My career with Enterprise started in 1999. I joined as part of a programme where a select group of UK employees went to the United States for an intensive year and a half training programme. The idea was simple – as Management Trainees we were expected to learn everything about the business so that we could then come back ready to grow Enterprise in the UK.
My traineeship was in Kansas City. I loved the city and especially the people I met at Enterprise, many of whom I am still friends with today. When I came back I worked in Scotland and I rapidly progressed through the ranks – I opened several new branches and quickly became an Area Manager in Glasgow. Up to that point not being out at work wasn’t really an issue as it was a period of tremendous growth for Enterprise so I was extremely busy building my team and the business and it was a really exciting and fun time.
However, a couple of things happened that helped bring everything into focus. While in Glasgow I started living with my partner, and suddenly I realised that my work life didn’t match up with my personal life. At the time I was a member of our internal Diversity Committee, and on several occasions, we debated LGBT issues – but I felt I couldn’t really speak up and contribute my point of view as I felt I couldn’t speak with authority and from personal experience, as nobody at work knew I was gay.
Maybe you’ve been in my situation, or are experiencing now what I went through at the time: not telling the entire truth when asked about what I did at the weekend or on holiday, or not being able to bring your partner at work events. It was frustrating not being able to have clear and honest conversations with my colleagues and managers about my plans and aspirations for my career with Enterprise.
My turning point came when I hit 30. I realised I wanted to be more open in my life. I realised I couldn’t continue leading the life I had led up to that point. I came out to my family and friends, and I had an extremely positive reaction. At work, I had very supportive mentors who encouraged me to make the leap, including the General Manager for Scotland, Diane Mulholland, our European HR Director, Donna Miller. The whole experience was extremely comforting after so many years of not really being myself at work.
The day I came out was the day I started to excel in my career. From Area Manager, I took on the responsibility of Group Sales Director and grew the team over the next 6 years. We had an enormous amount of fun growing the department and were delighted when we were ranked the number 1 Business Rental department worldwide in 2017.
The thing I love about Enterprise is that hard work and excellent performance are always recognised and sure enough, soon after this I was promoted to my current role of Assistant Vice President of Business Rental for Europe where I work with the teams across Europe to build a world-class Business Rental Product.
I firmly believe that I wouldn’t have been as successful as I am now without being authentic – without being myself. One of the most important things that I try to do now is to be visible. I think it is so important for people from all diverse backgrounds to see that there are people that they can relate to who are thriving in their work environment. Today at Enterprise there are lots of LGBT role models however it is essential that we keep the conversation going as studies show that many people who are out at university go back into the closet when they graduate and join an organisation. I want people to know that they should not feel this way when they join Enterprise. The only way to achieve this is to be a visible role model for others who may be struggling with their own personal situation – a responsibility myself and many other senior leaders in the company take very seriously.
We work hard to make sure that we provide every employee with an inclusive workplace that offers the respect, training and opportunities to succeed. It’s simply who we are as a company, who we are as individuals and the very foundation of our continued success.
We wouldn’t be here without bright graduates like you. Nearly 100% of our employees started on our graduate scheme. Our internship opportunities and graduate programme offers immediate responsibility, unrivalled business training, and fantastic prospects. Join us and you’ll learn our business from the ground up as well as get the chance to play a significant role in seeing it succeed.