“There’s nothing more exciting to a commercial leader than to be part of a company that has great products, is well managed, and positioned for dramatic growth.”
Those are the words of the newest member of Donlen’s leadership team, Rachel Hands, when asked why she joined Donlen. Rachel is an accomplished industry veteran who will spearhead the overall sales and marketing strategy as Donlen’s Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing.
As part of FridayFleet’s Women in Fleet series, we sat down with Rachel to learn a little more about her.
FridayFleet: Tell us a bit about your background.
Rachel Hands: I pretty much grew up at GE Capital. I was hired right out of college and spent more than 20 years there primarily in sales and sales leadership roles throughout the organization, starting in the commercial equipment financing business, which includes leasing for trucks and construction equipment. From there, I moved through several areas of GE including railcar leasing and auto financial services.
Since 2006, I’ve been consulting with companies, primarily in the area of sales management and strategy, including sales force effectiveness, organization, and deployment.
FF: How do you see consulting different than being part of an organization?
RH: I enjoyed consulting. You get into a new company, help to solve a problem or enhance existing processes, and then typically move on to the next challenge at a different company. But what I missed about commercial leadership is the ownership and accountability for the entire process as well as the results, not just formulating strategy but implementing it and following through − working with a team to make a real difference to the business in both the short and long term. That’s where the real fun is and a key reason I pursued this opportunity at Donlen.
FF: Tell us about your decision to come to Donlen.
RH: Donlen has great reputation for stability, yet is nimble and extremely innovative when it comes to developing new products and introducing new services. It also has a reputation for great customer service; which is critical to the success of any organization. And now with Hertz resources behind it, there are huge opportunities for growth. There’s nothing more exciting to a commercial leader than to be part of a company that has great products, is well managed, and positioned for dramatic growth.
FF: What do you see as the biggest opportunity between Donlen and Hertz?
RH: There are unique opportunities here that I don’t see at other fleet management companies. Everything from acquisition with products like Hertz Value Lease™, to innovative remarketing opportunities, to Hertz’s equipment solutions combined with ours. There are so many ways that this relationship sets us apart in the industry.
FF: What are your plans for the first few weeks here?
RH: My first priority is to learn as much as I can about Donlen. The integration process has been great and I’ve been meeting with the various business owners. I continue to be impressed with the depth of services and products we offer – as well as with everyone I’ve met here. I’m looking forward to speaking with the field sales team and of course, meeting in person to learn more about each of them. My first week here has only added to my already high opinion of Donlen and my enthusiasm for our future.
FF: Thanks Rachel.
Rachel grew up in the Chicago area. She lives with her husband, two children (and dog) not far from her childhood home. She loves spending time with her family as well as traveling, including an occasional “long weekend” in a European destination. Rachel holds a BS in Marketing from the University of Illinois, and a MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Rachel can be reached at email@example.com.