Recently called out by Laura Jensen to participate in this series, Bekah Luebcke of Crown Asset Management made sure to thank Laura for the nomination in her own special way. Beyond a decision to start reading more fiction, though, it’s clear why Laura wanted us all to get to know Bekah a little bit better. Read on to learn how we have a disapproving sister to thank for Bekah’s presence in the ARM industry, what she likes about going to the office, and what flavor of Doritos need to be nearby if she is working on a deadline.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I have the opposite trajectory from Laura, who nominated me to answer these questions, and I left my work with an animal shelter to join the ARM industry. During my junior year at Ole Miss, I worked part-time for the local humane society when my disapproving sister suggested I apply for a job at the collection agency where she worked. Soon after, I got my start as a data entry operator, keying consumers’ and their bank details from stacks of dirty, bounced checks into an old school DOS called Kenwood, I think???
What is your career highlight so far?
The past couple of years have been quite the highlight for me. I’ve gotten the opportunity to get more involved with RMAi and make some incredible friends who continually inspire me to keep pushing myself. There is never a dull moment between that and digging deep to develop myself into a worthy leader for my team. There is also no shortage of mental stimulation and great people to spend time with, working through the hard stuff.
When or how are you most productive?
Though it is a habit that I’m trying to break, the honest answer is that I’m most productive up against a deadline with a bag of nacho cheese Doritos in one hand, a pot of coffee within reach, a messy bun on my head, my favorite Jayhawks or Lucinda Williams album on the turnstile, and surrounded by stacks of books and articles I need to ingest in a nonsensically short period of time.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
This is hard to answer because I’m so grateful to have many industry leaders to contemplate in response to the question. Today, I’ll go with Joann Needleman. I thoroughly enjoy the moments when I get the chance to pick her brain for advice as much as watching the insight and perspective she brings to the conversation in panel after panel.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Pivoting and finding a path forward when plan A is not the way. I enjoy and appreciate the ability to take a mental step back and figure out if there’s a fork in the road we missed or another direction we can take to achieve the overall objective with a little compromise or perspective adjustment.
What do you like most about this industry?
Hands down, it’s the people! How lucky are we that we get to work during an age in our industry where collaboration is the name of the game, and wow, don’t we have some brilliant people to do that with? I stopped being surprised at the great ideas shared long ago.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
Like many answering this question, I hope to be a part of changing the falsely negative narrative bestowed by misinformation commonly shared to drive clicks and votes. For a long time, I gave an oblique answer if asked what I do for a living, but not anymore. Now, I look at that as an opportunity to help someone connect the person they know me to be and their trust in me with the true story of our industry’s role in the larger economy.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
There was a time I would have said I’d be teaching music history and teaching/playing trumpet, but these days, I think I’d more likely study to become an herbalist or Reiki master….or both! Either way, I’d be decidedly and, more obviously, the hippie I am on the inside.
Describe a typical work day
I recently moved back to Georgia, so I go into the office most days. We’ve maintained a hybrid environment, and while we have a decent number of people in the office, some days can be really quiet when my calendar isn’t filled with Zoom or Teams meetings. Most of the day is spent connecting with either members of my team or connecting them with other groups to collaborate or check up on our day-to-day progress on projects and workflows. There’s a small contingency of us who try to be in office if we aren’t traveling, and that’s a fun group of people to interact with every day. Maybe it will wear off over time, but I’m still enjoying the drop-ins from passersby throughout the day. It’s probably not surprising; they tend to be less bossy than my dogs when I work from home.
What is your guilty pleasure?
My mid-morning Cheez-its snack time when I realize I’ve forgotten to eat breakfast again…thankfully my team leverages their Costco memberships to ensure I have no excuse to be hangry during our meetings.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
This is a tie.
1) none of us is a mind reader, so we each have to articulate what we need and expect.
2) it’s not about me.
I didn’t receive either of these in a work setting, but I’ve been reminding myself of them for nearly 20 years as I stumble up and down this path we call leadership.
What are you currently reading?
“The Dharma Bums” by Jack Kerouac. I’m not naming any names, but someone (who may or may not have nominated me to answer these questions) recently gave me a hard time for not taking a break to read a little fiction occasionally. It’s semi-fictional, so I’ll call it progress.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I’m sorry if I’ve ever interrupted you or if I continue to do it, even though I know I need to show the respect of being a good listener. I promise I’m working on it!
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?