Raunora Westcott’s employers allow her to balance her business career with her side gig as a competitive curler. It’s a privilege she doesn’t take for granite.
As an account manager at National Leasing, Westcott spends her days helping clients meet their commercial, agricultural and medical equipment needs. But during her off-hours, she can often be found sweeping and sliding her way down a sheet of ice as the lead on a rink skipped by Michelle Englot.
Team Englot will curl in the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings (Dec. 2 to 10 in Ottawa), where they’ll compete for the right to represent Canada at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea.
Westcott, who works from a home office, says National Leasing gives her the flexibility she needs to focus on her pursuit of Olympic gold.
“National Leasing has been really good to me,” she says. “They make sure that their employees are feeling balanced in their lives, and health and wellness is important to them.”
“They’ve always been supportive of employees and the sports they play and the activities they do, but once my team and I hit a national level where we started playing on the world tour more often, they really got behind me. They even sponsor our team.”
Westcott graduated from Red River College’s Business Administration program in 1998, and joined National Leasing that same year as a lease administrator. She says the practical and cooperative nature of the program prepared her for her eventual role at the company.
“As much as the group work was a bit of a grind — and there was a lot of group work — looking back I think that was the best experience of the whole program,” Westcott says of her time at RRC. “It prepares you for real-life experiences in sales, and in work in general. We’re negotiating all the time, we’re working with others, so I feel like that was a cornerstone of my success.”
To properly build relationships with prospective customers, Westcott prefers to leave her office and conduct meetings face-to-face.
“I pride myself on going out and meeting clients and building relationships that way, because when so many companies don’t have head offices here, I think people can appreciate getting to know their leasing rep,” she says.
“What I really love about my job is just going out and meeting all kinds of different people. Every day is different. I can be walking into a dentist’s office to meet with them for some new equipment, or I’ll go and meet a farmer right in the middle of their field while they’re busy combining to sign up a lease.”
Westcott says the intensity of the Business Administration program prepared her for the diverse and demanding nature of her job.
“At any time at Red River College, you could have been in four, five, six different group projects. Now, when I’m working with leases and clients, I’ll potentially have up to 50 active leases going on all at once,” she says.
“I think with [regards to] time management and just being organized, Red River contributed big-time.”
With the curling season in full force and Olympic trials just around the corner, Westcott feels fortunate to work for a company that gives her a little leeway. That said, she believes her passion is of benefit to both parties.
“We have National Leasing on our jerseys. When I’m out playing, people come down from the stands and say, ‘I deal with National Leasing. I leased my grain bins from them.’ It’s nice to have that connection, and to go back to National and say, ‘I met some clients from Lloydminster.’”
“We do play a lot on TV, so National Leasing gets some pretty good exposure,” she adds. “I think it works both ways — they like to see their employees happy and this makes me happy. And they get a little bit back from it, too.”
— Profile by Jared Story (Creative Communications, 2005)