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Learning from others - ARA Mentoring Program helps with personal growth and leadership development

by Connie Lannan

Sarah Bolich recently took over the helm of her family’s mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) rental operation, Arrow Lifts Rentals Corp. in Dallas, from her father. As the new CEO and owner, she wanted the opportunity to learn from others in the industry to further develop and grow as the new leader of her organization. When she learned about the American Rental Association’s (ARA) new Mentoring Program, she jumped at the chance.

“I wanted the opportunity to learn from someone else in the industry. My father was always my role model growing up, but as I got further into the family business and my own personal development, I recognized that I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” Bolich says, adding that “it never hurts to make outside connections, have other input and broaden your knowledge.”

Stephanie Rajzbaum, vice president of operations, Durante Rentals, New Rochelle, N.Y., has spent the past 13 years working in the equipment rental industry. Much of that time was at Herc Rentals, where she also served as a mentor for various employees.

When Rajzbaum heard about this new pilot mentoring program through the ARA Women in Rental Facebook group, she was excited.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to meet new people in the industry, network and share knowledge,” she says. “I submitted my application in which I outlined that my strengths cover operations, financial acumen and process improvement. I explained what my experience was and why I wanted to be a mentor. I was thrilled when they chose me and I learned that I would be paired with Sarah.”

Their first meeting was via Zoom in July 2021.

“The first was more of a get-to-know-each-other-type of meeting before we established goals. One thing that was really important for me to share was that everything we talked about would be completely confidential. Any question she had, I was ready to talk through with her and share how I would approach it,” Rajzbaum says.

Since that first meeting, Bolich and Rajzbaum have been connecting at least once a month, many times more than that, primarily via Zoom and also in person at The ARA Show™ 2021 in Las Vegas. The goal has been to share ideas, look at best practices and be a resource for each other.

Both say they have gained much from these interactions.

“Stephanie has been a wonderful resource because of her experience in various companies,” Bolich says. “She has provided insight for me on certain topics and industry standards that I wouldn’t be able to receive from others within my business. She has offered advice and guidance, pushing me to look at the bigger picture. She is a constant reminder that I need to work on the business vs. in the business.”

For Rajzbaum, it has “been very interesting to learn about Sarah’s company. Even though we are in the same industry, we have different approaches and experiences. I worked at Herc Rentals for many years and started my new job at Durante Rentals a few months ago. The timing for this mentoring opportunity was ideal. From a personal standpoint, it has been great to get to know her. Our conversations have impacted my way of thinking. We discuss everything from women-owned businesses to difficult conversations with employees and how we have each approached these situations. This has been very beneficial for both of us. Sarah is a valued person in my network who I can reach out to,” she says.

The ARA Mentoring Program, which will become an ARA Foundation program supporting the education pillar on July 1, is open to all industry members. With the program moving under the ARA Foundation umbrella of services, mentors and mentees also may apply for financial assistance for an in-person meeting during the year.

More information and applications to join the program are available online at ARArental.org/mentoring with the next round of mentoring matches scheduled for July 2022.