Rozanne Andersen has been a household name in the collections industry for more than two decades. She has established herself as one of the most intelligent and insightful professionals in an industry that is full of intelligent and insightful professionals, and is one of the people that the experts turn to when looking for perspective and feedback. But did you know she was a certified scuba diver? I may be stereotyping, but it’s hard to believe there are a lot of those living in Minnesota. Read on to learn more about Rozanne and what drives her.
Name: Rozanne M. Andersen
Company: Ontario Systems LLC
Length of time at current company: 5.5 years
Length of time in industry: 1996 – 2017 = 21 years working exclusively in the debt collection and debt buying industry. Prior to 1996 and for the period beginning in 1983 and ending in 1990, I worked in private practice as an attorney representing banks, bank systems and construction lenders. I took about 5.5 years off in the early 90’s to be a stay at home mom to our two children.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I responded to a very peculiar ad in our local newspaper. According to the very small ad in the classifieds, the company claimed it was in need of an attorney near Southdale (Minnesota). Southdale is a local mall in Edina. Since I am a resident of Edina and live near Southdale, I applied for the position. It was not until the phone interview that I figured out the company was in fact a trade association named The American Collectors Association that specialized in serving an industry that collected debts rather than dolls, plates, coins or any other collectable.
What is your career highlight so far?
Professionally, the highlight of my career was achieving three amendments to the FDCPA. Personally, my career highlight was serving as CEO of ACA International.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
I would have to say Peggy Twohig. She is a lawyer who has also committed her life to the industry albeit with more of a consumer focus. She has certainly been a mentor to me though she does not necessarily know it. I worked closely with her when she was the head of consumer affairs at the Federal Trade Commission and continue to watch and admire her progression within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Think horizontally, solve horizontally while working with folks who only think and solve vertically. But for those who cannot appreciate these very different kinds of thinking and problem solving skills I would have to say consensus building.
When or how are you most productive?
I am definitely most productive in the early morning hours of the day. I think my best, write my best and vision my best at this time of day.
What do you like most about this industry?
This answer is a no brainer. The people have always been what I like most about the industry and the fuel for me to advocate on their behalf. I feel the same today as I did when I first met wonderful people like Jim Henry, Jon Dunn, Nick DeGiovani, Mark Davitt, Gary Williams, Harry Strausser, Leslie and Roy Engle, Tom Haag and Bea Cheeseman. The list is endless.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
I wish I could change how people in the industry are perceived. I also wish the people in the industry could find one voice. Unfortunately, the very zeal they exercise to be good debt collectors is the zeal with which they fight to be unique. Unfortunately this does not do much for coming together with a single legislative message and this will be their downfall – their achilles heel.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Realistically, I suppose I would be in the process of becoming more well read, traveling with my husband, becoming amazingly, jaw dropping physically fit and the coolest grandma ever. But if you ask what I wish I would be doing I would say, crewing on a whale ship, learning to sail, opening some kind of store to help women succeed in Viet Nam, spending winters cross country skiing, and of course being the coolest grandma ever.
Describe a typical work day.
I work remotely and so contrary to the perception many people have about remote employees, I do not wake up and do laundry all day. Nor do I spend time in coffee shops. lnstead, I work six days a week and anywhere from 40-55 hours per week. My work is one of service; requires me to wear many hats; and requires me to maintain my attorney license.
I am a vice president and the chief compliance officer for Ontario Systems. I am a thought leader, blog writer, and eBook writer. I am also a client advocate and problem solver. I work closely with our software engineers and product directors in order to bring innovation and compliance requirements to our product suite. Finally, I lead a team of compliance professionals as we deliver outsourced compliance department services and gap assessments to agencies and creditors large and small.
On a typical day, I wake up and move to my desk by 5:30 a.m. I like to work on research, writing and compliance related projects between 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. central time. By 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. my day is no longer my own. By this time my colleagues on the East Coast are going strong and my colleagues on the West Coast are firing emails from their workstations. Between 9:00 and 10:00, I respond to emails. At 10:00 a.m., I join our executive leadership team’s daily stand up call. By 11:30, conference calls and webex’s usually begin. I do try and take a lunch but this does not always happen. During the afternoon, I may find myself writing a powerpoint for my next conference session, meeting with a client’s leadership team to discuss a compliance issue such as TCPA or Reg E compliance, and conducting a training session for our sales or support teams. Keeping up with federal and state legislative and regulatory activity is also work I do when the meetings do not dominate my time. Basically, my job provides me with tremendous variety, the chance to use my brain and the very real opportunity to help others both internally and externally.
Once the work day comes to an end and if I am not waiting for three grandchildren under five to join us for dinner, Steve and I go for a three-mile walk with our dog, Max. Next, Steve joins me as I enjoy a glass of wine [he has yet come to appreciate this wonderful moment life offers an empty nester]. I make dinner or we go out and by then it may just be time for jammies.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Cookies. Any kind. Any shape. Any size.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Do all things in moderation.
What are you currently reading?
The Polar Express with my grandkids and Orphan Train for myself by Christina Baker Kline
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I am a certified scuba diver and was a pretty darn good skier in my day.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Michael Barrist, CEO of Radius.