Martha Ahlers: Developing Today to Succeed Tomorrow
by Phil Neuffer Monitor 100 2023
Developing employees is the key to successfully building a company and a portfolio, according to Martha Ahlers, president of United Leasing & Finance. By prioritizing constant improvement, Ahlers has United on track to simplify processes for customers and meet the challenges of the future.
Martha Ahlers, President, United Leasing & Finance
One of Martha Ahlers’ top priorities as president of United Leasing & Finance is the growth of the organization. But Ahlers doesn’t believe business growth comes from an unceasing obsession with hitting sales milestones. Rather, she says growth is a product of continual employee education and deep customer relationship development.
“We believe that we owe more to our employees than they owe the organization and strive to prove that through our commitment to their continual support and training,” Ahlers says. “United has a laser focus on the customer intimacy plans surrounding our customers.”
Ahlers’ own career trajectory is a testament to her passionate advocacy for employee development, as she took part in an emerging talent development program when she first started her career at Ford Motor Credit. The education she received during the course of six years in the program has had an indelible mark on her career in lending and leasing, particularly her last 26 years with United.
Ahlers’ dedication to employee and customer development runs hand-in-hand with her focus on the future, as she says she is particularly interested in eliminating manual processes in favor of enhanced automation to create an “ease of use” environment for internal and external stakeholders. She says that artificial intelligence and its capacity to scrutinize massive amounts of data will transform risk modeling and data analysis while eliminating mundane tasks so employees can focus more on the innovation and human interactions that will push the equipment finance industry forward.
“We have been on the path of transforming our company for many years. Implementing new technology will be a game changer for the future of the organization,” Ahlers says. “Ensuring our company is positioned to serve the needs of our next generation is always on my mind.”
Ahlers’ more collaborative and people-oriented leadership style is a stark contrast to the autocratic and task-oriented approach she experienced at the outset of her career. However, she still expects strong performance from her team, especially since portfolio risk management is another one of her primary priorities. Through this lens, she is concerned about recent government regulations in the commercial finance space, but that hasn’t dampened her resolve to transform United into a provider of consultative solutions that meet the finance needs of customers as simply as possible.
“To be a part of something much bigger than yourself and play a part in the education, training and mentoring of our next generation is a huge motivator for me.”
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