Rebecca Parker: "No challenge that hard work, a positive attitude and time will not solve"
What is your job title?
I am President and CEO of M. Dyer & Sons in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
Please summarise your career history.
With a background in accounting, I was hired as the bookkeeper for M. Dyer in 1986. I was promoted to general manager when the company began a succession plan for the employees to buy the company stock with an employee stock ownership plan. We are 100 per cent employee owned. With the retirement of Medford Dyer, our founder, I was promoted to president over ten years ago. I currently serve as the chairperson of FIDI USA and serve on a number of non-profit boards.
Why did you choose the moving industry?
RP: Before M. Dyer, I was a controller for a biomass company that had a trucking division. I honestly did not plan a career in the moving industry, but there has been considerable growth, automation and changes in the industry which has kept me challenged. Medford Dyer gave me the opportunity to learn the industry when his sons decided that managing trucks, manpower and customer expectations was not their dream. It is hard to believe that it all began over 25 years ago when I answered a ‘help wanted’ advert in the newspaper. A job turned into a career.
How easy, or difficult, has it been for you to progress through the industry?
At my first industry conference, there were about a dozen female executives. I was asked a few times if I wanted to join the spouse tour instead of the industry meetings. My first FIDI conference was my first trip outside the United States for business. It was intimidating. I was in my early twenties. There was no FIDI-35 group. I decided to take every class and read everything available. I asked lots of questions and we diversified our operation as our clients requested additional service options. My accounting, credit and human resources background was a huge advantage. I had to learn sales skills and public speaking on the job. Some doors were slow in opening in this industry, but most are wide open now for the next generation of leaders. There were challenges, but nothing that hard work, a positive attitude and time would not solve.
What advice do you have for other female (or perhaps male, too) entrepreneurs working in moving?
Listen to your clients and the crewmen who provide the services to your clients. Roll up your sleeves and help out in each department for a few hours each month. You will learn first hand how to improve your services, and, therefore, your bottom line. Annually, get involved in the fiscal budget preparation and annual goals. Review your financial results, client evaluations, business and personal goals often. Be open to change. Surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook and can take your organisation to the next level. Get involved in your community.
Finally, what is next for you personally? And for your company?
We are expanding our air freight division and exploring new ways to automate our organisation. Personally, I hope to spend more time travelling, quilting and enjoying my family. I plan on taking a few computer classes at our local college in 2013.