Career Progression

How to become… an Area Manager

Holly Penfold is one of our newest Area Managers, responsible for six branches and around 680 cars in Cumbria. In just under five years with Enterprise, Holly has demonstrated that proactive organisation, having a simple plan and developing your people is a great way to get promoted.

Tell me about your career history to date

I graduated from the University of Leeds and started straight at Enterprise after graduation as a Management Trainee in Harrogate in a 140-car branch. I was there for just four months. I then transferred to Leeds City Centre where I completed my MQI in six and a half months and was promoted to Assistant Manager.

It was a busy and intense branch, and I learnt a lot. It built my resilience and taught me to multitask. I didn’t worry if I didn’t have cars available. I quickly learnt there is always a solution.

After 12 months at Leeds City Centre I was promoted to Branch Manager in Knaresborough. I was delighted to achieve a 94% and 97% SQi when I was there. This turnaround got me noticed and I had the opportunity to transfer to Yeadon, which was a bigger branch with a similar business mix.

I found it beneficial to experience a mix of different branches. It helped with my development. After 13 months I moved to Wakefield, another big corporate branch, where I stayed for about 14 months. I reached 27th on balance and 86% 12-month SQi.

It was a busy and intense branch, and I learnt a lot. It built my resilience and taught me to multitask. I didn’t worry if I didn’t have cars available. I quickly learnt there is always a solution.

We developed such a strong team. I then went back to Leeds City Centre to oversee Leeds train station and Enterprise Car Club, responsible for over 400 cars through different lines of business. After four months, I was promoted to Area Manager in Feb 2019.

As a Management Trainee, how did you manage to complete your development folder and balance the needs of the business?

I was proactive and a step ahead. I owned it and always had a plan. I wanted to show I could make an impact on the branch and always know what I had to focus on.

What made you stand out in your Area Manager Interview?

Having worked in many branches I had already built up my brand with our department heads, and a lot of them put me forward when the job came up. I showed how much I cared about my people and how I performed through my team.

What is the most challenging aspect of the transition to Area Manager?

You can’t be everywhere at once. I make an impact through my Branch Managers. Managing remotely is a skill. You need to know what’s important and keep reinforcing these points.

If you could go back to the start, what would you change?

Take a breath, prioritise and focus on what you can control. It always works out. Cars on deals is scratching the surface. See the bigger picture and stay focused on your career plan. Remember why you joined Enterprise and reach out to your network to help on those challenging days.

by Clare Beynon

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