Women in Leadership Spotlight: Jen Cline

We interviewed Jen Cline, our Senior Director of Quality Assurance in our IT Department, to ask her eight questions about her experience as a female leader within Progrexion! Read her interview below and leave a comment to tell us what you think!

  1. Tell us a little bit about your day-to-day.
    1. The IT leadership team meets every morning to review where we are on key initiatives, get cross-team updates on current projects and to provide a forum for questions or concerns. Once our morning meetings are done, most of my day is split between meetings regarding current and future projects, planning for my resources and working with the QA team.
  2. When you first started your career, what were your ambitions? Have they changed?
    1. When I was first involved in software QA, my goal at each company and on each project was to become an expert in my area of responsibility. As a subject matter expert, I knew that I could positively impact the value the current project would have on the company and that I would have a personal role in its success.  Now, as a leader, my ambition is to develop an outstanding team that can deliver on their commitments while encouraging personal development and growth.
  3. What were some of your biggest challenges when you first started to take on leadership roles?
    1. Making the transition from an individual contributor to a leader of contributors. Ensuring the work is done well without doing it myself. Not getting so caught up in the hustle and bustle of meetings that I lose sight of the fact that I am a coach and have a responsibility to everyone on my team to provide them with what they need to succeed.
  4. How has mentorship impacted your career?
    1. I have been so fortunate in my very diverse career to have had mentors every step of the way. Having a strong, effective leader that I am able to reach out to for advice, encouragement and support is a key component of my personal growth, allowing me to benefit from their years of experience.  A mentor on my previous career was actually my biggest supporter in my moving into software QA and his absolute certainty that I would excel was one of the reasons I made the change.
  5. How would you describe your leadership style?
    1. First and foremost, I am a coach. My job is to help everyone on my team grow, improve and succeed.  I believe in treating others with respect and also know that teams succeed with strong leaders that are present, honest, focused on the right things and ensure that their team is likewise focused.  I have high expectations and it’s my job to ensure those expectations are clearly communicated and consistently upheld.  I also realize that my team is made up of individuals that deserve individual attention and accommodation, as well as recognition for a job well done.
  6. What female leader do you admire and why?
    1. There are really so many, especially in the IT While this is often known as a male dominated industry, I have known many woman in leadership roles that I admire. I was fortunate enough to work for a woman that grew into a leadership role while building a software QA department, pretty much from the ground up. I admire that she had a vision of what good software QA entailed and tenaciously put together policies, procedures and documentation that is still in use today.
  7. How does diversity impact your team?
    1. Our willingness to embrace diversity in the IT organization gives us an enormous pool of talent to select from. We have career IT professionals and high performers from our call centers.  We have individuals born and raised right here in Utah and from thousands of miles away.  Male, female, Master’s degrees, High School diplomas, any number of different religions and cultures and languages.  We hire for talent and work ethic and as a result have an extraordinary group of individuals that make up our teams.
  8. . How do you identify potential leaders on your team?
    1. First, I make sure I understand who on my team is interested in leadership. Wanting that level of responsibility is key to succeeding in a leadership role.  Next, I look for individuals that are problem solvers and natural coaches that operate with absolute integrity and are always willing to take on a new challenge.

We hope you were inspired by Jen’s interview! Have a question for Jen about her role and path to leadership? Email her at jcline@progrexion.com.

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Progrexion Joins Utah’s Fight Against Hunger

Across nine locations, including call centers and corporate offices, Progrexion assembled 90,000 meals to help feed those in need.

What is hunger? To some, it’s a rumbling stomach or a minor inconvenience. To others, it’s a matter of life and death. Rise Against Hunger is an international organization dedicated to ending the hunger epidemic by the year 2030. As ambitious as this goal may sound, it is equally possible if the world can come together and mobilize the necessary resources—everyone, everywhere.

