Name: Lynette Randall
Job title: Co-owner Alpha Contracts Leasing Ltd
How long in role:25 years at Northampton based Alpha Contracts Leasing Ltd
What’s your role?Co-owner, I lead the company with my business partner Samantha Miles. I am also a member of the BVRLA Leasing Broker Committee.
LYNETTE RANDALL is one of the few women actually running a leasing brokerage today – so that makes her a standout for women in broking.
But being a business leader was not where she started. Experience counts. Her first automotive role was in the family business, working in her father’s truck rental and haulage company. She quickly decided that it was important to her to forge an independent path and applied for a car valet job at a local franchised dealer group.
Buffing paintwork wasn’t to last long as she progressed quickly from bucket and sponge to taking over the rental operation of that business, and subsequently rising to be general manager, which is where she met her future co-director, Samantha Miles.
In 1997, Lynette and Samantha decided to form the Alpha Contracts Leasing Limited business and in doing so are unique in the industry, being a leasing brokerage run exclusively by two women.
‘Samantha and I recently celebrated 25 years of Alpha Contracts together. We’re good friends as well as business partners which is part of the key to our success. We’ve also managed to raise three children between us along the way.’
Over the 25 years, the business has seen a lot of change, with Lynette recalling starting out with rows of fax machines. She believes the business has succeeded due to their approach – a combination of being flexible, keeping ahead of the game and hard work.
In terms of what drives her personally, Lynette says that it is her love of running a business, rather than a particular enthusiasm for vehicles, although she describes co director Samantha as ‘definitely a van person’.
As for her own role, Lynette says:
She adds, though, that even if she has to focus on managing myriad things, “I still feel the thrill of a new deal and love working with our brilliant sales team.”
Lynette believes that starting in the industry at entry level provided an important grounding. Many of her team are female and typically start in sales administration roles. The team is then supported to progress into sales account management positions. It means that they fully understand the operational side of the business before they start to sell. A high proportion of the team today has been with the company since day one, with Lynette joking that when she recruits new people, she tells them that they won’t leave until they retire!
‘At Alpha Contracts, the customer relationship is at the heart of everything we do. The clients really benefit from having a dedicated contact who manages the whole end-to-end process. When it’s time to renew, the customer is speaking to the same person that supplied the vehicle originally and who knows them, which makes a huge difference.’
Alpha Contracts is also a family business and includes Lynette’s two children who she says ‘caught the automotive bug’ early on. According to Lynette, their work experience started early, around the age of four, when they started to help with packing mailshots alongside their grandmother. Her son is currently taking a break to train for the International Ironman competition finals, but her daughter continues to work in the business.
As for women in the industry, Lynette feels there is more to do and says that it can be tough and remains a ‘man’s world’. She is very conscious that of all the brokers in the industry today, only four or five are run by women. Lynette has this advice for getting into the sector:
‘It’s so important to put yourself forward. Of course, the interview is key, be prepared and do your research to really understand the industry. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up, that’s the best preparation for a career in this business.’
Laura is a writer and marketing consultant for Broker News, with extensive automotive experience from senior marketing roles with RBS/Nat West, Lombard Vehicle Management and Unipart. She is also a self-confessed petrol-head.