When Christine Lipani, Senior Manager of Credit and Collections at Meredith Corporation, entered the job market, she was working in a completely different industry. After taking a short break to start her family, she accepted a position in collections that accommodated her and her family’s needs, and a new career blossomed. Now with over twenty-two years in the industry, Christine continues to have a successful career that has brought her to companies such as Cablevision, Rainbow Media, AMC Networks, and Time Inc. (now Meredith Corporation).
ABC-Amega’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, Alan Steinhart, recently spoke with Christine about her experience as a female in the historically male-dominated field of credit and collections.
AS: How did you get into the credit field?
CL: My children were young, and a collection opportunity presented itself at a medical office that accommodated my schedule, so I really ended up in the field by default. After a short time, I ended up at Cablevision, and within a year I was with Rainbow Media, which was my first job on the credit side. As the years went on and I became more exposed to the credit side, and I found that I really enjoyed this line of work. I like the investigation and the analytics required for making credit decisions.
AS: What challenges, if any, have you faced being a woman in this industry?
CL: To be honest, I’ve never faced challenges that were unique to being a woman.
AS: Are there any programs or initiatives dedicated to bringing more women into the field?
CL: When I began in the field, I worked with female directors and comptrollers, and they really encouraged me to take advantage of the networking opportunities and credit groups that are available. NYMCG (now NMCP) and the BCCA gave me the opportunity to engage with other women in the industry. My industry education really came directly from participating in those groups. If I had any questions or other aspects of the business I wanted to delve into, I’d create panels at the various meetings. It was a great way to learn and grow in the business.
AS: How has the industry changed over the years?
CL: Currently, I spend a lot more time negotiating liability clauses in contracts. When I first started, we stated terms and you either met them or you didn’t. Businesses now are savvier with liability, and clauses are argued. More effort is now put into mitigating risk. I have to learn more about the (advertising) agencies’ relationships with their clients because much of the credit risk now lies with the agency’s possible negligence. More energy is put into this because of recent bankruptcies, and we have to look a lot closer at these relationships.
AS: What advice would you give, particularly to women, thinking about getting into the credit industry?
CL: Learn and network, utilize all the opportunities that are out there. Attend all the seminars and events that you can. That’s the number one suggestion I have. Just meet people, and talk to them about the industry. Your education and future opportunities will all stem from the industry groups.
ABOUT Time, Inc. (now Meredith Corporation):
Time, Inc. is one of the world’s most influential media companies – home to 100 iconic brands like People, Sports Illustrated, Time, InStyle, Real Simple, Food & Wine, and Fortune, as well as more than 50 diverse brands in the United Kingdom such as Decanter, Horse & Hound and Wallpaper.