Last month, Progrexion, a local company that enables American consumers to repair their credit, joined the fight against hunger. Across nine locations, including call centers and corporate offices, Progrexion assembled 90,000 meals to help feed those in need. You too can make a difference in the fight against hunger, by visiting RiseAgainstHunger.org and donating your time or money.

As for Progrexion, this trend of giving is one that’s going to stick. Progrexion is a growing (and caring) company that seeks to better not only the lives of its employees, but the lives of all those in need. At the core of Progrexion’s values is the belief that everyone deserves access to the tools of success. While that certainly includes food, it also extends to where you work. If you’re interested in starting a career at a company that rewards hard work and a helpful attitude, head online to www.progrexion.com/careers or text CAREERS to 444222.
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Three Key Basics to a Great Candidate Experience – A 15 Second Risk

Diversity People Recruitment Search Opportunity Concept

Several years ago, I decided to leave my career in the Latin American recruiting consulting field and transition back into corporate recruiting management. During this move I quickly realized how critical a new candidate’s experience is to a company’s overall culture. Even more important; this experience, good or bad, will have serious ramifications on a company’s reputation as a great place to work. As I interviewed for various positions, I became discouraged in my search, realizing that most companies tend to miss the mark in three key recruiting basics: attention, persuasion and experience.

  • Attention: The new candidate experience begins the moment a potential candidate hears about a company, regardless of the method. But once this person has heard of a company, what drives them to apply for said company over its competition? What draws their attention? Is it a key message, a single word, phrase or simply curiosity? If you are a recruiting or hiring manager; are you willing to bet your career on attracting someone’s attention in less than 7 words, or in 15 seconds? You better. With a passive candidate, that’s all you get. A 15 second phone call drew me to my current role at Progrexion. Keep your messaging simple. The best candidates will have a natural curiosity and will start to ask questions, do research and contact your company based on the simple messaging used.
  • Persuasion: At Progrexion, we offer each candidate a life changing experience. We stand by our motto, “Uniquely Different on Purpose” as an introduction to why Progrexion’s culture stands out against the competition. Would that persuade you to apply? What about benefits, culture or money? Is it more important for a company to offer community service or free food? In a candidate run world, and much like marketing, recruiting has the ability to persuade people into buying what you are offering. Moving them from their current status, location or job is all about marketing and the employee value proposition. What else can you offer to persuade today’s new top candidates?
  • Experience: Finally, the most important part is the candidates overall experience. To determine if the candidate had an excellent experience, ask yourself these questions: Can the candidate apply quickly over the phone? Can they find necessary company information, and is it clear what your company does and offers to consumers? Is your interview process streamlined? If it is a more drawn out process, is the candidate willing to stick around? How fast do you call to set up the first interview, and when do you set the face-to-face interview? How BOLD are you during the process? Are you willing to tell a potential candidate they might not be the right fit for a position? How is your tempo during the interview? Do you move so fast the candidate feels they are being sold something superficial? How is the onboarding and day one process? *SHRM research shows that 90% of new employees decide whether or not they will stay with a company in the first six months, with up to 17% leaving in the first 90 days. How much paperwork does it take to onboard, and are you prepared? What is the new hire’s experience on day 1, 30 and day 90? Do your new hires have mentors to help them succeed? If you miss the mark on these key items, your new hires will be gone in less than six months and will only stay with the company until the next job comes along.

Final thoughts: As I mentioned, the candidate experience begins the moment they hear about a company and does not end until well after the candidate has been hired and on boarded. Remember that candidates not selected are just as important as those hired. What story will candidates tell about your company?

During my transition back to corporate recruiting, I met and interviewed with several companies. To this day, two of those companies stand out because my candidate experience was so great, and I still refer people to them seven years later.

Candidate experience is ever changing, and what you do today will be different six months from now. As markets and generations change, the three key basics will always stay the same: attention, persuasion and experience.

Happy Hunting!

