Fostering Leadership During Women’s History Month

In this Women’s History Month member spotlight, ACA President-Elect Courtney Reynaud shares about the progress of women in the ARM industry and the importance of supporting their opportunities for leadership.

03/01/2022 6:00 A.M.

5 minute read

Women make up a significant portion of the accounts receivable management industry’s workforce, including as leaders, business owners and advocates. In recognition of Women’s History Month, ACA International is featuring some of those members as well as staff in ACA Daily.

Women’s History Month originated from a weekly national celebration in 1981. In 1987, Congress designated March as Women’s History Month to recognize the achievements of women in various U.S. career fields, according to The Library of Congress Women’s History Month website.

In this week’s member spotlight, ACA board member and President-Elect Courtney Reynaud, president of Creditors Bureau USA, explains her perspective on how to support current and future women leaders.

If you’re interested in learning more about networking, mentoring and events for women in the ARM industry, check out ACA’s Women in Collections Resource Council and its group on The Hub.

Courtney Reynaud is pictured with four generations of her family, her mom, grandma and daughter, Bella.

Q. What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

A. Women’s History Month reminds me that a little over a decade ago, women first gained the right to vote under the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It has been little more than a half-century since a law was passed mandating that employers could not discriminate in hiring practices based on gender. In 1972 Title IX came, which gave women equal access to athletics and sports programs at educational institutions, including colleges with scholarships for women athletes. These rights and protections were cemented by the many strong women in our history. Women’s History Month reminds me of the strength, determination and sheer grit of these women leaders who have paved the way for all women and future women leaders.

Q. How do you celebrate and honor Women’s History Month on a personal level and/or at your company?

A. Women’s history should be celebrated year-round. Throughout the year, I read and often re-read stories like the story of Anne Frank and books by Brené Brown (“Dare to Lead” is a favorite) because they help me to look at where we began and where I want to go in my personal and professional life. I also enjoy watching movies about strong female leaders with my daughter like “Hidden Figures” (one of our personal favorites), “Erin Brockovich,” “Harriet,” and “Wild,” (because I love all things outdoors).

Q. How is your company embracing diversity and inclusion among your team and in the industry, both this month and year-round?

A. Over 90% of the team here at Creditors Bureau USA is women and over 90% of our workforce comes from different and diverse cultures and backgrounds and we work each day to celebrate our differences and similarities. For example, pre-COVID, we would have “Snack Day” each week and most everyone would sign up and bring something homemade or a food item that represents their culture or family. It was amazing and it always sparked discussion about everyone’s favorite topic—food—and that fostered authentic conversations about culture that surrounds our similarities (a love of food). Post COVID, we have weekly team meetings, and these are usually opened with a question like “What is new today?” or “What do you want to talk about today?” Occasionally these questions are answered with something related to work but oftentimes they start a conversation where we talk about a specific feeling or vulnerability, and we have a solid roundtable discussion—even if it is online.

ACA’s Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey, former CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger and ACA President-Elect Courtney Reynaud at the February Committee of 100 meeting.

Q. What current role do you see women playing in the ARM industry?

A. C-suite women leaders in the accounts receivable management industry are on the rise and women in legislative advocacy are experiencing success. When I think of the amazing women ARM leaders out there advocating at the state and national level, I am mesmerized by their successes and the passion that they bring. Women leaders on the ACA board of directors have grown over the past decade—we currently have five women on the board. Women serving on ACA’s committees bring incredible value to the membership and play an integral role in the future of ACA International.

Q. Do you have any suggestions for other companies working on educational and inclusiveness programs in the industry?

A. Help future and current women leaders to level up. Invite them to attend ACA training and networking events like the Level Up Leadership Experience and the Women in Collection Resource Council (WICRC) events. Participate in state and federal advocacy efforts, and you may find that you have a key individual in your organization who may be uniquely skilled at industry advocacy.

Q. Who inspires you among women in history or in your life? Why?

A. Katherine Johnson, who made history as one of the first Black women scientists at NASA, has an incredible story and I am immensely grateful for her strength, tenacity, intelligence and curiosity throughout her life. Johnson was truly a trailblazer who has paved the way for so many women in all industries and reminds us to always be curious and always be ready to learn. In my personal life, I am inspired by my mom. She is the second generation of our family to own and operate Fresno Credit Bureau and she has been a mentor to me as I became the third-generation business owner.

Q. What would you like to see for the future of women in the ARM industry and what can we as an industry do to help accomplish that?

A. As president-elect of ACA and one of the five women serving on the board of directors, I would like to see more female agency owners and more women in a C-suite role within the ARM industry. We need more women serving on the board for ACA and/or on committees at ACA. I believe that we can do this as an industry by providing more woman-focused education and mentorship opportunities as well as seeking out and supporting current and up-and-coming women leaders in the ARM industry.

Upcoming ACA Events

The WICRC is hosting a monthly Water Cooler Chat on the second Thursday of the month. The Water Cooler Chat is an uplifting, professional 30-minute networking event. Take this opportunity to recharge by connecting with your industry peers, asking questions, getting feedback or just hanging out. Complete a one-time registration for the online event here.

Do you know a member you would like to see featured in ACA Daily’s Member Spotlight or Collector magazine’s Origin Story? Would you like to share your story? We are also looking to highlight our international members and new members of ACA. Simply reach out to our communications team at [email protected] with your ideas. We’d love to hear from you!

If you have executive leadership updates or other member news to share with ACA, contact our communications department at [email protected]. View our publications page for more information and our news submission guidelines here.

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