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

by Connie Lannan

ARA members in Region Four who attended the Women in Rental ConferenceThe 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.

Amanda Jones, CERP, owner, Tyler Tents and Events, Tyler, Texas, who serves as Texas Rental Association treasurer, thoroughly enjoyed the combined activities. “I attended the Women in Rental Conference and took part in the hike. The guides on the hike were really knowledgeable. I really liked learning about the local area, the preserve, the flora and the fauna. And on the hike, I saw one of the guys from the YPN who I had met when I first joined the group. We had been going to YPN events for a couple of years. It was so nice to catch up with him, see how he survived the pandemic, how his team was handling things as well as talk with him about his personal life. That was great,” she says.

Dynamic speakers also led interactive sessions that offered thought-provoking perspectives and problem-solving skills:

  • 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.

Women in Rental and YPN conference attendeesBoth Tyler and first-time Women in Rental Conference attendee Jennifer Rodriguez, CERP, general manager, Marianne’s Rentals, Oklahoma City, who serves as ARA of Oklahoma secretary, thought Frasca’s presentation was just what they needed.

“She was tremendous,” Rodriguez says. “Within the first five minutes she was completely relatable. I completely understood what she was saying. Her message and content were great, teaching us that we can solve any problem we have and here are five different ways to solve the same problem. I think I am a good problem-solver, but I learned so much. I like how she said that learning how to solve these big problems takes practice. You have to be willing to exercise your brain on a regular basis. The next time we do something again, it will be easier because we will have better learned how to solve problems. I also liked how she told us to be a market disrupter — that if you are not constantly pushing yourself, growing and solving the problems that come your way, someone will come along and do it better. She emphasized that we must remain the source of disruption or we will be disrupted. That was so good. Our business started that way. We were the disrupter. That was a good reminder that we have to keep doing that,” she says.

“I really enjoyed her energy and how she related it to our industry and pushed for us to be creative and think outside the box,” Jones says. “I feel more empowered. We all have a lot of challenges right now. Sometimes we zone in on how it’s been and how we have done it in the past. It is hard to shake ourselves up without someone from outside the box to come in and do that. I feel like she spun us all around, shook us up and made us look at things differently. That was great to bring back to the team and be empowered to change how we think about hiring, advertising to our clients or handling problems within the rental business. That was very valuable. I enjoyed her thoroughly and was glad that she was there.”

Women in Rental Conference attendeesAttendees at both conferences left with new ideas, connections, resources and valuable tools.

Tyler and Rodriguez are happy they attended.

“As much as I enjoyed the speaker, I gained the most value from talking with other people in the business outside of my direct area and competition. It offered a bit of bonding with people who understand, who have gone through or are going through the same things as me. These women get it. We laughed together, which helps release that stress and allows you to develop friendships that you can call on when you are back at your store. The whole event was invaluable,” Tyler says.

Rodriguez agrees. “When you sit in a room with people who have or have had the same problems and struggles, there is a sense of confidence, a renewed purpose and energy that comes from knowing that you are not the only one in the fight. I had the ability to talk with old friends and refill my cup and meet new friends. I came back re-energized, motivated and focused,” she says.

Click here to learn more about YPN. For information on Women in Rental, click here.