We’re celebrating Women’s History Month by highlighting the stories and achievements of women who #choosetochallenge every day at Enterprise.
Today, we’re featuring Enterprise President & CEO Chrissy Taylor, who was recently featured by Women Leading Travel & Hospitality on its annual list of top women executives in the travel and hospitality industry. Click here to read the full report, and keep reading for Chrissy’s thoughts on leadership, balance and lessons from the pandemic.
Why do you love travel and hospitality?
I take a huge amount of pride and satisfaction in leading a company that helps people get from Point A to Point B, taking them where they need to go in their daily lives. I also love being part of the travel industry because travel really does enrich our lives and broaden our perspectives. It gets you out of your comfort zone to go see new places and experience new things. And I think that’s something we need as much of as we can get these days.
What’s the biggest challenge you encountered while rising in this industry? How did you overcome it?
I’m the third generation Taylor family member to lead this company, following my father, Andy Taylor, and grandfather, Jack Taylor. I grew up in the car rental industry listening to my family talk business around the dinner table. While I knew a lot about the industry coming in, I learned quickly there was so much still to learn and of the importance of listening first.
Who is a woman leader that you admire, and why?
I have to give a big shout-out to Enterprise’s former CEO, Pam Nicholson. Pam was a mentor to me from the day I started working at the rental counter. She was an incredible help to me along the way, and I learned an awful lot from watching her lead our team and grow the company.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I’d describe it as collaborative. There’s an old saying that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. And it’s absolutely true. I’m surrounded by a talented team and I’ve learned the importance of leaning on them. My team makes me better. And I don’t take that for granted.
What advice would you like to share with the next generation of women leaders?
First, I’d tell them that when you’re just starting out, there’s a lot you don’t know. That can be scary, but you have to remember that everything you don’t know is a new opportunity to learn and grow. So, ask lots of questions. Be open to new experiences.
One of the most exciting parts of a new job is learning that job and looking for ways to do it better and better. It’s also important to look around, identify senior people you admire, and engage them as mentors. I owe much of my success to the fact that I’ve had really great mentors. Now I’m paying that forward by mentoring others and helping them on their journeys.
How do you balance your work and life responsibilities?
I think my husband and I do it the way most working couples do — through good teamwork. Also, when I get home from work, even if it has been a long day, I put all of my focus and effort on our girls. Whether that be helping them with homework, talking about gymnastics or playing games, that time is so precious to me. It’s also a big help that we have a supportive network of family and friends to help as well.
What’s your favorite hobby?
I’m a former college field hockey player and fitness is very important to me. I’m always looking for opportunities to be active, whether that’s swimming, going to our local parks or a dance party with my girls.
What’s the best trip you’ve ever taken?
The trips I always look forward to the most are visits to London with my family. It’s like going home as my husband is British. Different perspectives and culture, which my girls just soak up.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned while leading through the pandemic?
I’ve learned never to underestimate the Enterprise team’s ability to solve problems and overcome challenges. This pandemic is by far the greatest challenge our company and our industry have ever faced — greater than 9/11 and the Great Recession combined. We’ve had to make some very difficult, but necessary decisions to protect the long-term viability of our company. And I’m in awe of the way our team has risen to that challenge. They reacted quickly. And they’ve shown amazing creativity and resourcefulness as they’ve solved one problem after another. Their dedication to serving our customers has put us in a favorable position to keep weathering this storm. I can’t thank our team enough for all they’ve done to make that happen.
What technology or trend do you believe will have the biggest impact on the industry in 2021?
Since COVID-19 is going to be with us well into 2021, I think it will be the continuing challenge of helping people feel safe when they travel and giving them more control over their travel experience. At Enterprise, we’ve been addressing that in a number of ways. Earlier this year, we implemented our Complete Clean Pledge, which is a program of enhanced cleaning and sanitizing of every vehicle before every rental. And we recently reinforced that with a new initiative with Clorox to put disinfecting wipes in every vehicle we rent. It’s one more way to help customers feel confident and have extra peace of mind as they begin to travel again, and it’s an industry first in car rental. At the same time, we’re giving customers more control over their experience through what we call our Low Touch No Touch initiative. It’s about finding ways to reduce customer contact and make our operations more efficient while creating a better customer experience.
Click here to read the full 2021 Top Women in Travel & Hospitality Report.
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