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20 Most Powerful Women in Collections

Making the collection industry the best it can be requires continuing influence from the best and brightest collection professionals. Those who wield this power of change must not only maintain it but utilize their wisdom to determine what is best for their peers and consumers.

Of the 140,000 professionals in collections, nearly 70% are women. Therefore Collection Advisor presents the Most Powerful Women in Collections, a list of collection professionals who have found success in their organizations and used that in uence to create positive waves of change that ripple through the industry.

becket alaneAlane A. Becket Managing Partner | Becket & Lee LLP
President-elect | American Bankruptcy Institute


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
People in the collection industry need to hold each other accountable for their actions. There are too many instances of regulators and lawsuits calling out questionable practices. To rid ourselves of the negative reputation we carry, we must first clean up our own houses.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Technology is invaluable and necessary, but it cannot replace knowledge, experience and reputation. These are hard earned qualities that turn an average participant into a standout.

 

manghisi anitaAnita M. Manghisi, IFCCE President | Independent Recovery Resources


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
The debt collection industry has such passionate and dedicated people. With the sheer masses in our numbers and the resources at our disposal, if people got more involved with our advocacy and education initiatives we would make a real impact to our image and with our legislators.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
The old method of communicating is simply not effective any more. Between “do not call lists”, “blocked calls” and “robo calls” being a target for the industry, call analytics has become a necessity. We need to hone in on more profitable accounts and offer full automation for payment and communication.

 

thomas anneAnne Thomas Chief Compliance Officer | Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Being actively involved in industry trade associations is a great benefit to those involved in collections.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
The collection industry continuously makes improvements to systemic controls, specifically regarding call monitoring. These technological enhancements are a great asset to a compliance management system because they provide broader coverage.

 

enloe carenCaren D. Enloe Partner and Group Leader of Consumer Financial Services Litigation and Compliance |
Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, LLP


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
While it may sound counterintuitive, I’d like to see more financial literacy initiatives involving the industry. I have been involved in financial literacy initiatives at the high school level and am amazed to see how few young people really understand budgeting and the cost of credit.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Data analytics, while not a technology is crucial in understanding and refining collection techniques. As technology continues to advance, data analytics will continue to play a crucial role in understanding what collection techniques net results and help eliminate inefficiencies. With narrowing profit margins, I see this as crucial to success of the industry.

 

reynaud courtneyCourtney Reynaud President/CEO | Creditors Bureau USA
CFO | California Association of Collectors


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Industry activity is key to the success of the collection industry. Industry participants should get involved with their state/local units and national associations, participate in the lobbying and legislative efforts pursued at the federal/state level, and take advantage of educational events and networking opportunities provided by the national/state associations.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Agentless collections is the wave of the future. Providing options for consumers to communicate, dispute or pay an account via their preferred communication method has been shown to improve consumer satisfaction and decrease agency overhead costs and liabilities.

 

ciskey debra jDebra J. Ciskey Chief Compliance Officer | Wakefield and Associates Inc.


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
I am a firm believer in “knowledge is power.” I would like to see more people get involved with the education programs offered by ACA International, Inc. and seek to achieve the professional designations that are available. Other organizations offer programs as well, but I am most intimately knowledgeable about the Campus ACA programs.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
New technology that I started using is a learning management system called Eterna, offered by Learn.net. We use it to deliver training and testing to our employees twice a week, providing them with skills and knowledge, and the confidence to use them.

 

stief donna nicholsonDonna Nicholson Stief Executive Director and Shief Compliance Officer | Credit Bureau of Lancaster County, Inc.


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
There truly is power in numbers. We should be storming the “Hill” in droves at Washington Insights. This conference has increased in participation greatly over the years; however, comparatively, we are the few representing the masses. Our voice will be heard more effectively and exponentially when more ACA members participate. It is a fantastic conference!

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
We have greatly benefited by using a litigious debtor scrub. This technology has been around for a while and I can’t imagine not having it! Also, ringless voicemail drops is effective and in our experience, well received by the consumer.

