The making of a mentor

4.27.17.Inez FBRegional Vice President Inez F. has many accolades associated with her name: She was the first female Branch Manager to oversee Enterprise’s airport operation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; she was one of 90 U.S. employees selected to participate in Enterprise Holdings’ first North American Corporate Minority Forum; and she served on the North American Diversity/Career and Family Focus Team.

How did she grow a career while earning this many marks of distinction?

It all began when she asked to participate in the company’s Formal Mentoring Program as a Management Trainee.

Raising her hand

“I wanted to get involved as soon as I heard about the mentoring program,” says Inez, who grew up in Belize and moved to the U.S. to attend the University of South Florida. “I knew I could perform well, but I needed to learn how to establish and grow my network, too.”

Fortunately, Inez grasped that skill and so much more.

As one of more than 10,000 employees who have participated in the program, Inez realized what she needed to do to succeed in a leadership position long before taking the reins. “I received honest feedback from my mentor,” Inez recalls. “It wasn’t always the advice I wanted to hear, but being part of the program made me better.”

The fundamentals

To date, 58 operating groups in North America take part in the program. The year-long commitment aims to develop future leaders, improve retention and employee satisfaction, and increase diversity within the company’s management ranks.

In addition to discussing common workplace situations, mentor and mentee pairs meet monthly and participate in coaching workshops. Through these sessions, mentees learn about preparing for promotions, motivating employees, managing work-life balance and building the kind of relationships that can help drive the business forward.

Paying it forward

Inez uses her experience as a mentee to better serve as a mentor. In fact, she has formally mentored employees for over five years.

“My mentees open my eyes to things I haven’t realized before and in return, I provide honest feedback and fair, constructive criticism.”

Inez also rallies her entire team to embrace the mentorship mentality.

“There is so much to learn from each other. I ask my area managers to informally mentor branch managers. They must then informally mentor someone else. This cycle trickles down throughout our entire team, and the result is a strong, collaborative work environment with plenty of growth opportunities.”