Iliana Silva, Global Credit Director at Tricon Energy, shares her experiences and thoughts on her career in the credit and collections industry.
What is your background?
I have over twenty years’ experience in the field. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Florida International University and my Master of International Business from Nova Southeastern University. I began my career in the mortgage industry in 2003 and spent some years in the domestic fuel distribution business before joining Tricon in 2018.
What is your job title and what are your responsibilities?
I am the Global Credit Director at Tricon Energy. I’m responsible for leading the whole credit and collection function, globally, for both exports and local distribution business. I administer multiple credit insurance policies, maintain, update, and monitor credit policies and procedures, assess customer’s credit worthiness and monitor orders and credit limits.
Can you describe your typical day?
The first thing I do each day is to review my email for urgent approvals to keep the business moving. I look at overdue reports to see where money is sitting, and which accounts might need additional follow up and support. During the day, I regularly spend time on calls with my team and other departments to solve any issues and monitor special situations. I also make sure that all the needs of my team are being met, and that I’m available to support those needs.
What would you say are your greatest accomplishments in this industry?
This is not industry related, but I feel that my greatest accomplishment is that I made the move from Venezuela to the United States to pursue a career. I was able to graduate from college in the U.S. and build my career. Everything I have accomplished in my career is because of making that first decision to move to the United States. Had I not made this move, my situation would probably be completely different.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I want to further develop my career at Tricon, whether I’m in my current role or a different one. Tricon is such a dynamic business that I am constantly learning new things, and I am content with the growth achieved thus far. Learning keeps me motivated and watching my team getting better and achieve goals gives me great pride.
What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the field?
Make sure you like it! If you can, test it out first. Credit is a combination of analytics and business acumen. You have to be creative and have the ability to think outside the box, and see beyond numbers and have an open mind. You need to understand different business industries, current trends and country risk. You also must have a thick skin. Don’t take things personally, there will be friction at times with commercial side – it is an organic part of the business.
If you weren’t working in credit, what do you think you’d be doing career-wise?
I started my career in the mortgage industry, and I gained a passion for real estate, so I’d probably be doing something in this area. I love looking at homes, learning what the current housing market is, and I also like interior design. I’d possibly be flipping houses. I see housing as a safe long-term investment and I think real estate plays such an important role in the economy, and it would be a fun and interesting field to be in.