 

hoheusle ireneIrene Hoheusle, IFCCE, CCCO Vice President of Collections and Education | Account Recovery Specialists, Inc.
President | Kansas Collector's Association


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Become involved legislatively. At ACA Washington Insights, BCFP’s Acting Director Mick Mulvaney was surprised so few responded to RFIs on topics for our industry. I know it’s partially due to our faith in ACA to represent us, which they did wonderfully. But it’s not enough. We all should get involved!

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Though not new, call analytic software is the new pink. Every agency can improve training, compliance and bottom line when they can pinpoint issues on all calls quickly. Also, compliance management systems that keep track of compliance concerns and how they are handled and used to improve daily workflow.

 

stieger janJan Stieger, CAE, CMP, CRCP Executive Director | Receivables Management Association International


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Community activities and local press. The overall industry reputation will be improved if each participant is proactive in their business community representing the industry in a professional and ethical manner and being good corporate citizens. We need 10 positive stories for every one sensational negative story or scam involving the debt collection industry - think globally, act locally!

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
I’m not sure that any specific new technology has improved the industry this year, but I do think that the creation of best practices and recognition in a few states and federally that the industry needs clarity on how the new technologies that are available can be used lawfully has been helpful.

 

laspada judyJudy La Spada Chief Executive Officer/Founder | Virtuoso Sourcing Group, LLC


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
I would like to see industry professionals work harder to change the outside perception of our business. Most companies in our field are compliant, friendly and far more analytical than what is perceived by average consumers. Traditional media looks to publish the occasional horror story vs. communicating an authentic view of our business. By leveraging YouTube, Instagram, social media in general and our webpages with realistic portrayals of our work we can change the consumer’s perception of the experience and potentially receive a better response to our recruiting efforts and to our attempts to reach people.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
We have been very impressed by the variety of business intelligence tools that are available to us and the associated cost which has been driven down significantly through consolidation of suppliers and new competition.

 

simes julieJulie Simes President | Zealandia Capital, Inc.


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Pay it forward. We help the economy but it’s important to realize we can have an even greater impact. Give back to your communities and share the positive role we play. Take time to reflect and realize how fortunate we are and give back to those are less fortunate.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
While technology has evolved over the last year and allowed us to grow, expand, and help the bottom line – reality is we are plagued with new technology allowing consumers to avoid and evade their responsibilities. It is pertinent that we do not let this prevent new technology from improving the industry.

 

stephens kellyKelly Knepper-Stephens General Counsel and CCO | Stoneleigh Recovery Associates, LLC


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
The debt collection rulemaking. Now is our chance to help the BCFP draft rules that would help bring clarity to many issues that currently prohibit the industry as a whole from efficiently communicating with consumers. Write the BCFP or join and donate to any of the organizations that lobby on our behalf so that they have the means to help bring about some positive changes.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Without naming one particular vendor or product, as there are many out there, the technologies that help agencies reach consumers in nonintrusive ways as the modern consumer requests that at the same time comply with consumer protection laws and regulations – this would include efficient message delivery whether by website, email, text, direct drop, phone apps, etc.

 

hamilton kelsiKelsi Hamilton Compliance and Legislative Affairs | Dynamic Collectors, Inc.
Legislative Chair | Washington Collectors Assocation


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
I would like to see more people involved in grassroots advocacy. We provide an important and necessary service and should not be made to feel ashamed. We need to speak up to promote our industry and get rid of the negative stigma that often comes with it. It takes all of us being proactive to make it happen.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
I am not sure that it is new but I think an existing tool that is still under utilized is the website www.collectthetruth.org. This tool provides a platform to tell our story and share our truths. I have been using this site as one tool to help engage with my state’s lawmakers. Technologies to help with collections won’t matter if we are regulated out of business.

