Chrissy Taylor, 44
CEO, Enterprise Holdings
Location: St. Louis
Education: B.A., sociology, Miami University; MBA, Washington University
What drew you to the auto industry? My grandfather founded Enterprise in 1957 in the lower level of a Cadillac dealership and then my father took over in 1980. And so Enterprise Holdings is our family-owned business. It’s still privately held. And I am the fourth CEO of Enterprise Holdings and the third of the Taylor family. So you could say that it’s in my blood.
First automotive job: I joined Enterprise Holdings officially in 2000 in the management and training program.
Big break: Over 20 years, I think I’ve had a couple breaks. But I think one of the most pivotal moments in my career was I had been in our rental program in St. Louis for several years and worked at our corporate headquarters. I took the opportunity to move internationally to get a different perspective. Moving to Europe really was a big break for me, both from an experience and education perspective, and also getting my leg up in Enterprise.
What is the major challenge you’ve faced in your career? I think 2020 has been a major challenge in my career. I took over as CEO in January. We at Enterprise have managed through political turmoil, through weather disasters, through financial crises. Nothing could have prepared us for the impact that COVID-19 has had on our business. And being so new in the role — that is definitely the biggest challenge that I have faced. But I have to say, our entire team in the field and in corporate — they inspire me every single day and their leadership is what has pulled us through this and helped us weather this storm. So it is a team effort, no question.
You’ve been in the industry 20 years. What has been the most important change you’ve seen? I think the importance of the customer experience and the customer’s journey. And at Enterprise, we’ve always prided ourselves that we need to continue to listen, because customer expectations are changing. And so we need to make sure that what we’re offering, it’s seamless, it’s frictionless. It includes all of the resources and tools to make customers want to come to us and participate in rental vehicle, or just in any type of automotive transaction that they’re looking to do. And clearly through these challenging times, health and safety are at the forefront of all that we’re doing. And so that’s upping the ante on that customer experience.
What work achievement are you most proud of? It goes back to our people, of course. The greatest accomplishment of the organization is our leadership team and how deep our bench is both in the field and at our corporate headquarters.
Describe your leadership style. I’m high energy. I’m fairly direct. I like to collaborate and work in a team.
What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry? I think they need role models and we need finite plans, and if I’m going to be a role model in my position as CEO, I need to make sure that I am paying it forward. So who am I mentoring? Who am I taking under my wings? And I need to make sure that then I am paying it forward to make sure all tides rise. And that’s women, that’s diversity. That just makes our organization better. And so I challenged my team to make sure that they are paying it forward.
How do you bring your best self to work? I think that that’s being prepared for each day. And so that’s about my mental well-being and how I prepare. I go through the day and then at the end of the day, I do try and leave an hour or 45 minutes to then think about the next day and prepare for it, so that when I go home that night, I can focus on my family, because I do have two young girls; they need my attention as well.
Are you able to achieve work-life balance? I tell myself that it’s never perfect. I can’t put pressure on myself to be 100 percent, all the time, at work and at home. And so I just tell myself this is not about perfection, and that relieves some personal stress that I put on myself to give my best every single day. It’s a moving target. Some days are better than others. But overall, I enjoy and I’m passionate, obviously about my family, but I’m incredibly passionate about the business.
— David Muller