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.
It’s no wonder that Kristen Rowles, who thrives in chaos and never shies away from difficult conversations, grew to become a leader and someone who helps make everyone around her better. Perhaps even more importantly, she taught her father about the benefits of working in the ARM industry. Read on to learn more about Kristen, why she would make a great TV judge or detective, and how she successfully protected herself and her dog from an aggressive deer.
Name: Kristen Rowles
Current Role/Job Title: Vice President, Organizational Development and Training
Company: CBE Companies
Length of time at current company: 16 years
Length of time in industry: 16 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
I was a single parent working crazy hours as a loan officer and decided that I wanted to work someplace where I could clock in and out but still get commission. I heard amazing things about CBE so I applied and started as a debt collector for one of our government contracts. Shortly after I started at CBE the recession hit so I got out of the mortgage business at the perfect time!
What is your career highlight so far?
I have so many because of the great teams that I work with! Here are two that stand out: 1. Successfully planning and facilitating the Leadership Summit. This was the first time in a decade that we’d done the Summit this so there were lots of firsts for several of us. I had the opportunity to work with an amazing, diverse team to plan, schedule, and facilitate this in-person event for over 70 members of management. It was so successful that this has become an annual event! 2. Winning the Apex Award (an award that ranks organizations that excel at employee training and development) two years in a row. The first year we applied we were ranked 89th, and the second year we applied we improved to 39th.
When or how are you most productive?
I love the whirlwind! When I have a ton on my plate is when I thrive. I think part of this is because I like to solve puzzles. I get to put all these pieces together to create a successful game plan and execute that plan.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
This is a tough question because there are so many that I admire but if I can only choose one then I would say Tom Penaluna. Tom is the owner of CBE. He is so humble, community driven, family oriented, and successful. He makes you feel like you matter as a person and truly cares about the employees.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
This is a hard question to answer. I would say having crucial conversations. Most people shy away from these but I enjoy having them because of the teaching moments and potential lessons learned.
What do you like most about this industry?
The opportunities. When I first started as a debt collector, my father was embarrassed of what I did. As I continued in this field and was able to explain the benefits of what we do, he started to understand that this is not a career to be embarrassed about. After six years as a collector, I moved into management and continued to grow, personally and professionally, into my current role.
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What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
The negative thoughts that come with “debt collections”.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I would love to be a detective. I love searching for the facts and problem solving.
Describe a typical work day
Everyday is always something different and that keeps me on my toes. I have a unique role overseeing development and training for the entire organization. I have developed amazing relationships with all departments and get to grow those relationships every day.
What is your guilty pleasure?
TV – I always say that with my 25 seasons of Judge Judy experience I should have an honorary law degree.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
In development we often get so focused on wanting others to succeed that we feel like we’ve failed if they don’t make it. Someone once said to me, “you can’t want it for them more than they want it for themselves”. That has stuck with me and has helped me through those internal struggles.
What are you currently reading?
For professional development, I’m reading The Outward Mindset. For fun, I’m reading Before I Go To Sleep. I highly recommend both books!
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I successfully “fought” off a deer that was chasing me and my yellow lab. The deer was so close that it snotted on me so I put my keys in between my fingers to punch it. However, the deer was a lot bigger than I realized. I backed up, picked up a large rock and tossed it. When it hit the cement, the deer got scared and ran. My dog and I ran home in the opposite direction. I’m terrified of deer to this day!
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Aaron Olson, Director of Compliance, CBE Companies
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