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Sold on a Career in Credit

Lisa Tanner, Director of Global Credit and Collection for Nidec Motor Corporation began her career in the sales field. After working in print and radio sales, she decided to try a different path. For more than 30 years, Lisa has enjoyed a successful career in credit that has brought her to companies such as Coleman, and her current position with Nidec Motor Corporation.  

ABC-Amega’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, Domenic Di Loreto, recently spoke with Lisa about her experience as a female leader in the historically male-dominated field of credit and collections.

DD: How did you get into the credit field?

LT: I started my career working in sales, selling advertising for a radio station. The commission was structured in a way that whoever got the payment in the door would collect the commission. This structure motivated me and showed me that I had a knack for collection. The business eventually changed, and I found myself in the job market and came across a job posting that said: “Good Sales People Make Better Commercial Credit Collectors”, so I applied, interviewed and was hired on the spot. This was my first job in credit, working in collections for NACM in Wichita Kansas.  

DD: What challenges, if any, have you faced being a woman in this industry?

LT: The challenges that I faced weren’t a direct result from the industry but from society. In the late 1980’s, most of the top positions in any industry were held by men. The only challenge I can recall was doing the work of a manager, while I had a manager over me. It was frustrating, and didn’t make a lot of sense, but it was the way business was at the time.

DD: Are there any programs or initiatives dedicated to bringing more women into the field?

LT: There are a lot of women in finance and sales that are crossing over into credit. I find that the conversion from sales to credit can be effective for young women. Early in my career, I became involved in a group called the Credit and Finance Development Division (CFDD). In this group, I was mentored by strong women in the field who were passionate about credit as well as sharing all the tools needed to make others successful. This group still exists today, and they offer scholarships for young people to obtain the education they need. We all know that no one goes to college to become a credit professional, so it is important to get involved in these type of groups. I’ve served as the Vice President and President of the CFDD. There are many great organizations offering education, it is key to get involved and grow with the changes in the industry. You need to continue to grow and improve your skillset.

DD: How has the industry changed over the years?

LT: The greatest change is automation. When I stated out in the late 80’s we would use calling cards. We’d make a card for every customer we called on. Those cards would have customer information on it, and you’d update it with every call. That process is long gone, and all the information in automated. Now, collectors don’t even have to dial a phone!   

DD: What advice would you give, particularly to women, thinking about getting into the credit industry?

LT: Staying positive is important. I read this passage to my daughters and employees: Rejections and naysayers aren’t important in the grand scheme of things, so don’t let them conquer your mind; step forward. Most of us do not understand how much potential we have. We limit our aspirations to the level someone else told us was possible. Too many people over value what they aren’t and undervalue what they are. Don’t be one of those people. Ultimately you are who you are when nobody’s watching. Know this and dare to be yourself however awkward, different, or odd that self may prove to be to someone else. That is my advice to every young woman out there.

ABOUT Nidec Motor Corporation:

Nidec Corporation has established itself as an international conglomerate that handles “everything that spins and moves.” After starting with only four employees, Nidec has grown to include more than 140,000 workers across the globe. The company has been recognized in various publications, including Businessweek and Forbes, for its innovations in the motor industry.