Up-Close and Personal with Top Women’s Panelist: Kirsten Dolan

Kirsten Dolan

President/COO, One Parking

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in a suburb West of Chicago, and have been living in South Florida for the past 14 years.

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

From a young age, I always wanted to own my own business. I knew that I wanted to be a ringleader and be able to direct how things were done.

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

I started off working for a corporation that was in the parking and transportation management industry and fell in love with the industry itself. I worked for them for 15 years and decided that I wanted to branch out, do this on my own and do it a little differently than how it was being done within a large organization.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to date?

It would be starting this business with one single location and growing it to 85 locations over a 14-year period.

What’s your secret for success?

Discipline. In a business like this, it’s important you do the things that you don’t want to do, that you’re afraid to do, and that you don’t like doing. That’s the only way to be successful.

Mentors?

Along the way, I’ve had several mentors, both men and women, that have been very important in giving me opportunities and giving me the chance to even start this business

There was a gentleman in Phoenix that had confidence in me and took me under his wing when I was 23 years old. He worked for a municipality in the City of Phoenix and helped me by putting me in front of people. I got to go to meetings that I probably would not have been able to go to if it weren’t for him. Being in those meetings opened up a wealth of opportunities and allowed me to connect with people who were decision makers. I, at 23, would not have had those opportunities if it had not been for him.

 

What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?

Let other people help you. Sometimes as leaders we tend to want to do it all, or have it all and think we can do it all by ourselves. I’ve found that not only is it helpful to have other people help you, but they also grow as well because they feel that they are contributing and being challenged.

What is one thing that not many people know about you that may be surprising?

I enjoy tea tasting and going to High Tea. Most people would not expect that with my personality.

How do you disconnect/what do you do for fun?

Usually I spend time with my 13-year-old daughter. Sometimes we’ll work on puzzles together or look through old pictures, but regardless of what we do she helps me disconnect.