I have been in the fleet management business for about 20 years – I actually started out in rentals and worked my way up into sales. If I were to guess from what I’ve observed, the ratio of men to women is roughly the same as it was in the 1990s, so it really isn’t changing at the same pace as a lot of other industries. A lot of women that I’ve worked with over the years left this sort of job to work for a more 9-to-5 type role, like at an insurance company or dealership. Not only am I a woman (with kids!) in a male-dominated field, but I’m also African American. Working hard, breaking down barriers and finding balance along the way has taught me a lot over the years. I wanted to share some of my experience with others.
Making it work
During my early days, I was working 12-hour days and I had babies at home. Of course, it was hard, but I felt driven to be professionally successful for myself and for my kids—I had a strong sense of duty to be able to offer them every opportunity in life. I also wanted them to grow up and see their mom have a good work ethic. I did miss some things – some “firsts” – but I am very lucky that I had a great partner in my husband. He was more flexible in his career, which enabled him to be there when I couldn’t.
After about my first 12 years on the job, I felt like I needed a break and tried my hand at being a stay-at-home mom. I had the opportunity to take some time off, so I thought why not? It was a really good time to recalibrate and reassess where I was headed. As much as I appreciated being able to make up for some lost time around my home and family, I started to miss working. I missed my clients! A lot of them had become friends over the years. When I returned to the industry, I was drawn to a smaller company – one that is agile and feels like family. I wanted to be able to work hard and play hard, so I really looked for a place that enables that elusive work-life balance that we all strive for.
New start with the Union Leasing family
Coming to Union Leasing actually wasn’t a difficult decision. Having a passionate and caring woman leading the sales team was a beacon for me – Rhonda cares so much and wants to set everyone up for success. I knew this company was the perfect environment for me to cultivate what I love most: my relationship with my customers and the fleet business. It feels like a family and our customers feel like a part of that too. I don’t want to work for a company that easily forgets that customers are actually people – not numbers. Just like everybody else, customers have jobs and families and endless to-do lists. We exist because our customers need us! So we have to keep evolving with how our customers’ needs are evolving – that truly drives our direction at Union Leasing.
I am excited every day to be part of this company – to feel this energy and the momentum we’re building together. The culture and the management team make all the difference, starting with our parent company Sasser Family Holdings.