Vanina Negri, Collections Manager for Google, has been in the credit and collections industry for over ten years. She’s always had an interest in economics and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Navarra. Prior to working at Google, Vanina was an E-Commerce Specialist with Apple.
ABC-Amega’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, Al Steinhart, recently spoke with Vanina about her experience as a leader in the credit and collections field.
AS: How did you get into the credit field?
VN: Had you asked a 10 year old Vanina what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would have said a shop-keeper. My favorite toy was a play cash register! At the time, I didn’t know what a credit analyst was, but I guess you could say that I’m now fulfilling my dream… Seriously, after I earned my economics degree in Spain, I moved to Ireland and got a job in Credit Card Fraud with Apple. I eventually moved into the Credit department and shortly after that I moved to the Credit and Collections team in Google. I have been enjoying my work in this industry.
AS: What challenges, if any, have you faced being a women in this industry?
VN: Google is a very safe environment and I haven’t faced any challenges within the company. Externally, I have attended many credit conferences and I can imagine some of the challenges people might face. I see very little diversity and very few women in a clearly male-dominated industry. Growing up in Spain, I was in a household where men and women had equal opportunities, so it was a bit of a shock to me to find this isn’t always the case in the workforce.
AS: Are there any programs or initiatives dedicated to bringing more women into the field?
VN: This is an issue close to my heart and one I am quite passionate about. I’m involved in initiatives that are not credit-specific, but the principles are the same and can be applied to other fields. Google has a great program called Women at Google, it’s a global network committed to empowering all women at Google by connecting, developing, and retaining female talent.
AS: How has the industry changed over the years?
VN: One big change is technology. It has changed the way we work in credit. Companies are now able to use Artificial Intelligence to track the activity of a business which improves the ability to predict if a company is going to default. The other big change is education. The popularity of STEM programs worldwide is exposing the younger generations to STEM related degrees driving more balance in a field where women are currently underrepresented.
AS: In what ways do you feel the industry could or should improve?
VN: Leaders should urgently open a dialogue around diversity. They must understand that success comes from collective intelligence and that the more diverse a team is the more creative the solutions will get. Diversity equals success.
Industry leaders should foster inclusivity, and therefore bring more women into the workforce, which will help introduce new perspectives and new ideas to the credit industry.
AS: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting into the industry?
VN: I can see why a young person would feel intimidated about getting into this industry. I would suggest that people surround themselves with a good network to learn from and help conquer any fears. Finding a role model is a really powerful tool to gain the needed confidence. ‘Seeing is Believing’. Don’t hold back your ideas and put yourself forward. I often think of this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
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