there. The one on my right leaned across in front of me and said to the other, “That group we’ve worked with is coming up soon. Do you want to do the same deal?”
I guess they thought I was not smart enough to know what they were talking about, but I did. A major military contract was coming up for bid and they were both bidding the same amount. That way they could both win the contract and share the work.
Then and there I decided I needed to bid on it also. I knew nothing about bidding military contracts. I called a colonel friend of mine. He helped me get DOD (Department of Defense) approval in 8 days. I spent 3 days filling out a bid and had someone check over it. When I hand delivered it to the base, I knew my chances were small, but at least I’d tried.
The bids would be opened the next day at 9am. Before noon, I got the call. Daisy Charters had won the contract! I have had military contracts for over 20 years, and I still have to bid every time they’re up for renewal. The military is a vital part of our success. Sometimes you can learn a lot just by listening.
June Bratcher is a major player in transportation services in San Antonio. She has 24 deluxe coaches, a branch location in Corpus Christi, Texas and has achieved $6 million in sales. She is no longer that ‘Woman Owned Business.’ She is the competition and they know her name. Read more of her story in her recently released book, You Are Driving Me Crazy!