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ARA Women in Rental and Young Professional Network conferences hit all the right notes

by Connie Lannan & Brock Huffstutler

ARA Women in Rental conference 2022The American Rental Association (ARA) Women in Rental and Young Professional Network (YPN) conferences, held concurrently at The Scott Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., Nov. 29-30, offered just what attendees were looking for — valuable networking, inspiration and insight into how to bring their best selves to both their personal and professional lives.

The two conferences offered combined receptions, meals and optional social activities, including hiking up McDowell Mountain, taking a pedal bike tour of historic Scottsdale, having a yoga experience, shopping or taking part in a “giving back” project. Women in Rental Conference attendees were able to help a local women’s domestic abuse shelter and YPN Conference attendees assisted active military abroad.

Dynamic speakers led interactive sessions that offered thought-provoking perspectives and problem-solving skill sets:

  • At the Women in Rental Conference, Sara Frasca presented “The 3 Core Mindsets of Innovation.” Her workshop armed attendees with new, practical tools and fresh ideas for tackling problems and seizing opportunities.
  • At the YPN Conference, Galen Emanuele presented “Transforming Impact: Next Level Leadership, Culture & Feedback.” His workshop showed attendees how to be effective leaders and impact others.

Attendees at both conferences left with new ideas, connections, resources and valuable tools. See what those from Region Three had to say about their conference experiences:

“Scottsdale was fabulous. My favorite part of the conference was the networking. It was so nice to make connections with people in the industry from across the country; you never know when a need [for a contact] will arise. The guest speaker, Sara Frasca, and her session was refreshingly different. I was a corporate trainer. So many times the topics are ones I am very familiar with, but her approach was a new way at looking at our businesses. I also liked that she used other industries — not rental — as examples since it gave us a different perspective,” says Women in Rental conference attendee Patti Whittaker, owner, Cardinal Rents, Charlotte, N.C., who also serves on the ARA of North Carolina board of directors.

Richard Campbell of Boone Rent-All & Parties Too, Boone, N.C., left, and industry peers at the ARA Young Professionals conference

“YPN has always been one of my favorite events of the year, and the Scottsdale conference was no exception,” says Richard Campbell, operations director, Boone Rent-All & Parties Too, Boone, N.C. “It ticked all the boxes: networking with other rental stores from around the country, catching up with friends and learning a ton. It was great holding it beside Women in Rental as well. The two conferences side by side allowed more networking opportunities as well as comparing highlights between the two educational sessions.”

Campbell adds that YPN conference speaker Galen Emanuele “easily leads the pack of group speakers I’ve heard in the past several years. I was pleasantly surprised at how someone with an improv background could speak so deeply into my business and how I interact with employees and customers.  His ‘yes and’ mentality is one I’m working to incorporate into my life as much as possible. His organizational and cultural insights were also very valuable. He provided actionable insights and direction, rather than a feel good, ‘rah rah’ motivational session that lacks substance.”

Of the social/networking aspect of the conferences, Campbell says “any social outing and networking opportunity that includes a beer burro named Nacho is always sure to be a success. Scottsdale certainly did not disappoint and provided a fun place to build relationships and learn from others in the rental industry.”

“Our Women in Rental summit was a perfect blend of networking, professional development and immersive activities,” says Marti Wenzler, Ocala, Fla.-based strategic account manager for Lawson Products, Chicago, and an ARA Women in Rental committee member. “This evolving group is very curious and interested in sharing best practices. We are also eager to nurture each other to ensure success. As women in the industry, attending events like this creates a safe space to find shared interests and commonAttendees at ARA's Young Professionals conference 2022 challenges through networking with like-minded professionals. There is a wonderful and diverse range of experience within the group, so together we can solve just about any equation.”

The Scottsdale YPN conference was the first for Clay Julen, an employee of Creative Solutions Special Events, Gastonia, N.C., who rated it “such a fun experience. Scottsdale was beautiful and the hotel was amazing. Being able to meet and connect with people who have such an array of knowledge about the rental industry was not only great in the moment but also will be an invaluable resource as I continue to grow as a professional in this industry.”

Connections also were the primary takeaways for Ralph Shaw, CERP, operations manager, Elite Events & Rentals, Tampa, Fla. “Developing new relationships, hearing the issues they are dealing with and gaining any insights they have is a great way to trade information to help each other. It’s also nice seeing familiar faces from previous events and cementing those relationships as well.”

Like many YPN and Women in Rental conference attendees, Shaw enjoyed one of the off-site networking events. “I went on the pedal pub historical ride, which was fine, dinner was great with the location and atmosphere, and just walking around the different spots downtown was a great time,” he says.