Ryan Reeder, Senior Director Talent Acquisition

*https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/onboarding-key-retaining-engaging-talent.aspx

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Women in Leadership Spotlight: Lisa Kimball

Meet Lisa Kimball,Women in Leadership Spotlight, Lisa Kimball Vice President of Partner Relations for Credit.com, working out of the Salt Lake City office. Lisa came onto the Credit.com team in April to manage strategic partnerships, account management and sales operations. She has more than 15 years of experience in banking and has worked in a wide variety of roles, including relationship management, operations management, process improvement and finance.

 1. Tell us a little bit about your day-to-day.

My days are very different depending on our team’s focus for the week and what kind of partner initiatives are underway. I love the variety. I switch gears from outlining strategies to optimize marketplaces for partners like Experian and myFICO, to working with our advertising partners on the inventory of offers we have available and placement of those offers, to reviewing operational and compliance processes. I enjoy working with the team and ensuring the success of our partners (which then drives our success).

2. When you first started your career, what were your ambitions? Have they changed?

I started my career as a CPA focused on corporate tax and forensic accounting. I found out fairly quickly that I didn’t love that work and began to consider how to switch gears. I was able to leverage my accounting background to work as a consultant specializing in system implementations for large financial and HR/Payroll systems. That led me into roles in finance, procurement, operations and relationship management. My career ambitions have been fairly consistent – to continue to grow and develop professionally while contributing to an organization that makes a positive impact. I have had to balance that ambition with a need for flexibility and stability to allow time to raise a family and enjoy activities outside of work.

3. What were some of your biggest challenges when you first started to take on leadership roles?

The biggest challenge in shifting to leadership roles was understanding that the work I did individually needed to take a backseat to making sure the team could accomplish their work. Basically, that the most important role of the leader is to set the vision, ensure it’s well communicated and help the team with any barriers that get in their way of executing. Making that shift, and letting go of the “doing it myself” mentality was very challenging.

4. How has mentorship impacted your career?

I have benefited from a handful of very impactful mentors – some were my direct managers and others were colleagues who were willing to take the time to provide useful feedback. In a variety of situations, those mentors have helped me tackle tough problems, provided encouragement and celebrated successes. I am grateful for each of these mentors and the help that they have given me.

5. How would you describe your leadership style?

I aspire to be a supportive leader – helping each person on my team to be successful. That includes providing direct and thoughtful feedback alongside encouragement and removing barriers and roadblocks. I tend to be very results focused and enjoy helping find creative solutions to our business problems.

6. What female leaders do you admire and why?

When I think of female leaders, I tend to think of women that I have known personally.  My grandmother is a great example – she had many challenges during her life and forged through them with amazing strength. At the same time, she instilled her values of hard work, fairness and service to her children and grandchildren.

7. How does diversity impact your team?

Diversity is an important aspect to my team because it helps us to see things from a variety of perspectives and to solve challenges in more creative ways. Valuing the contribution that each team member can make, especially when their experience and opinions differ from mine, is a key element of success.

8. How do you identify potential leaders on your team?

I believe that everyone is a leader – that individual actions have an impact on those around us whether or not that is part of the job title. I encourage my team to be aware of their own influence and to leverage that to help themselves and others be successful.

Learn more about our careers at https://www.progrexion.com/careers

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Progrexion 2015 Community Impact

2015 Progrexion giving poster_Page_1

Progrexion Community Impact

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Credit Matters: The Importance of Credit, an Employee Perspective

Credit Matters photo

 

Trouble Breathing?

Take a deep breath (Yes, reader that means you) take a deep breath. Now hold that breath . . . hold it . . . okay, let it go. Did you feel the air fill your lungs? Your chest expand? How often are we so busy bustling through the day that we don’t even really notice we are breathing? Would we notice if we all of a sudden stopped breathing? Undoubtedly. When speaking of the importance of credit, Curt Fullmer, Director of Workforce Management for Progrexion, Efolks, and CreditRepair.com said, “Honestly, credit to me is like air. You don’t ever think about it until you need it, and when you need it, there is nothing more important in the whole, wide world. And that’s credit, you don’t think about it until you’re trying to use it, or get something with it, and at that point it’s now blocking you from moving on in your life, so it becomes the most important thing in your life.”

