The Professional Women in the Call Centers and Collections Industry (PWCI) is an organization that has been around for 12 years. However, as the ARM industry changed dramatically over the past 10 years, many of the women in leadership positions moved into other industries. After renewed interest, PWCI founder Victoria Edwards has decided to re-launch the organization in 2017 with new direction.
Ms. Edwards has recruited a group of industry veterans, both male and female, to bring a new perspective to PWCI. insideARM President, Tim Bauer, has agreed to be on the PWCI Board of Advisors in 2017. Other industry veterans on the Board of Advisors include:
- Victoria Edwards – Account Executive Extraordinaire, LiveVox
- Lynne Fisher – SVP, Recovery Operations, Synchrony Financial
- Alexandra Siotos – Sr. Director, Experian Global Consulting Practice-North America
- Kacey Rask – Vice President, National List of Attorneys
- DeAnna Busby-Rast – EVP – Business Development, DCM Services, LLC
- John Gillard – EVP - Bank Product & Service, UMB Bank, N.A.
The new and improved web site for PWCI is: www.pwci-network.com.
Today’s article is the first in a series on the activities, goals, and benefits of membership in PWCI.
Mentoring. We hear that word all the time. There are so many questions around mentoring. My trusty dictionary defines “mentoring” as: “a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.” When do I need a mentor? Where do I find a mentor? Is it a formal relationship? How long do I use a mentor?
insideARM asked two of the leaders of the Professional Women in Call Centers Collections to talk about this amorphous, but important topic.
Victoria Edwards, LiveVox
“The collections industry is a career choice that many of us have stumbled into. For many reasons, we then choose to stay in this industry because it is always changing, always interesting; and there is so much to learn. Since there aren’t any college courses or majors on this type of industry (as far as I am aware), it is important that we learn from each other. One of the best ways to learn about our industry, our field of choice, whether you are new or a seasoned veteran, is to partner with someone to exchange information. Reach out to your network to learn. When someone reaches out to you, pay it forward, and have a strong dialogue. Many women who network through PWCI have developed strong relationships that have evolved into something more - mentoring.
I have personally benefitted from mentoring relationships my entire professional career. I have been both a mentee and a mentor. Both roles were very important to me at the time. I have been a mentee since I first decided to establish a clear career path with increasing responsibilities. I needed guidance to help me understand my strengths, opportunities, and options in my career. I was fortunate I found a strong mentor and I still maintain contact with him. I was grateful for what that did for me and my career. I knew that I needed to pay it forward. I have offered to be a mentor formally, as well as informally and I have also benefitted in both relationships.
When I formed the Professional Women in Call Centers and Collections, one of the many benefits included the opportunity for experienced professional women in our industry to meet each other and learn from each other. Many informal mentoring relationships were formed, which were tremendously impactful. Meet Kacey Rask, a PWCI leader, who is sharing with us her experiences of being mentored and how it has reached beyond her career at the National List of Attorneys, but into her community as well.
Kacey Rask, National List of Attorneys
Mentoring has been an essential piece to my comfort level and growth in an unknown industry. I entered the credit and collection industry six years ago without even knowing this industry existed. Being in customer service and business development, your career is based on building relationships and connections in the industry.
I was blessed to be under the wing of Beverly Unrath at my current company; who happened to be the NARCA PWCI Chapter chair. She encouraged me to enlist in their mentoring program; though I had hesitation and angst.
I was assigned a mentor within a week of requesting one; a woman who had been in the industry longer than I had been alive. She helped me understand the industry on many levels, was an ear when I needed to vent or needed a compass to guide me, and she’s still a part of my career, six years later. I am proud to say that I’ve had the pleasure of having three additional mentors within the industry within the last six years, and even searched for mentors within my community. I value mentoring so much that I not only take advantage of it, but I have also instilled a mentoring program in the volunteer work that I do in my community by mentoring young girls. Whether you are a mentor or a mentee, it’s an amazing opportunity for personal and professional growth while helping create long lasting relationships for years.