42 ;e Costco Connection FEBRUARY 2016
the store is like,” her client said. “He just called
Passing it on
me and asked, ‘Why did you send a girl?’ ”
Soesbee burst into laughter. “Next time,” she said,
while looking at the guy who had made the call
about her, “tell them you didn’t send a girl, you
sent a competent woman.”
She notes, “I have people who dismiss me
because I’m female. They call me ‘little lady.’
Once they get to know me, and once I prove
myself, those attitudes change.”
Soesbee learned how to do home
improvement projects on the job with her
former husband and by watching lots of
repairs on You Tube. She admits that, at first,
she was scared.
“You’re always scared that you’re going to
screw something up,” she says, adding that
she has now earned her own home improve-
ment license. “But what I have learned is it
can always be fixed.”
That’s exactly why she wants to help other
women get over any fears they may have about
doing their own home improvement or do-it-
yourself projects. As an adjunct faculty mem-
ber of the Women’s Institute at Anne Arundel
Community College in Maryland (
women), Soesbee teaches classes such as basic
plumbing, drywall, electricity, carpentry and
how to hire a contractor. All the classes are
noncredit and completely hands-on.
“We, as women, have got to be able to do
things for ourselves,” says Soesbee. Besides
teaching women how to fix things, she also
teaches them how to know that a contractor
doing work for them isn’t ripping them off.
Soesbee says there are still some repairs
that are beyond her skill set. When this happens, she calls someone for assistance. As a
result, when she teaches women, she explains
to them that she still needs to ask questions or
ask for help sometimes—and this is what she
does for a living. She wants her students to
feel comfortable doing the same, so she gives
them her phone number and email address
and encourages them to call her with any
questions—all free of charge.
“I tell them to ask me anything. If I don’t
know the answer, I’ll find someone who
does,” says Soesbee. “Women often don’t have
the self-confidence to take those first steps.
That’s why I want to help them.” C
Costco member Michele Wojciechowski (wojos
world.com) is proud to say that she can fix
anything in a toilet tank.
FIX IT LIKE A GIRL
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41
The Costco Connection
Costco members will find a variety of tools
and accessories for home improvement
projects in Costco warehouses and on
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