At Enterprise we know that you’ll only be able to perform at your very best if you have the freedom to be yourself. So providing an open and inclusive working environment where employees can be their true selves is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also what makes us successful. Paul tells us how he came out late in his personal and professional life, and how he’s realised how important LGBT role models are in helping colleagues thrive in their work environment.
What is your role at Enterprise?
Assistant Vice President / Director, Business Rental Sales, Europe
When I finished university I worked for 3 months as a ride operator on the Jersey Shore
Why do you enjoy working for Enterprise?
Were do I start? I guess that would have to be the people. No matter what part of the country or indeed what country I have worked in with Enterprise, the people that I have worked with and work with today are like family. The other things I love about working for Enterprise are the autonomy you get from a very early stage of starting with the company and then the career progression that follows.
How does Enterprise support LGBT+ employees and allies?
I am constantly amazed and humbled at the support that Enterprise offers LGBT+ employees. There is always something going on: from regular diversity events, local LGBT+ networking groups, giving staff time including charity days to support local LGBT+ youth mentoring groups to LGBT+ mental health awareness events. One of the other really positive aspects of Enterprise is that there are both formal and informal mentoring programs run by both LGBT+ employees and straight allies who invest a lot of their time into making sure that the company is a welcoming place for all employees regardless of sexual orientation.
Tell us about your career with Enterprise. How did you start and how did you get to where you are now?
When I graduated from University in 1999 with a Marketing degree, I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to go from there, but I knew I liked sales and I knew I liked working with people. I saw an advertisement in the local newspaper (this is how long ago it was!) to go and work for Enterprise as a Management Trainee in America for 18 months and then return to Scotland to continue my career.
I thought the opportunity sounded amazing, so I applied and was fortunate enough to get the job. I started as a Management Trainee in Kansas City, Missouri and after a year or so was promoted to Management Assistant and soon after Assistant Manager. I was quickly promoted to Branch Manager and couldn’t believe after only 2 years I was managing a team of 6 or 7 people and a fleet of over 100 cars.
After a couple of years, I moved back to Scotland and moved around many different branch locations to gain experience of a variety of different business areas. Soon after I moved to manage the Aberdeen branch, I was promoted to Area manager. After only 5 years with the company, I was responsible for a fleet of 800 cars, a team of 50 people, and I was negotiating leases on new properties to help our expansion. After managing 2 areas over 7 years, I took the opportunity to become the Group Risk Manager where I was responsible for minimising the company losses associated with our assets and overall business activities.
I was promoted to Group Sales Director for Scotland, after 2 years of being a Group Risk Manager. My sales team and I secured many large customers both from the public and private sector and we were really proud to have finished as the number one sales team worldwide in 2017 because of the growth we had achieved.
The key thing I love about Enterprise is that hard work and performance are always recognised and sure enough soon after this achievement I was promoted to my current role which is Assistant Vice President of Business Rental for Europe and recently relocated to our European Head Office. In my new role I am responsible for working with the sales teams primarily in France, Germany and Spain and ensuring that we are unlocking the maximum growth potential in each of these markets. I am so fortunate to work with the most talented and professional sales people in the industry and of course one of the perks of the job is that I get to travel to these countries most weeks!!
Did you feel you needed to come out to your colleagues? How did they react?
I absolutely felt the need to come out to my colleagues but not through any pressure from them, more from the point of view of bringing my whole self to work. I came out as gay, quite late (30) both in my personal and professional life and, as I am sure most people who go through this experience feel, I wish I had done it much sooner as every aspect of my life improved. From a work point of view, I can almost point to the day when I started to excel in what I was doing because I no longer had to miss important parts of my life out, like what I was doing at the weekend or who I was going on holiday with – it was a massive relief!
What has been your experience with being out? Have you ever had a particularly bad or good experience because of your sexual orientation at work?
I can honestly say I have not had one negative experience of being out at Enterprise, quite the opposite. Every single person was so supportive of my coming out and husband Gordon is part of the Enterprise family.
What changes or improvements have you implemented within Enterprise as an LGBT role model that has made us a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
One of the most important things that I try to do now is to be visible. I think it is so important for people to see that there are others from their same background that they can relate to, and more importantly who are thriving in their work environment.
What is the most important thing that Enterprise does that ensures we work in a diverse and inclusive workplace?
Promoting people based on their performance, ability and attitude regardless of whether they happen to belong to a particular diversity strand.
How important is it to provide a diverse and inclusive workplace? For business / colleagues / recruitment?
I often hear perfectly well-intentioned people either in the media or in everyday life say ‘do we still need to be talking about this, surely everyone is fine with the whole LGBT+ thing, we have marriage equality and equal rights?’ Studies show that a high percentage of graduates who are openly LGBT+ at university go back into the closet when they start their career. This is something I really want to make sure is not the case at Enterprise as I know from personal experience that people only excel when they can be their true selves at work.
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