Each year, Mobile Mini Solutions strategizes and looks to the future during the company’s Annual Kickoff event. During the 2018 Annual Kickoff, the executive team brought together prominent women leaders within the company to establish a career network and support system. Since that meeting, attendance has tripled for what is now known as the Mobile Mini Women’s Leadership Group.
The leadership committee was given a directive: create a forum to encourage the development of women leaders within the company. Mobile Mini’s first Women’s Leadership Summit was held this past August, with the theme, “Empowering Women to Empower Women.”
“At some point, we said, ‘let’s stop talking about it and do something,’” said Karla Wahlgren, Director of Facilities and Women’s Leadership Committee facilitator.
Throughout the two-day event, attendees from corporate and branch locations came to learn about domestic violence awareness from Chrysalis, self-defense techniques from REACT Self Defense, and individually-tailored workplace growth with WinningWise.
As a part of Mobile Mini’s charitable corporate culture, summit attendees were encouraged to volunteer with Chrysalis, a domestic violence support organization and Mobile Mini philanthropic partner.
“We want to support charities that support women,” said Melissa Webb, Director of Procure to Pay and Women’s Leadership Committee facilitator. She underscored the importance of setting an example for women outside of the company. “Hopefully, when they see a position open up at Mobile Mini in the future, they’ll have the confidence to apply and think, ‘I can do that, too,’” Webb continued.
According to Wahlgren and Webb, WinningWise’s presentation was particularly impactful. “They talked about cutting your own path to grow instead of waiting for your boss to tell you what steps you need to take next,” said Webb, and emphasized that success looks different for every woman.
“Some women will strive to get to the next level and others will want to grow and develop in their current position. The important thing is to support our colleagues in whatever journey they’re on—not necessarily the path that you think is best for them,” said Wahlgren.
The Women’s Leadership Summit also included three panels led by upper- and executive-level management.
During the Women’s Leadership Panel, female managers and directors shared their own experiences in balancing their career with their personal lives, as well as in embracing their femininity while succeeding in an industry traditionally geared toward men.
“It can be intimidating, but you can do well and be respected in this environment,” said Webb. Additionally, she stated that the company strives to be an employer of choice for women in the industry. “We need more female managers and directors, but we also want the best person for the job, based on merit. We want to give qualified women more opportunities,” Webb said.
One of the highlights from the Executive Leadership Panel included SVP & CHRO Mark Krivoruchka’s discussion on what he calls “work-life blend.” Webb said, “Work-life balance is essential. There’s no need to feel guilty for taking time off for family,” and that adopting a flexible work schedule allows women to harmoniously balance their families and careers.
Closing out the event, the Mentorship Program Panel entailed how Mobile Minis’ future mentorship program will bridge the gap between male and female mentors and mentees, from both field and corporate offices.
Webb said, “Women can benefit from male mentors, and men can benefit from female mentors,” and stressed the importance of incorporating participation and leadership from the field.
Regarding the summit’s success, Wahlgren remarked that attendees “left with relationships they didn’t have before,” including informal mentor-mentee relationships from employees who had not worked together previously. “It will be interesting to see whether they utilize these relationships in the future,” said Webb.
The next Women’s Leadership meeting, scheduled during the 2020 Annual Kickoff, will discuss how to build on the successes of 2019.