ARA Mentoring Program focuses on personal growth and leadership development
By Connie Lannan

ARA Mentoring Program focuses on personal growth and leadership development

Sarah Bolich recently took over the helm of her family’s mobile elevating work platform 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.”

Sarah Bolich

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™ this past October. The goal has been to share ideas, look at best practices and be a resource for each other.

Both say they have gained so 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.

Stephanie Rajzbaum

The program has offered Bolich with just what she needed. “It has provided me with an outside resource and professional relationship where I can turn for guidance and advice. Stephanie provides positive feedback and constructive criticism where I need it, making me a better leader for my operation. It also has helped me develop in my career by providing a well-rounded knowledge base. Stephanie has been another avenue of support so I can make the best decisions for my team as we grow,” she says.

It’s all about helping each other be the best possible. “When we step out and help someone with their issues, that, in turn, helps gain perspective on issues we might not have realized we have. It has offered me a different view on the rental business. Plus, I enjoy talking with Sarah. We have a great relationship,” Rajzbaum says.

Bolich agrees. “It is important to gain insight from outside viewpoints. You never know what you can learn from each new connection. Making a point to surround yourself with knowledge lifts you up and helps you learn from your mistakes,” she says.

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

To learn how this program could increase your knowledge of the industry, enhance your leadership skills and benefit your strategic career planning, click here. Apply in April for the next round of matches that will take place in July.

Connie Lannan

Connie LannanConnie Lannan

Connie Lannan is special projects editor for Rental Management. She helps plan, coordinate, write and edit ARA’s quarterly regional newsletters, In Your Region. She also researches, writes and edits news and feature articles for Rental Management, Rental Pulse, supplements, special reports and other special projects. Outside of work, she loves to bake for others, go for walks with her husband and volunteer for her church and causes she believes in.

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