Rose Cross, Supervisor, Credit & Collections, for STERIS Corporation, has over thirty years of experience in the credit and collections field. She started her career in collections at Bank of America before transitioning into the credit side of the business with STERIS. Rose also currently holds the position of Vice President for the Cleveland Foreign Credit Group.
ABC-Amega’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, Domenic Di Loreto, recently spoke with Rose about her experience as a leader in the credit field.
DD: How did you get into the credit field?
RC: My early career aspirations were geared toward the medical field, but once I saw blood, I changed my mind! I changed my path and studied business and computer science. I earned my Master’s Degree from Baldwin Wallace University. After I graduated, I worked on a pipeline project doing data processing. The position was eliminated, and instead of going home, I decided to take a walk and apply for jobs. I applied at Union Commerce, which is now Huntington Bank, and was hired that day to work in the International Department. By chance, I ended up working in the Collections Department to fill in for a coworker who was going out on maternity leave. After some time, one of the VPs at the bank moved onto Bank of America and asked me to go with him. I stayed with Bank of America for approximately 10 years before deciding to try something new and found a position with STERIS, where I’ve been for the past 22 years.
DD: What challenges have you faced in this industry?
RC: When I moved from the banking world to STERIS, I had to change my mindset, collections at a bank is much different from collections at a manufacturing company. At STERIS, we work with a variety of Customers – each with their own company culture – so I had to learn how to finesse conversations accordingly. Also, when I began, we were growing so fast, it was challenging to stay on top of the guidelines.
DD: Are you engaged in any programs or initiatives to bring more females into the field?
RC: When I first started, the majority of people working in the field were older men, that’s changed now, of course, but I do see more women in administrative positions in this field. I like to reach out to women and encourage them to try and pursue higher positions when the opportunities arise. I also suggest that they participate in educating themselves, i.e. networking, seminars etc..
DD: In what ways do you feel the industry could or should improve?
RC: Speaking from where I am now, I think people need to understand the needs of the Customer more. As an industry, we’re so focused on numbers, but you really have to look at the need, especially now. B2B Customers who don’t have great financials still need credit from suppliers in order to be able to serve the Customers who depend on their products. Credit extensions should not be based strictly upon numbers. The needs of the markets/demographics that companies serve should be a consideration in the credit evaluation process. Always be ready to offer the Customer options.
DD: What are the biggest challenges you face as a credit professional in your industry?
RC: So many companies have downsized that we’re taking on more and more responsibilities. It’s not just collections anymore, we’re not just setting up accounts and making calls, and it can present a challenge. We’re wearing many hats nowadays.
DD: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment in this industry?
RC: I’m an advocate for education, and I will always help someone out when I can. If someone can benefit from my experience, it makes me feel like a proud mamma bear. I love seeing people grow from my help. So, I would say that my biggest accomplishment is all the people who I’ve helped build-up; it gives me great satisfaction.
DD: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting into this industry?
RC: To work in this industry, you have to be a special type of person; you have to have thick skin, and not take things personally. You can’t just say “no”, you need to provide options whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”, do a little research ask others. Surround yourself with people who have more experience and ask questions; it’s the best way to learn. I tell people that not every day is going to be a happy day, but working in credit and collections can be a gratifying career.
STERIS is a leading provider of infection prevention and other procedural products and services, focused primarily on healthcare, pharmaceutical and medical devices. STERIS helps customers create a healthier and safer world by providing healthcare and life science product and service solutions around the globe.
Did you enjoy this interview? Read about other Women In Credit that we have interviewed!
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- Juliana Brownell: International Credit Manager, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
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- Mary Hotvedt: Credit Manager, Waupaca Foundry
- Michele Gerst: Vice President of Global Outsourcing, ABC-Amega, Inc.
- Riki-Lee Ritz: Vice President and Managing Director of International Business, ABC-Amega, Inc.
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- Tammy Osborne: Regional Vice President, Southern – ABC-Amega
- Terri Barron: Manager of Credit, Original Equipment, US and CA, Michelin
- Val McGowan: Financial Services Business Manager, Wesco
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- Virginia Sheflin: Vice President of Outsourcing, ABC-Amega, Inc.