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NPA Newsroom: WIP Newsletter Article

WIP Member Spotlight: Sherry Carter and Lyla Ellens

Tuesday, July 30, 2019  
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Sherry Carter Name: Sherry Carter
Company: DFW International Airport Board
Title/Position: Senior Parking Operations Manager
Length in the industry: 44 Years
WIP Member Since: 2013
Are you on a WIP Committee? If so, which: No

How has WIP helped you in your career?
It has enhanced and grown my network providing me more resources to draw from should I encounter complex issues or problems. Our network is one of the most important tools in our toolbox.

What is the biggest benefit of being active in WIP?
Being a member of WIP has enabled me to garner more female contacts from which I can gain insight and experience-based knowledge to maneuver in the industry.

Describe your typical work day.
My typical day is 7 to 4 Monday through Friday. I am on call as support for my team 24/7. No two days are the same as they are driven by the customer and the various business needs that may arise. Obviously, team support is my biggest responsibility which includes eliminating barriers, so they can achieve their goals. Continuous improvement in our processes and operation require a lot of attention to detail and ensuring a seat at the table for large projects that sometimes think of parking as an afterthought.

What do you love most about your job?
I have been in this industry, specifically at DFW International Airport, for 44 years. It’s my first job out of high school and I’ve never had a desire to enter another career because of the people I work with. My pride and joy are my direct team members, many with more than 20 years on the team, and they are the reason for my stability. They are the reason I still love my job. My day starts with me bursting through the front door and yelling good morning to our Customer Support team and trying to generate energy for them. My efforts are rewarded with a warm smile, laughter and a team that consistently gives it their all to take care of the customer and our business.

What’s the best career advice you have ever received?
Don’t burn your bridges and the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Never forget the “roots” of your business. The frontline people are the ones making the business successful and making the difference day in and out. Your role is to support, engage and provide. Their success is your success. As a female in the industry always take a seat at the table some women prefer to sit along the sidelines or at the back of the room. Get up front and be heard and respected for the subject matter expert you are.

What has been your hardest lesson learned?
You cannot trust everyone. Being involved in a revenue business you must ensure proper protocol in revenue handling, disposition and auditing and don’t forget separation of duties. Do all you can to eliminate the possibility and temptation of fraud. If it’s not easy they may not put forth the effort.

How do you kick-back?
Time with family and friends and traveling. I like to go on extended road trips with family and see this beautiful country of ours. A true test to family relationships.

What would we find playing on your iPod, or phone, etc.:
I don’t have an iPod or play music on my phone but my 8 track has some KC and the Sunshine Band and lots of country music. lol

Where do you find inspiration?
The achievements of my frontline and the things they do day in and day out inspire me and I am so very fortunate to have a great leadership team and mentor available to me every day. They provide me the support and inspire us to be the best we can possibly be and to be even better 364 days from now through experience and learning opportunities.

Lyla Ellens Name: Lyla Ellens
Company: LAZ Parking
Title/Position: General Manager
Length in the industry: 1.5 years
WIP Member since: 2018
Are you on a WIP Committee? If so, which: No

How has WIP helped you in your career? I took advantage of the WIP mentoring program. I connected with a woman who worked at a University. She was able to give me some insight on how she overcame challenges within the university parking environment. This was very helpful because I had similar challenges to overcome!

Can you offer a helpful hint for fellow new WIP members? Don’t be afraid to reach out to people if you have a challenge you are facing. Chances are, there is someone out there who has come across the same challenge and can offer you some advice. I would also encourage you to speak with different professionals throughout different industries. The more diverse network you have, the more diverse feedback you’ll get.

What do you love most about your job? I love the variety of experiences I have within a given day. Although I may walk into the office with a plan, the only thing I am ever certain of is the fact that the plan will change. LAZ Parking has been very supportive my team trying creative solutions, and I’ve been thankful to have the opportunity to try new things every day. It is very rewarding to see your ideas come to life.

What’s the best career advice you have ever received? I was once told that many women will be hesitant to take a new opportunity if they don’t meet all the criteria listed in the job description or if they are asked to work in an area they have little experience with. If someone approaches you with an opportunity, recognize that the person has enough confidence in you to believe that you are capable of the new challenge. If they think you can do it, you probably can.

What would you do with a year off? First, I would volunteer my time with non-profit organizations that could use assistance with business planning. I enjoy working on business strategy and love to give back to the community when I have the chance! Second, I would spend time traveling around the world with my family. I would make sure South Africa, Cambodia, Thailand and Ireland were at the top of my list.

If you could trade places with any other person for a day, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional with whom would it be? I would trade places with my five-year old son. He is always questioning how things work and looks at the world around him through a new lens. I would love to see my world with fewer fixed assumptions again!

Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration in the conversations I have with different people. I love meeting new people who have had experiences totally different from mine. I am known for the amount of questions I ask because I am always curious about the challenges people face, the norms they experience and the people they interact with.

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