Getting to Know Caren Enloe of Smith Debnam

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

The AccountsRecovery.net house band has a new member! Sliding in is Caren Enloe, one of the most respected defense attorneys and an esteemed trombone player. Not only can she hit seventh position without breaking a sweat, but she can also tell you the best way to get something is to ask for it. Read on to learn more about Caren, her thoughts on the role of the CFPB, and just what her most prized possession is.

Name: Caren Enloe
Current Role/Job Title: I am a partner with Smith Debnam in Raleigh, NC and lead the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Litigation and Compliance team.
Company: Smith Debnam
Length of time at current company: Two tenures totaling 26 years.
Length of time in industry: 31 years (27 doing defense and compliance work).

How did you get your start in the industry?
I originally began as a creditors rights attorney representing both consumer financial service providers and commercial entities in collection matters. No one in our firm (and I mean NO ONE) wanted to do defense work and so I took a few counterclaims on. Then, one of the firm’s clients (an insurance carrier) asked if we have anyone who could defend an FDCPA claim and the rest is pretty much history.

What is your career highlight so far?
The Rule! What a time to be alive! Every nerd fiber in my body has enjoyed it – from submitting comments to the CFPB, to helping clients understand its import, to helping clients incorporate it in their operations. I have just loved being on the front end of something new.

When or how are you most productive?
In the early mornings. I like to start my day by planning it out in my dot journal. It helps me organize my day and do my best thinking.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
There are so many! Robbie Malone was in a lot of ways a trailblazer for me and always took me under her wing. She was brilliant but even more importantly, kind and generous with her advice and support. Barb Sinsley is another who early on gave me confidence in what I did. Manny Newburger, as well as John Chiles, are others who I admire tremendously and have mentored and supported me throughout my career. All are brilliant, generous with their time, and supportive to others in the industry. Tomio Narita is someone who I just think is crazy smart and I love how Tomio approaches problems.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I may be the best trombone player in the industry! Until the last few years, I spent a lot of time as a professional musician and in my younger years, did a couple of stints as adjunct faculty in the music departments of a couple of universities.

What do you like most about this industry?
It’s never boring. It’s a great industry for those that want to be innovative and be involved in constant change.

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What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
The CFPB! In my view, the agency needs to be neutral, providing equal protection to both industry and consumers and not politically motivated.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I wanted to be a photojournalist growing up. I think that would be an awesome job.

Describe a typical work day.
I usually start my day working at home in the mornings from 7-10, beginning with a trip through my emails and planning my day in my dot journal. I then head to the office and work from there until 6 or 6:30. I schedule most of my meetings between 10-12 and 2-4 because it leaves me big blocks of time for other stuff. I try to commit some time each day to marketing and business development, whether its writing an article, reaching out to someone, posting on social media, or appearing on one of Mike Gibb’s fabulous webinars!

What is your guilty pleasure?
My camera. I am an avid photography hobbyist. It’s my most prized possession! I love to explore and take pictures. Any free time I have on weekends, I like to get out and explore and take pictures. When I travel, I always try and plan some time to get out and take pictures. It’s a great way to make time stand still.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
If you want the work, ask for it. It’s simple but human nature is such that we fear rejection. When you learn that the worse thing that will happen is that someone may say no, its empowering. It was a game changer for me.

What are you currently reading?
I read a lot of historical fiction but because I read on the Kindle I can seldom tell you what exactly I am reading because the title is not front and center!

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I am a life longer learner. I love learning something new.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Brit Suttell or J.W. Blair (Online Information Services, Inc.)

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success

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