Several years ago, I was asked to serve as the staff liaison for the ARA Women in Rental Committee and I gladly accepted the opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to work with passionate women who love this industry? For many women in this industry, rental is all they have known their entire life, serving as second and third-generation employees in a family business. Others have taken risks and started their own businesses, and many have joined the industry through manufacturers and suppliers rising through the corporate ranks.
After working closely with these women and hearing more about their stories, my biggest takeaway time and again has been appreciating them for their resilience as female leaders in a male-dominated industry. Here are some of the key lessons I’ve learned on becoming a strong female leader in the rental industry.
Love what you do
Whether they were born into it or chose it as a career, women in rental all have a strong desire to serve their customers, be engaged in their communities, and treat their staff as part of their family. They juggle their personal lives and business priorities seamlessly while continuing the efforts to advance our industry. Many live by the saying; life is too short, and you must spend it doing something you love. When you find passion in your work, you will never work a day in your life.
Network with others
More than any other workforce I’ve been a part of, the women in this industry support each other and create bonds that are deeper than just business. After ARA hosted our first Women in Rental Breakfast at The ARA Show in 2018, I was surprised to see the overwhelming response and growth year after year. Networking through an all-female group made it easier to make connections, giving these women a space where they could relate to each other's situations, support one another's needs without judgment, and even share trade secrets so everyone can learn and grow. By reaching out to women in this industry, you can build an empowered network to help you succeed.
Never stop learning
Women in our industry consistently push to learn more. Whether from inspiring stories of other females in rental, from professional speakers offering advice, or continuing education courses or programs, the women I’ve worked with focus on taking away actionable items that will make their businesses and lives better. By never losing the desire to question, you’ll learn and grow every day in both your personal and professional life.
Develop others and the next generation
If we want to continue to grow and attract more women in the rental industry, we must seek to develop and train our future women leaders. By engaging with local high schools, tech schools, and community colleges, you can seek out the best and brightest women and encourage them to join the industry. This engagement doesn’t just stop with the rental industry. Take time and network within local communities and serve as mentors to women in other industries as well. You never know when that relationship will pay off and you might even be able to recruit them as your next star new hire. Never stop looking for that strong female candidate to join the team.
While there has been so much effort to create awareness for women in our industry, there’s still a lot of work to be done. By following the example of our current women leaders, we can encourage other women in rental to hire, lead, and develop their fellow women, run successful rental operations, and serve on a board of directors. We simply need more women to join and see the endless possibilities of this growing industry.
Interested in joining ARA Women in Rental? Visit ARArental.org/Women-in-Rental to join our Facebook group and learn more about how you can get involved. Also, don't forget to sign up to join us for the Women in Rental Breakfast at ARAShow.org. Click here to see a sneak peek of what you can expect from this year's speaker!