What makes credit so important that it would be compared to air, the very element that is necessary for life? Ty Weston, VP of Operations and Strategy, provides a concrete, yet simple answer for this. “Credit is really the ticket to the modern world, modern economy. It used to be the handshake with the banker in your town of a thousand people; now it’s your credit report. From an opportunity standpoint if you don’t have good credit, you don’t understand it, you don’t know how to use credit to help your family in this modern world, this world can be a rough place.”

Now that it’s been established that credit is a vital part of our lives, what words come to mind when you hear the term? When asked, our interviewees gave their personal thoughts; some words included: Opportunity, Reliability, Freedom, Adult Report Card, Credibility, Money, and Reputation.

poll for employees regarding credit

Going Back in Time

The reason a person chooses to have their credit pulled may be similar to another’s reason; however, each situation and outcome is uniquely different. For some, this experience is like a game of Russian roulette and for others it is like taking a walk in the park. This is especially true for the first time credit is pulled and the experience it leaves with us.

“The very first time I went in to get credit,” Curt said, “I had pretty smart parents, who when I was 16 years old were going to buy a new couch set and decided they were going to put me on there so that I could start building a credit report. When the company first pulled it, they said, ‘Oh, no problem. He’s got great credit because he’s paid back that other car he bought.’ I had never bought a car or anything, but someone had used my credit, but in an odd twist of fate had paid everything back faithfully and built my credit up. It was quite amazing. I was the victim of identity theft, but in a positive way.” Our personal credit journey begins before we even know what money is. In a recent survey, we asked respondents to tell us the age they were when they were first introduced to the term credit. Results showed that only 12.65% of respondents were introduced to the term credit at an age of 11 or younger; another 15.36% were introduced to the term credit between the ages of 12 and 14. Children are an easy target for identity theft. Because of his first credit pull, Curt, now a parent, said, “Personally, I have three children: 4, 6, 10 and I have frozen their credit lines for that very reason; they say it [identity theft] is very common for children (because children are definitely not checking their credit reports under the age of 18,) to be the victims of identity theft.”

For Candice Sherman, Sr. Director of Customer Loyalty, her motivation for pulling her credit report was to have a safety net as she started her entrance into the adult world. “It was either my senior year or freshman year of college. I had a bank account, but I needed an overdraft line of credit on my account in case I accidentally overdrafted. I had accidently overdrafted [before] and got some fees and so I thought ‘oh I want just a little bit of a line of credit.’ I was with Zions and so you go in and they give you a $200 line of credit and pull your credit, but I don’t think I had any. I had enough to get only a $200 line for an overdraft, and that was where I started building it.”

Also from the same survey previously mentioned, 27.70% of respondents pulled their credit for the first time in order to apply for a car loan. Ty shares the same reason with these respondents. “I remember the first time I went to go get credit, and I don’t think I looked at my report. I was trying to buy a used car and I was able to get the car, but I remember him coming back saying ‘hey ya know, your credit isn’t that great.’ So I don’t know if he was using that was a tactic, I don’t know what the deal was, but I just remember when it happened feeling kind of powerless. I didn’t know anything about it, I didn’t understand credit.

I was a young kid, so who knows, maybe it was bad because there wasn’t anything on there, but having somebody tell you your credit isn’t good, you take it a little personally, like ‘What? What’s the matter? What’s the matter with me? I got something flawed or something.’” When asked what their reaction was to having their credit pulled for the first time, a portion of respondents echoed Ty’s feelings. They answered: Confusion (12.22%), Frustration (13.22%), and Shock (4.99%).

Credit Report difficulty

 What is So Hard to Understand?

