If Connie Matrisch had listened to her boss instead of herself, who knows where she would be today. She likely wouldn’t be the owner of her own collection agency, which she has now owned for nearly two decades. It is that kind of ambition that has set her apart and made her one of the most respected members of the ARM industry. Read on to learn more about Connie, the things she likes to do with her grandchildren, and why she likes getting to the office an hour or two before you every morning.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I began working at the Credit Bureau of Springfield, Inc. as a part-time data entry person while I was attending college. The company was a local credit reporting and collection agency owned by a group of shareholders. Eventually, my position moved to a full-time job doing a variety of things. I was promoted to the Administrative Assistant to the President of the company. During that time, I read about and learned as much as I could about the credit reporting and collection industry. While the President of the company traveled a good deal, I ran the company in his absence. Over time, I moved to a variety of positions, became a shareholder of the company and serving as a member of the Board. I was the first female officer and director of the company.
In the late 1990’s, the company decided to sell its credit reporting division to TransUnion and rebranded itself as Pro Com Services Corp. In the early 2000’s, the shareholders decided that they wanted to sell the company. Many of them had inherited their stock over the years and had no vested interest in the company. They were also aging and wanted to liquidate their assets. I was tasked with assisting them in finding a buyer. During this time, I met with prospective buyers showing them the operations and financials of the company all while maintaining confidentiality of what was happening. Several times, I approached my boss and asked if he thought the Board would consider an offer to purchase from me. He did not think that was a good idea and discouraged me from pursuing it. I contacted the Chairman of the Board at that time and asked his opinion. He thought it was a great idea and supported me throughout the process. Finally, in December 2004 I purchased the company from my former employer of 21 years.
What is your career highlight so far?
I would say this is a twofold answer with both being equally important. Being able to purchase the company and seeing staff members grow and succeed in their roles have been the highlights of my career.
When or how are you most productive?
I am most productive early in the morning before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
There are so many that it is hard to name one. The people I admire the most are the staff who work the phones every day. They handle a wide variety of consumers and treat them all with dignity and respect even though they do not always receive the same treatment from the consumer. These employees are what makes our industry successful.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I don’t think I do anything better than anyone else. It is a team effort; everyone brings their strengths to the table and we all work together to make it happen. I have been told that I give the best hugs and make a great butter cake.
What do you like most about this industry?
The camaraderie among the people who work in the industry. They are always willing to help each other, share ideas and be a resource when needed. We are problem solvers. We help not only our clients but the consumers they serve to resolve their accounts all while maintaining a positive professional attitude.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
As many others have said in the past, I wish we could change society’s perception of the industry. The collection industry is vital to the economy. We provide a necessary service and do so in an ethical and professional manner. We are problem solvers.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I would be working in the accounting or customer service industry.
Describe a typical work day
I like to start each day early and get to the office 1-2 hours before the staff arrives. I use this time to dig into items that require a lot of concentration. From there, each day is different. The day includes a variety of tasks including client meetings, client requests, system issues, internal meetings, webinars and making sure our managers and staff have what they need to do their jobs. No day is typical.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Spending time with my grandchildren whether it be playing outside, playing board games, swimming, fishing, baking or just hanging out. I cherish every minute I have with them.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Surround yourself with a good support system of mentors, colleagues, friends, and family that you respect. You need to have a reliable, honest, experienced group that you can rely on for input. Don’t hesitate to reach out to those you look up to. They have a wealth of knowledge and are always willing to share and support you.
What are you currently reading?
“The Coaching Habit Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever” by Michael Bungay Stanier
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I’m always looking for ways to improve and am willing to help anyone out.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?