Getting to Know Diane Stamatelatos of Debt Co Collections

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Arbeit. Arbeit is a powerful, and easy to use communications platform that empowers businesses to reach more consumers. Innovative by nature, we are constantly listening to and understanding the businesses we partner with and developing long term industry relationships that allow us to be proactive in anticipating industry needs.

For all the people who come to the credit and collection industry early in their careers and then never leave, there is someone like Diane Stamatelatos, who just recently joined the industry, but has spent most of her career working at huge companies in the financial services industry. She’s worked at Bank of America and Citibank to name just two former employers, but she has brought her love of data and numbers to her new home as owner of Debt Co Collections. Read on to learn more about Diane, why you should never bother her when Survivor is on, and why she doesn’t mind working twice as hard as everyone else.

Name: Diane Stamatelatos
Company: Debt Co Collections
Job Title: Owner/CEO
Length of time at current position: My partner, Paul VanOosbree, and I started the company in October, 2018. In February, 2019, we bought an existing agency in Raytown, Missouri, just outside Kansas City, Missouri.
Length of time in industry: I’ve been in financial services my entire career – almost 30 years! I’ve developed strategies for collection departments at banks; however, brand new to a collection agency.

How did you get your start in the industry?
I went to college at NC State University and earned my degree in Statistics. My first job was with a company called MDS where we created the first bureau variables – many still used today like number of tradelines, number of inquiries, etc. – and built the first credit bureau scores.

What is your career highlight so far?
Honestly, it’s hard to pick. I’ve had a fun time so far – and, just hoping to have more fun and keep learning. In the late 1990’s, I was the SVP of Strategic Information Management at Bank of America where I was able to create industry-breaking account level profitability and customer relationship management strategies. I also was the SVP for Credit Card Acquisitions at Citibank where I was responsible for booking about $5 billion in new revenue annually. Around 2000, I worked for a dot.com where we built out the tracking and marketing infrastructure that was bought by Microsoft, then Facebook where you can still see some of my work in the names of customer segments (by the way, I was responsible for about 50% of those annoying pop-up ads you used to get in 1999/2000 and I’m sorry!). I’ve taught Data-Driven Marketing at Harvard University and was on the cover of Fast Company Magazine. Through 2010, I was a partner at Ernst & Young in Europe where I had the pleasure of traveling around Europe and building out Customer Analytics for world-class organizations. However, with all of this, I’ve always wanted to go out on my own and build something for myself – so, here I am trying to get Debt Co off the ground!

When or how are you most productive?
By nature, I am driven by numbers. I like to understand the impact of each decision, improve decision-making, and surround this all with significant organization to keep it all straight.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
Bill Gates – I love that he is a constant reader and learner.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Numbers – applying data and analytics to make better business decisions.

What do you like most about this industry?
The data-driven quality, the challenges that make each day just a little different, and the ability to drive new business and payments through good, old-fashioned hard work.

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
The perception that our industry is tough on consumers and uncaring.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Corporate America.

Describe a typical work day.
Typical? Does anyone have this? 🙂 Actually, there are some things I do every day. We start the day with an all hands meeting that typically lasts 15-20 minutes just to touch-base. I review our P&L versus budget, review KPIs, network, run through our client list to speak to at least five clients a day, and work on sales to bring on new clients. We are so new that I’m spending a lot of time perfecting my marketing/sales strategies. When we bought the company, we had about 250 clients – we added 53 new clients last year for a growth of over 20% in year one!

What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching Survivor – I’ve seen every episode!

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What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
When I was just a couple of years out of college, I worked at a big bank with a solid old boys’ network. I called my dad one night, upset because I felt I had to work twice as hard as the guys to make it. My dad let me complain for a bit. Then, he told me to stop, I had my solution already – he said, “If you need to work twice as hard, work twice as hard.” Two years later, I was named the youngest VP in Bank One’s history at the age of 25.

What are you currently reading?
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I’ve worked for a lot of companies, across the world. This last year has certainly been difficult as my partner and I are attempting to get our feet under us and create a successful business. I’ve never seen a group of professionals so willing to help. I just want everyone to know how much I truly appreciate it – I have no doubt that we would not be growing as strong with the assistance!

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
I’d love to hear from everyone! 🙂

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Arbeit. Arbeit is a powerful, and easy to use communications platform that empowers businesses to reach more consumers. Innovative by nature, we are constantly listening to and understanding the businesses we partner with and developing long term industry relationships that allow us to be proactive in anticipating industry needs.

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