 

dempsey leahLeah Dempsey Vice President and Senior Counsel, Federal Advocacy | ACA International


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
The next year is perhaps the most critical time ever for federal advocacy for the collections industry as the BCFP moves forward with rules and the FCC reexamines TCPA interpretations. We need the industry to be telling their personal stories about the services they provide to consumers and the thousands of Americans they employ, which are critical to our advocacy efforts at the FCC, BCFP, SBA Office of Advocacy, and in Congress.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
From an advocacy perspective, I would say that just over the past several years the use of social media to tell your story to Congress and regulators has become increasingly more important. As we have seen even from the President, social media gives us the opportunity to tell our side of the story in an unfiltered way. Lawmakers and their staffs are being educated through mediums such as Twitter and Facebook.

 

bender leslie2Leslie Bender, CIPP/US, CCCO, CCCA, IFCCE Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel | BCA Financial Servies


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
To improve the collection industry there are two types of activities that are helpful. First, the business of folks from various industry related trade associations, creditors as well as credit/collections folks, mingling and exchanging ideas is fantastic. Second, reaching out and having conversations with consumer advocacy groups to share perspectives and information is invaluable.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Many of the technologies that support “agent-less” and self-service options for consumers 24/7 are enormously helpful to our industry. I look forward to seeing how blockchain and some of the aspects of it may have an impact on our industry.

 

im lisa1Lisa Im Board Chair and CEO | Performant Financial Corporation


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collction industry?
Our industry has an incredibly diverse workforce with women making up 70%, and racial and ethnic minorities accounting for 40% of the total collections workforce. I’d love to see the industry lead in more diversity-focused philanthropic causes to help showcase the positive impact our employees have on the world.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
The utilization of AI and advanced decisioning solutions within potential self-cure channels has allowed for improved customer experience and overall efficiency gains within many businesses—consumers can dictate the “how, when, where” of communication and resolution.

 

strickler nicoleNicole M. Strickler Shareholder | Messer Strickelr, Ltd.


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
My personal feeling is that it is important to assist, participate in, and support our industry’s trade organizations. Many of these groups work tirelessly not only to help improve our industry’s image but also to truly educate members of our industry on the importance of legal compliance. Building and maintaining a mindful group that values our place in the business ecosystem is key to our future success.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
Improvements to dialing platforms in the past few years have been a great improvement to our industry. Reductions in dropped calls, dead air, and call queuing controls have taken away a lot of the past frustration both from consumers and collectors, alike. Further, from my perspective as a consumer financial defense litigator, these changes have resulted in more industryfriendly court opinions concerning the use of dialing technology.

 

kirchner pam1Pam Kirchner CEO | BCA Financial Services, Inc.


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Advocating on behalf of our industry and developing relationships with lawmakers. There has never been a more appropriate time to meet lawmakers face to face and tell real-world stories about the impact of legislation and regulation on our businesses, employees, and consumers.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
All technological products or services that assist our industry in our attempts to compliantly communicate with consumers on their cellular phones.

 

malone robbie1Robbie Malone Trial Attorney | Malone Akerly Martin PLLC


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
As a trial attorney, I would like to see the industry be aggressive in taking positions that advance the industry’s position. I would like to see people use what we learn in the litigation world as a basis of their employee training and quality control.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
I think the use of human intervention in telephony has had the biggest impact in the industry within the last year.

 

dauchot shannon1Shannon Dauchot CEO | Parallon Revenue Cycle Point Solutions Division


What would you like people to get involved with to improve the collection industry?
Two things – drive sweeping, frequent updates to TCPA with the prominence of mobile phones and number portability, and the predatory, costly plaintiffs’ litigation impact. Second, eliminate the stigma of collector roles for recruitment of top talent, particularly within healthcare which focuses on having empathy and finding options for balance resolution.

What new technology helped improve the collection industry in the past year?
“Gamification” is the latest technology we plan to test in limited areas to evaluate effectiveness in motivating staff and recruiting younger workforce. I remain cautious, to avoid demotivating or distracting some staff and because our current engagement activities are successful. Need to ensure we don’t lose sight of our purpose.