You don’t have to meet someone in person to know that he or she is a good leader. Pam Kirchner is living proof of that. Just reading her answers to the questions below, you can get a sense of her thoughtfulness, eloquence, and poise. Read on to learn more about Pam and how some good advice from her mother rarely steers her wrong.
Name: Pam Kirchner
Company: BCA Financial Services, Inc.
Length of time at current company: I celebrated my 40th anniversary with BCA on 05/18/18.
Length of time in industry: 40 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
As a senior in high school and working part time as a legal assistant in the afternoon and a grocery store cashier in the evening, I responded to an ad stating, “if you would like to be a team player, call us.” I made the call, interviewed with the owner of BCA, Bill Hearne Jr., and received a job offer the same day. Responding to that ad was one of the best life changing decisions I ever made. Bill took me under his wing, shared his knowledge and wisdom, and in 1997 handed over the reigns. Like so many others, it was by chance that I stumbled upon this great industry.
What is your career highlight so far?
The opportunity to lead a company so rich in family values and receiving the greatest of all compliments from my mentor, William (Bill) Hearne Jr., who by the way, contrary to popular belief is not my father.
When or how are you most productive?
Whether at home or at work, I find that I am the most productive first thing in the morning (with Starbucks in hand) and when I’m exercising regularly and eating healthy. And my family and co-workers have learned to steer clear of me and my energy on those rare occasions when I get more than 7 hours of sleep. Knowing that I am clearly a morning person, I try to block out several hours at the start of my day to tackle the tasks that will have the greatest impact on our organization and our industry.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
There are simply too many admirable people in our industry to name just one. Being in this industry for such a long time has awarded me the opportunity to meet and interact with so many successful, resilient, passionate, enthusiastic and innovative people.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I don’t believe I do anything better than everyone else (other than shop perhaps), however I am frequently complimented on my ability to inspire others and maintain a positive outlook in the face of adversity, so perhaps I do those things better than some.
What do you like most about this industry?
Definitely the people. “Competitor” seems to have a very different meaning in our industry than others. This is an industry filled with professionals who are more than willing to share their skills, knowledge, expertise and wisdom. I fondly recall my first official business trip to an ACA International convention over 30 years ago. As a young woman with limited business exposure, I was quite nervous about attending this meeting. To my surprise, I walked into a welcoming and mentoring environment and walked away with a greater awareness of the challenges facing our industry, acquaintances that became lifetime friends, and information that was vital to the success of our organization.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
As Leslie Bender would say, in a world of “unicorns and rainbows,” I would sprinkle pixie dust and make frivolous litigation disappear, especially related to TCPA.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
That’s a really good question and I wish I knew the answer. After recently watching A Star is Born, I had a Lady Gaga envy moment but since I am completely tone deaf and have no musical talent, I guess being a singer and songwriter is not an option. I truly enjoy my role as owner and CEO so perhaps I would select an industry that was a bit less litigious and regulated but I also enjoy a good challenge so maybe not.
Describe a typical work day.
Up at 5am, care for my mom, grab my Starbucks, and in the office by 7:30am. The majority of my day is spent managing relationships with company leaders, clients, prospects and vendors. On average, I probably spend 3+ hours emailing, skyping, and texting and many more hours in meetings and on conference calls. I designate time each day to set and review goals and strategies for the various departments within our organization and to review KPIs. There is never a day that doesn’t involve some type of problem solving, and of course, there is always that one urgent matter that completely disrupts my schedule for the day. I try and hit the gym to reduce some stress and hang out with my adult children before going home and taking over the care of my mom. My day ends with sitting at the dining table with a glass of wine catching up on emails.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Retail therapy. Enough said.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
As a child, my mom taught me to “listen to that little voice inside your head.” The most successful times of my life are when I am in tune with that little voice. The most difficult times are when I tune it out.
What are you currently reading?
The President is Missing and The Point of It All.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
Even though I do it often, I would still rather kiss a frog than speak to a large audience.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
I think my benchmark buddies Kenlyn Gretz and Jeff DiMatteo are pretty interesting fellows.