The ARM industry is significantly better off because of people like Donna Nicholson Stief. The prospects for the ARM industry seem to be brighter because of people like Donna Nicholson Stief. A student of leadership, Nicholson Stief has been heavily involved in supporting and helping the ARM industry at the state and national levels, and she has a two-word answer that she thinks would stop most frivolous lawsuits from ever seeing the light of day. Read on to learn more about Donna and her eclectic taste in music.
Name: Donna Nicholson Stief
Length of time at current company: This is my 20th year!
Length of time in industry: Third party: 20 years. First party: Nine years
How did you get your start in the industry?
I was traveling quite a bit at my former job. At the time, my family was young and I felt working closer to home was a better choice for me. It just so happened that a local company (the one I’m at now) was hiring and needed someone to run the debt collection department! Voila, it was a great fit!
What is your career highlight so far?
I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to achieve so much through ACA, MACA and Collection Advisor over the past 20 years. Serving at the highest level and impacting the state and/or the country for the sake of our amazing industry by killing bad bills and changing the reputation of the industry to a positive one is definitely what I consider to be a highlight.
When or how are you most productive?
I’m most productive in the morning. Anything that I have to do of importance that requires my best critical thinking is something I try to schedule early. If it can’t be done in the morning, then I intentionally gear up to bring my best self to the table!
Oh, and I do believe my best ideas have come while chilling at the beach! The beach is very productive!
Which industry professional do you admire most?
I have the most amazing friends in this industry. I absolutely cannot narrow it down to one but for the sake of this question, I will say my buddy Jay Gonsalves. I admire Jay as an upstanding business man, family man and a man of God.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I’ve been told that leadership is my strength. I hope this is true because I love to lead and see my team achieve the results their looking for!
What do you like most about this industry?
The industry itself is a noble industry and one to be proud of. Impacting the economy in a positive way is something I could always get behind and support. With that said, I absolutely like the people in this industry the most.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
That’s easy: I would change the legalities of the industry to that of “loser pays”. That would eliminate most frivolous lawsuits! I would also update the TCPA so that it is fair to legitimate businesses.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I’d be running something! It’s in my nature to be involved in meaningful events and to make them better and more efficient. To be specific, I’d dedicate more time to a non-profit ministry that I currently serve on the Board of Directors for. Basically, making a positive impact wherever I go with whatever task that is in front of me.
Describe a typical work day.
As with many small to mid-size businesses, I wear every hat there is. A day could be working on data-security, operations, client demands, reconciling A/P, training and monitoring staff, vendor management, compliance, strategic planning, staff meetings, sales … The list is endless. Every day is different.
With that said, I try to make an intentional effort to greet the staff and see if they need anything from me first before the day gets started!
What is your guilty pleasure?
A glass of wine by the fire pit listing to classic rock and Motown with my husband. And I can’t answer this honestly without mentioning watching “Little House on the Prairie”. And while I’m fully disclosing … I occasionally listen to the Backstreet Boys. That was a secret up until now! Don’t judge.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
I have 10 workbooks from 10-years of attending Global Leadership Summit, the largest two-day leadership conference in the world with hundreds of gold nuggets written down from top world leaders that have guided me through the years. There is a very strong common theme throughout leadership that every world leader has said and that is the most important trait a great leader will have is humility. John C. Maxwell said “The greatest leaders in the world are humble” and Colin Powell said “Check your ego at the door”. This is an absolute truth that I cling to. Also, “Leaders gotta have GRIT!” by Bill Hybels and “Everything worthwhile is uphill” by John C. Maxwell.
So, to sum it up, humility, grit and sticking with it through thick and thin sums up the great advice I’ve clung to, and have proven to be highly relevant for our industry!
What are you currently reading?
Killing the Rising Sun – Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I’m a goofy, funny and outgoing person that can be very serious and passionate at the right time. What folks in the industry would not normally see at conventions and events is that I love ministry. I love the Lord and it’s a huge blessing for me to help mentor and encourage people with their walk with Jesus, especially those who have struggled with addiction and have had a hard life. It’s a privilege to help them grow and get better!
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?