When Rachel Flint first began her career at Hubbell Homes as a public relations specialist, she struggled to figure out how to make housing interesting.
“I was writing newsletters,” she says. “I was writing about dirt and vacant lots and how do you make that sexy?”
Since her background was in art history, Flint knew she would have to hit the books to learn the business. She started reading everything she could get her hands on and listening to audio books and reports in her car to learn terms and specs.
“You don’t want to be the one person in a meeting who doesn’t know these things,” she says.
Before long, she was addicted. Finding passion in each page and report, Flint learned, earned, and worked her way up the ladder over the last decade.
After joining the West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hubbell in 2006, Flint was promoted to marketing director two years later.
Rick Tollakson, CEO of Hubbell Homes, says Flint is a natural leader. She began to gain confidence when she was promoted to sales manager, managing about 40 independent contractors and sales agents in 2009.
“That takes a lot of leadership. It takes the ability to manage a team and independent agents aren’t naturally inclined to be a team,” Tollakson says. “She was able to bring them all together. That’s really where I saw her leadership strength come to life.”
At that time, Flint can recall walking through a model home with Tollakson and feeling like she had really tapped into her art background to see the home with a fresh set of eyes.
In Dec. 2013, Flint was asked to step into the construction side of the business. Tollakson says he was a bit concerned about throwing her into a male-dominated part of the business. But he knew she would find her footing and sent her to a career coach to learn about how to be a better leader and overcome gender and age differences.
“I was nervous about it up front,” she says. “I didn’t know how people would handle working with me. I mean, I work with superintendents and construction site contractors--- very macho guys in their 50’s and being [in my 30s], well that was a fear of mine. It was intimidating. But, it hasn’t been an issue.”
Flint also earned her master’s degree while working at Hubbell and is continuing to devour books and reports about the industry finding more reasons to love housing with each passing day. She currently serves as the company’s vice president, and can’t imagine working in a different industry.
“You approach your
life one way and it turns out completely different,” she says. “For me, it just
turned out much different than I imagined.”