We spoke with Carolyn Kindle, Vice President and Executive Director of the Enterprise Holdings Foundation to learn more about her perspective on the business. Here are her answers:
The Enterprise Holdings Foundation has contributed more than $230 million to thousands of non-profit efforts; what are the Foundation’s philanthropic strategies and objectives?
Since the company was founded, we’ve always focused on giving back to the community and helping to make a real difference where our employees and customers live and work. That vision and philosophy still drives the efforts of the Foundation today.
Our overall approach to charitable giving focuses on four areas: matching employee contributions to local United Way campaigns, providing assistance to organizations that are actively supported by employees, assisting relief projects for natural disasters and providing grants to nonprofit groups that have a strategic or social importance to our company and employees.
As our business continues to grow, we’re working to extend that same spirit of support and care to thousands of communities around the world.
How does the Foundation support employees’ personal philanthropic interests?
The Foundation is unique because the giving efforts are truly employee-driven. More than 85 percent of our grants go to organizations that our employees actively support – whether that’s through volunteer efforts or serving on the organization’s board. I think this speaks volumes about our employees’ involvement in their local communities and Enterprise Holdings’ commitment to supporting the causes that truly matter to them. From food banks to animal shelters, the Foundation is proud to support a wide spectrum of organizations.
Where has your career taken you at Enterprise?
I started my career at Enterprise as an intern for the Tulsa Group (now called the Southwest Group) while attending the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. After graduation, I accepted a Management Trainee position within the Group and worked my way up to Assistant Manager at the Tulsa airport before moving back to St. Louis in 2001 to work for Fleet Management.
Two years later, I moved to the Insurance Replacement management team, where I was responsible for local corporate accounts. In 2007, I was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Rental supporting the Southeast region.
In 2010 I began to focus on philanthropy and community relations. As the secretary for the Crawford Taylor Foundation [the Taylor family charitable trust focused on giving back to the St. Louis community], I reviewed grant requests and learned about issues effecting the St. Louis community. I also had the opportunity to learn more about the foundation’s giving strategy. I knew immediately that was my calling and the direction I saw my career heading. In January 2013, I became Vice President and Executive Director of the Enterprise Holdings Foundation. Giving back and helping our communities is a true passion of mine so working for the foundation has been a great fit. I love hearing about the great work our employees are doing and how they continue to give back to the communities where we do business. It’s truly a win-win for everyone.
What are your thoughts on leadership and what advice would you give to new managers?
Leaders in the company need to first and foremost be good listeners. When you listen, there is always something you will learn that can help your employees, the customers, the business or even yourself.
But equally important as listening is also being a team player. I believe that if you are going to ask someone to do something, you have to be open and prepared to do it yourself. Throughout my career, I’ve always admired how the leaders of our organization will jump in whenever it’s needed. I’ve even seen General Managers wash cars before. It’s that team player mentality that really sets Enterprise apart from the competition. Our company culture is what makes Enterprise a great place to work – and management sets the tone for driving that culture.