What is it that makes understanding a credit report so difficult? It is an essential part of personal and familial success, and yet it seems so difficult to understand. Rachel Poulos, a Paid Search Strategist, only has had a credit pull done on her credit report when applying for large purchases. We asked Rachel if understanding her report was difficult. With humor she replied, “I’ve only ever pulled soft credit pulls [on her own], but yeah, it was a little complicated.” Taking it a step further, and talking about what specifically made it complicated, she continued, “I would say the credit score. What is a good credit score? You’re not really told what’s a good credit score, especially if you want to get, well with my experience was with buying a house. I didn’t know what it was that I needed in order to get a house, a good loan.”

Candice, a 9 year veteran in the credit industry, told us, “I think the hardest part to understand is the score, the complexity of the score, and what could positively or negatively affect that score. Of course we know the five factors that affect it, but it’s really quite complicated, especially for most people that don’t know what those five factors are, and even from where I’m standing in the industry, ‘oh, okay, your payment history makes up this percentage, your credit mix makes up this percentage,’ but really there are just so many dynamics in it.”  Vanessa Kerr, an Offline Media Strategist, when discussing the score said, “there’s just so many different elements that it’s hard to know everything,” Curt remarked “I’ve always be baffled by the fact that simply someone pulling my credit report lowers my score. That seems odd to me, so I think the score is the most mysterious part of the entire process.”

Does Credit Matter? The Collective Take

This year the concept “Credit Matters” has been looked at from various standpoints and from many differing views. Vanessa said, “I think credit matters to me because it definitely helps you achieve that American Dream of buying a house, and unless you have a ton of money and you want to pay for everything with cash, you need to have credit. It’s very important.”

For Rachel, “Credit matters because it can prevent you, or it can help you achieve your dream: your goal, your dream house, your dream car, or anything that you need; Maybe you need a car to get to work, anything necessary in life . . . I believe your credit tells creditors how you handle your money, and how they can trust you would pay them back.” Vanessa’s and Rachel’s answers of why credit matters appeals to the long standing belief proclaimed in our country’s Declaration of Independence that “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are available to all men and women without exception.

Does Credit Matter? The Personal Take

Just as each person has their individual reasons for pulling credit, monitoring credit, and perhaps even hiding from credit, the reason credit matters to each person is a unique story. When asked why credit mattered to him personally, Ty said, “My kids are getting older. I have an 18 year old daughter now, she’s heading off to college in the fall, and I look at my kids and I put myself back there in their position, and I realize how important it is for them to understand how this works as they go forward in their lives and what an impact it can have on them. It’s pretty personal for me right now as my daughter is going out in the world a little bit. To make sure that she understands how that works and what’s going on. So that part of it is really personal for me right now.”

 Does Credit Matter? The Impact Take

Employees on a daily basis hear stories of how a person’s credit was destroyed and why they need it back. Often these calls are very difficult and the stories are heartbreaking. Ty told us, “Being a part of servicing our clients, in talking to clients, in taking phone calls, you understand and see what an impact this has on families, and so that’s where I’ve related it to my family. Credit can either be a great, wonderful thing that helps families achieve all their dreams of home ownership, or jobs, or whatever; or it can be a brutal thing for families that’s very difficult for them to overcome and causes a lot of heartache, problems, and even causes some families to separate. I would say that credit is a big factor in families not being able to stay together.” If you hang around an employee of Progrexion long enough, you begin to see that as time goes on, working for Progrexion isn’t just about having a job, it becomes so much more. This is a company that is one person at a time, on a personal level, changing lives. Candice shared why credit matters to her. She said, “Credit matters to me because this is what I love and this is what I do all day. It matters to me because I see it give opportunities to people, and I’ve been a part of interviews where it’s given opportunities to people and changed their lives. In that way it’s given me opportunities. I may not be the person that is going to leverage credit the most, or necessarily have a lot of credit problems, but I come to work thinking about credit, and think about how it is affecting the lives of our customers.”

*All survey and other statistical data courtesy of Survey Monkey’s “Credit Matters: Credit Education” survey results

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