Martia Brown celebrated her 14-year anniversary at Enterprise Holdings with a promotion to Assistant Vice President in July 2020. In today’s workforce where job-hopping is considered the new normal, it might be hard to imagine staying with one company that long, yet Brown is thriving in her career. “This was my first job out of college and this will be my one and only career,” said Brown in a recent interview with Fairygodboss.
But she didn’t achieve her success by herself. Brown credits the company’s various training programs as well as its leadership for the ongoing career development she’s received. Today, Brown is returning the favor by offering her time and the valuable lessons she’s learned to other employees looking for help. “I try to make myself available at all times. It’s very important that you can reach back and pull other people forward so that they can continue to set the example,” she says.
Below, the recognized mentor gave us insights on how she’s grown a successful career at Enterprise and how to make the most of mentorship relationships.
Tell us a bit about your job. What’s your current role, and what did your career path look like prior to being in this role?
I’ve been with the company for 14 years. I started as an intern back in 2006 after college. I fell in love with the company, the people and culture. I'm currently AVP of our North Central Operations as of this past summer. I love this role and serving as a consultant to the field operators. I help oversee 12 operating groups in the North Central part of the U.S. I spend the majority of my days talking to leadership across my region, where we discuss ideas and ways to improve the overall business.
What’s your favorite part of your job? And what about your company?
Every day is different. One of my most favorite things is knowing I’m going to wake up and there's going to be a new challenge, and I get to think strategically to find solutions. I don't want to do the same thing every single day. The leadership at Enterprise is amazing - I absolutely love my current boss Bridget, and all the other leaders I worked with before her. I’ve had awesome leadership throughout my career, and that's really helped me with the longevity here. Another thing that I love is that I’ve been able to find balance as a working mom at Enterprise. My team, and the organization as a whole, has been supportive of me in both motherhood and my career.
Why is this type of work important to Enterprise as an organization?
When I assist our operating groups with their overall performance, I get to visit with the men and women who are on the front lines of our business, keeping the doors open in our neighborhood and airport operations. I love getting to meet these teams in real life and see the things they are doing. We use the feedback we receive from them to make enhancements through technology, reporting and other programs. It’s satisfying to be able to listen to their feedback and implement a change that will ultimately make things easier for them.
Tell me a little bit about the professional development programs and opportunities offered by Enterprise.
Two programs come to mind: our Formal Mentor Program, which I became a part of early in my career as an assistant manager, and the Minority Action Committee (MAC). When I worked in Tennessee, I co-founded the committee after a diversity meeting that I attended at the corporate headquarters. We started it from the ground up and eight years later, the program is still running in Tennessee. The team meets quarterly and focuses on community and career engagement. Promotions are tracked throughout the year and celebrated at each meeting.
How have you used your role as a mentor and as a leader to help bring up other women alongside you?
Reaching back to pull forward is something that I strongly believe in. From my first time as a manager to now as an AVP, I've always made myself available to a wide range of employees at different points in their careers. When I started as an intern, there were not as many women in leadership roles, but now we have some great examples like my SVP Bridget and our CEO Chrissy Taylor. I make sure that I reach back to encourage and ensure others that I am there to promote and support anyone who asks. I try to make myself available at all times. It’s very important that you can reach back and pull other people forward so that they can continue to set the example.
How has being a mentor/sponsor enriched your own work experience? How do you make time for that sort of mentorship?
Balance. Time is something you will never get back. You can’t replace time, so just make sure you stick to your schedule and that you’re balanced. I am a mentor, a wife, a sister, a mother, and many other things that keep me balanced, inside and outside of the workplace. Stick to your schedule and don’t overcommit yourself.
How has Enterprise adapted to the pandemic as a company?
Three things have helped us adapt to this pandemic: the people, awesome leadership with Chrissy Taylor as our President and CEO, and technology. One example that comes to mind is we have a mobile device called a LaunchPad, which allows us to virtually write tickets to deliver a car to a customer. Especially in the midst of this pandemic, we've been able to provide customers with what we call “a low-touch, no-touch” rental option using that mobile device.
What’s one thing your company does — whether a formal policy or program — that you think is particularly unique or unexpected?
One of our newest initiatives, which I am particularly excited about, is the Enterprise Holdings ROAD Forward Initiative. It’s our plan over the next five years to put our time, energy and efforts back into underserved communities -with a specific commitment to young people of color in underserved communities. We’ve partnered with four nationally renowned nonprofit organizations – The Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, UNCF, Girls Inc. and Parents as Teachers to bring meaningful impact to local youth and families. The operating groups are really excited about the work we will be able to do in our communities over the next five years, and the stamp that Enterprise will be leaving behind. We’re talking about bridging generational gaps and providing opportunities to women and children that wouldn't otherwise have been there.
What advice would you share with women who are looking for development opportunities?
Your mentors don’t have to look like you. That’s the best piece of advice I can give to anyone. You just have to align your goals with their goals. Reach out to people who are career-minded and goal-oriented, who will help you push yourself to the next level, because that’s really what mentorship is all about. Mentorship is friendship, but it’s really having someone who will motivate you and pull you to the next level. My advice would be to pair up with someone who’s going to push you to reach your goals and hold you accountable to the accomplishments that you plan to achieve.
What surprised you about being mentored? What was something you learned that you did not expect to?
When you have a mentor, that person will be honest with you. Sometimes we go into mentorship expecting friendship. We want the nice, warm, bubbly feeling all the time, but our mentors will be brutally honest with us and push us to the next level. If your mentor isn’t challenging you, you might just be in a friendship. That’s something I learned from being a mentee that I took with me when I became a mentor — I needed to have honest conversations with my mentees, even if it wasn’t what they wanted to hear. You can’t make decisions or changes if you don't know you have challenges.
Is there anything else you care to share about your experience at Enterprise?
Enterprise is an amazing company to work for. This was my first job out of college and I hope it will be my one and only career. The company leadership is amazing; they truly lead by example. The career path is also very clear, through training programs and development opportunities. Promotions are based on performance, and we pride ourselves on promoting from within. Enterprise provides you with the tools to achieve your goals and surrounds you with successful people. If you’re looking for a rewarding career, I highly recommend Enterprise because they care about you, your success, and your professional development.
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