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

by Connie Lannan

Attendees of the Women in Rental and Young Professional Network conferences in Arizona

Attendees of the Women in Rental and Young Professional Network conferences in Arizona

The 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.

First-time Young Professional Conference attendee Joelyn Caprine, CERP, director of sales/operations, 24/7 Events, Valencia, Calif., took part in the giveback project. “I helped with the boxes for the military. It was nice to be able to put our mark and do something to give back to those who are serving our country — and just in time for the holidays,” she says.

Young Professional Network Committee member Meghann Lovlein, co-owner and director of accounts payable and marketing, A Tool Shed, Santa Cruz, Calif., who serves on the ARA of California board, took part in the pedal bike tour of Scottsdale. “It was great. I had never been to Scottsdale, so learning the history was awesome. It also offered another opportunity to network with those at the conference, which 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.

Frasca’s presentation offered insight for first-time Women in Rental Conference participant Bridget Doherty, owner and president, Encore Events Rentals, Windsor, Calif. “Her focus was on creativity, or what she termed innovation, at your company. For people like myself, creativity is not my starting point as a business owner. I am more operationally and fact-focused. It was good to call out creativity in your company by being open to ideas, being encouraging and having an environment where people feel comfortable giving and not afraid to be wrong. It was a very interactive session and we worked through some activities that were meant to increase the innovation at our company, which I thought was great,” she says.

Kassie Breslin, left, and Bridget Doherty

Kassie Breslin, left, and Bridget Doherty

Caprine also received a great deal from Emanuele’s presentation. “I liked that he talked a lot about the ‘yes/and’ culture, which is really current to what we all are experiencing and seeing in the workplace. The one thing that stuck out with me was the importance of feedback from your team, providing you feedback as a leader and then you providing feedback to your team — creating that two-way conversation and how important that is. He reminded each individual to be present and really focus on the employees you are talking with and the importance of that. Being present is not just looking at someone and having eye contact, but fully understanding every word before gathering your own answer and the importance of the yes/and culture,” she says.

Lovlein agrees, particularly about his emphasis on creating a culture of feedback. “I liked the aspect of asking your employees to give you feedback and not just you giving them feedback — always asking what you are doing great, what areas you can improve upon and what they would like to see from you that would make it better — a 10 out of 10,” she says.

Upon returning from the conference, she took Emanuele’s advice and created her own culture DNA code. “That was great. We talk about core values and how we are going to put them in action, what I want to leave as my personal legacy — being a mentor and leader, what makes me tick, and my strengths and weaknesses. It gave me insight into who I am as a leader and how I can be a better leader,” Lovlein says.

Attendees at both conferences left with new ideas, connections, resources and valuable tools.

For Doherty it was the opportunity “to network with others in the industry, meet new people and discuss issues — whether talking about new products you carry, hiring practices or other topics. It was just having the chance to expand your network. It is easier to reach out because you are in smaller group settings, offering you more ability to make connections within the industry over lunch, coffee, dinner, etc.,” she says.

Caprine agrees. “The value is in the networking with all the individuals I met. I attended not knowing a single soul and came back with many connections from all over the U.S. — ones that I will keep for a long time. We already have plans to reconnect at The ARA Show™,” she says.

For Lovlein, networking also was key, as was “understanding my role as a leader and how I want to present myself in a leadership role. Creating the DNA code was a big takeaway and helped me understand who I want to be and who I want my employees to see. That was a big value,” she says.

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