In honor of Black History Month, we are spotlighting employees from Canada and the U.S. to share their perspective on the month’s meaning, their inspiration and career advice.
Lakisha H., Regional Vice President in Philadelphia, shares why it’s important for her to shine a light on how Black people have contributed to the history of all people.
Describe your career path with Enterprise.
I was fortunate to start as a Management Trainee in Southern California under a Branch Manager who shared my alma mater, UCLA. She displayed and quickly engrained in me Enterprise leadership values: how to motivate, inspire and build up my teammates.
I quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to Area Manager in less than 5 years. I moved to the Business Rental Department to gain a new skill set. At that time, I was a single mother, and I wanted to continue to move my career forward and be an example for my daughter.
My time in the Philadelphia area has been an amazing experience, where my daughter and I have developed a strong support system personally and professionally, which has allowed me to perform at a high level. This yielded a promotion to Regional Rental Manager and then ultimately a promotion to Regional Vice President.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
This is a time to celebrate the history and highlight contributions and accomplishments of Black Americans that often go unnoticed. This month is a reminder of the resilience, determination, leadership and the inspiration of a rich history. It is important to be a voice for more people to understand and celebrate the larger narrative of the contributions of Black Americans to the United States.
This month we honor our history while recognizing current and, undeniable, future challenges. We do this to move toward an equitable future and to be fully cognizant of where we are today. This history is engrained in our culture – American culture. Black history is not just about famous people or those with recognizable names and accomplishments. Black history should be a year-round focus, and keeping people engaged in the learning process outside of February feels challenging, but necessary.
Is there a Black leader, past or present, who inspires you?
Many inspire me, but I’ll specifically call out Olivia J. Hooker. She lived through the Black Wall Street Massacre of 1921.
Mrs. Hooker’s story rings of resilience. As a child, she witnessed horror firsthand that could have paralyzed so many of her aspirations. Yet she persevered and continued to push forward, to achieve her dreams.
Olivia wanted to serve the American people and became an activist for Black women. She was the first Black woman to enlist and serve in the U.S. Coast Guard. She also earned a doctorate in psychology and became a professor at Fordham University.
Olivia demonstrated that you might be on a path that is challenging, but if you continue to push forward you can achieve anything you want. She displayed pride and resilience beautifully, and she is an inspiration to me.
What keeps you at Enterprise?
I enjoy what I do because I can positively impact others. People at Enterprise are great, and we sharpen each other. I’ve been mentored by amazing people, and I’m now able to pay that forward and impact both the people and the business positively.
What has surprised you most about working at Enterprise?
The strong mentorship and how colleagues genuinely care about moving each other forward.
I’m a first-generation college graduate. My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic and belief that I needed to work hard to excel. It’s been surreal witnessing how much people want to help others and invest in their careers, including mine. There’s been a surprising aspect of fostering future leaders and moving people forward.
I’ve had numerous mentors along the way—different mentors for different reasons. I look for mentors who excel in areas I’m looking to improve upon.
Now, more than anything, I look for a genuine connection that leads to freely sharing constructive criticism. There should never be a point where you go without having someone you look to for advice and wisdom.
Is there an Enterprise Holdings program that has impacted you, or that you find motivating/encouraging?
On a national level, the connections and impact of the Diversity Team are outstanding, and the ROAD Forward program is evidence that the company isn’t only investing time and initiatives, but also money. Our company is standing behind an equitable future, and it’ll take every one of us to bring that future into existence.
In the Greater Philadelphia area, I’m proud to have helped develop our local diversity initiative, called Power Up. The diversity of our leadership needs to mirror that of our communities and this initiative addresses the gap.
The participants in the year-long program are BIPOC managers with potential to be promoted in the next 12-18 months. Participants receive training in many aspects of the business and have direct exposure to leaders who could help them advance in their careers.
What is the best career advice you have received?
Be mindful of your personal brand and consider how you want people to see you. What’s said about you when you’re not in the room is important.
Anyone you meet can be a door to a new opportunity, and this leads to you ending up with sponsors—not just mentors.
In honor of Black History Month, we are spotlighting employees from Canada and the U.S. Read more about Jasmin W., Area Rental Manager in Alberta, Canada.READ MORE
Meet Errin Braddock, Enterprise Holdings’ first Chief Diversity Officer. Here, he shares his perspective on his newly minted role and vision for the future.READ MORE
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