Imagine having so many Christmas decorations, you don’t have enough space every year to put them all out. That is the situation at Laura Thesing’s house. But, is the fact that she loves a holiday that is more about giving than receiving a surprise? This is someone who would choose a job in customer service if she were working somewhere else. She was also part of the group that formed the Great Lakes Credit and Collections Association. Read on to learn more about Laura, the one thing she can’t pass up when she sees it, and how being available on a Monday morning 35 years ago led to a career in collections.
Name: Laura J. Thesing
Current Role/Job Title: Business Operations Manager/Owner
Company: Credit Bureau Data Inc., La Crosse, Wisc.
Length of time at current company: 35 Years
Length of time in industry: 35 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
The office manager at the time knew me from the Eagles Club where I helped work Saturday night steak fries and did some waitressing. She knew I was looking for a full-time job as I was working part-time for an insurance agent and at a root beer stand in the evenings. She called me on a Friday morning to come for an interview for a data entry position that afternoon. At the end of the interview, I was offered the job if I could start Monday morning. The rest as they say is history. I am still here 35 years later.
What is your career highlight so far?
The opportunity to become a part owner of the company in 2011 is definitely at the top of the list. Right behind it is serving on the committee that formed the Great Lakes Credit and Collections Association (GLCCA) and being the first Secretary/Treasurer along with serving on the Wisconsin Collectors Association Board for several years including being President and an ACA Delegate.
When or how are you most productive?
When I am helping our clients and answering their questions, providing reports, offering more ways to assist them. Working with staff helping them understand processes so they can grow ad be successful in their position. I also like working with new technology and/or finding ways to be more efficient with the technology we already have.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
There are several I admire and have become good friends with over the years. Since I must pick one, Tina Hanson. She has always been supportive over the years, full of ideas and suggestions, and has so much knowledge. She is willing to share information and help both professionally and personally.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Nothing. LOL There is always someone who can do it better than me so knowing that and finding that person. I am a good listener and know when not to speak (most of the time).
What do you like most about this industry?
The people I have met over the years in the industry. We help people figure out how to pay their debt which in turn gives money back to our clients. We receive many more thank yous than the negative communication/comments from consumers. There is rarely a dull day and so many interesting “stories” from consumers where some are so unbelievable they have to be true.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
Reduce the regulations and negative perception of our industry. I do believe we need some regulations/rules to follow, however, it has become overburdensome and too many instances where you comply with one regulation but then you are not in compliance with another one. Way too many regulations to comply with between federal, state, and city.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Working somewhere having to do with customer service. I like helping people and seeing/hearing the satisfaction they have after helping them or being told I made their day.
Describe a typical work day
Start with a workout at 5 a.m. Get to the office around 7:30 a.m. and start reviewing e-mails and files. Decide what has to be done today and hope that happens. Throughout the day there are client calls, webinars, internal meetings, work on projects, and everything else in-between. No day is the same.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Snowmen and Christmas. I love decorating for Christmas both outside and inside. I have to rotate decorations year to year as I don’t have enough room for all the decorations. It is so much fun watching the little kids walk by and stop to look at the decorations or cars the drive by and stop to look. I can never pass up buying a snowman especially when we are traveling no matter what time of year.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t work too much as it will always be there and take time to enjoy your family. Hire smarter people than yourself.
What are you currently reading?
“Killing England” by Bill O’Reilly
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I worked for and am now a business partner with Nancy Borgen who is a past president of ACA International.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Bea Cheesman, Connie Matrisch, Julie Kough, and Lisa Weiler.