The Women in Fleet profile series introduces fleet managers to some of the most influential women in fleet. Every month, we will get to know another positive force in the fleet industry.
This month, we spoke with Sheri Hardesty, global fleet leader for JLL.
Getting into Fleet
Hardesty has been a member of the fleet industry since August of 1980. She worked for Mike Albert Fleet Solutions for more than 35 years before moving to JLL a little more than two years ago.
Like most of us, she found fleet completely on accident. “I was a senior in high school looking for part-time work while I finished school and prepared to go to college. I landed an administrative assistant’s role at a consumer leasing subsidiary of Mike Albert Fleet Solutions. We were a small office and my boss left not long after I joined. I just picked up her work interfacing with GMAC and others.”
Hardesty planned to become a dental hygienist but was recommended to major in business instead. “That fall, Mike Albert closed I Love Leasing, the subsidiary I was working in. I wanted to stay with the company and was given the opportunity to move to Mike Albert as an admin. Due to a series of circumstances, I quickly found myself supporting Don Miller and Bob Betagole, two icons in the fleet industry.”
Hardesty credits “a really fortunate turn of events that led me to where I am today. I learned so much and fell in love with the fleet industry,” she said. Hardesty stayed at Mike Albert through college and received her masters while working there. She even met her husband (Mike) at Mike Albert, who continues to work in the fleet industry. “We are definitely a fleet family,” Hardesty said.
Today she is global fleet leader at JLL, loving the challenge of a global role.
“While fleet management principles are the same, cultural and social influences are very different and have a strong impact on how fleet practices are implemented. It is fun to take best practices from one market and introduce them to another to drive cost savings and efficiencies,” she said.
Hardesty is proud of successfully maneuvering a business traditionally occupied by men. “I can remember events where I was the only women participating for many of my early years in fleet.”
She attributes her success to the people she has met along the way who supported and helped her learn fleet. “I believe my natural curiosity helped me continue to grow in fleet. I’m very proud of growing from an entry-level role to roles with executive influence. I have worked in many operational areas including client support, title, and maintenance. I led process improvement and business analyst’s teams. I am thrilled to bring those experiences to my clients today to help them shape a more streamlined and focused fleet program,” she said.
Hardesty believes it’s a great time to join fleet. “Find your passion and focus on it. There are so many disciplines in fleet technology, safety, compliance. Identify a mentor; don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she said. “Technology, environmental concerns, and mobility are changing the industry at a rapid pace.”
Get to Know Me
Experience is only part of our story and what someone likes to read, watch, and listen to can help paint a fuller picture of their personality. Here are some of Hardesty’s favorites:
- Book: “I just finished Educated by Tara Westover. It was a fascinating story about learning about the world outside of how you were raised, embracing differences, and overcoming adversity. It was very inspirational,” she said.
- Movie: “Anything that makes me laugh!” Hardesty said.
- Songs: “I love songs that I can sing along to and songs that trigger strong emotions. I listen to a lot of different genres I like 80’s rock, country, show tunes — anything with a great beat that is fun,” she said.
- You May Not Know: “My husband and I moved to a 15-acre farm outside of Cincinnati. I grow herbs and raise chickens, and love to spend weekends clearing our property and driving my gator,” Hardesty shared.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet