Career Progression

Want to be an area manager?

After relocating from Ireland, Claire Graham began her career with Enterprise in 2012 as a management trainee and was promoted to assistant manager after just 12 months. Six months down the line, she was promoted to branch manager and moved to a seven-day branch location. As a branch manager she worked on turning around underperforming branches and climbed up the balance analysis. Recently promoted to area manager, Claire tells Sarah Knight about her new role.

What made you apply for a job at Enterprise?

I first heard about Enterprise through a friend. The fast progression of ‘promotion from within’ appealed to me but I had no idea just how quickly this would happen.

What is a typical day like for you as an area manager?

No two days are the same, which is what I love. As an area manager there can be a lot of demands on you and the key is to stay organised and prioritise. I try not to spend too much time travelling and make sure I plan my weeks in advance so I get the most out of my time with each branch.

I focus a great deal on developing my team – the more effort I put in the more I will get out.

What was the biggest difference from branch manager to area manager?

I think females tend to have this mentality of trying to do everything themselves but I quickly learned I couldn’t do that. As a branch manager you have visibility of what is happening in your branch but now I manage several branches, which is geographically challenging. I’ve learned to focus my attention on developing my managers into leaders.

What challenges have you faced as an area manager?

I’ve always surrounded myself with the best people and now have such a great support network. Since being a trainee, I’ve worked on developing my personal brand so when I do have a challenge I know who to reach out to. Because I have built up that relationship they are willing to help.

How do you manage your work/life balance?

I live by my Outlook Calendar! It’s all about planning and making time for what you want to achieve. Some days I start earlier and some days I finish later but that’s my choice. Time management is something we can all improve on but you have to sit down, work out a plan and be consistent.

What is the secret to your success?

I use what I call my ‘Ops Plan’ on a daily basis to ensure I’m focusing on the core areas of the business and making my time productive. I focus a great deal on developing my team – the more effort I put in the more I will get out.

What is the next step for you?

I want to finish top five in the balance analysis. I’m willing to relocate and would like the opportunity to work with an under-performing area and build it up.

What’s the best bit of advice you can give to our readers?

Surround yourself with the best people and never give up.

by Sarah Knight

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