A minute with… Donna Miller, HR director, European operations, Enterprise Rent-A-Car


How did you get into HR?

Completely by accident. I started on the Enterprise Rent-A-Car management training programme and a senior colleague recommended me for a role in HR.

What do you enjoy most about HR?

I love the variety. This morning I was looking at our recruitment forecast as we are just starting a new financial year, then I was helping a new person settle into our department and meeting with someone from our new French operation.

What do you find most difficult about working in HR?

There are delicate situations, for example around performance issues. If it is someone you know, it can be difficult. Sometimes in HR you have to know things about people that perhaps you don’t want to.

What is your greatest career achievement?

I was working in New York in 1999 and a position opened up to work in a new HR role in our Canadian operation. I took a leap of faith by choosing this start-up role – a chance to pave my own way, design my own role. My success in that role has led me to the European role I’m in now.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

To be flexible and open to new things. Through being flexible, I’ve lived in different countries and done lots of different things. I also try to find a way to be a “yes” person – it is a lot more fun that way.

What was your biggest career challenge?

Donna Miller’s CV, in brief

  • 1990 – Joined Enterprise Rent-A-Car as management trainee
  • 1991 – In charge of HR for a region in Southern California
  • 1997 – Promoted to group HR manager in charge of four US states
  • 1999 – Promoted to corporate HR manager, Canadian operations
  • 2002 – Promoted to assistant vice president, HR, European operations/European HR director
  • 2012 – Promoted to vice president, HR.

I’m going through it right now. Earlier this year, Enterprise Rent-A-Car acquired a rental business in France and Spain [Citer and Atesa, in February], so we’re now in the middle of a three-year integration phase. It’s interesting and exciting, but also very challenging. Some stuff they will do differently, so we might question it; other stuff we might think: “Why didn’t we think of that?”. I’m learning a lot.

What’s the next big thing in HR?

I think organisations will continue to look at ways to monitor engagement. For us in particular, our focus is on promoting from within, so we will keep looking at attraction. If we don’t get great talent through the door, we can’t grow.

Do you have a mentor?

I look up to a number of people: a couple in Enterprise, a handful of entrepreneurs, and people in social media. They are typically business people, not just HR professionals. After all, HR is part of the business.

If you didn’t work in HR, what would you be doing instead?

I started my career in retail, and I’ve always worked in customer-facing businesses. I think I would do something in hospitality or retail – I like the people contact.


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