From Collector: Growing Into the Industry
How a help wanted ad led Christina Rioux to a lifelong career.
6/11/2019 10:00 AM
It didn’t take long for Christina Rioux to home in on her dream career: owning a business in the accounts receivable management industry.
“At age 16, I got a job at the hospital near where I grew up in Lewiston, Maine, collecting money from patients who requested a television in their room. I think it paid $2.75 a day. A lot of my family members were nurses, making the environment comfortable for me.
That was my first exposure, in a way, to working in medical collections.
Later I enrolled in the University of Southern Maine, where I buried myself in my writing courses. My ex-husband was in the Navy and we moved quite a bit, making it difficult to finish college.
My parents had relocated to Lexington, Kentucky, for my dad’s job while I was in college. When my husband was called to Florida for training, I went to Kentucky to be near my parents. I was just going to stay for a bit, but I fell in love with the city of Lexington.
I answered an ad in the newspaper for a clerical position in a check recovery service.
I didn’t understand how people could write a check and not have funds in their account to cover it. I was very naïve and had to learn everything from scratch.
But I fell in love with the work and being able to talk to people and help them.
When family ties took me to North Carolina, I knew I wanted to find another job in the industry.
My sister-in-law worked at a re-insurance company, and they needed someone in their collections department. It was a completely different type of collections—commercial collections—but I found out I was very good at that as well and moved up very quickly in the business.
We moved to North Carolina for a bit, but when I came back to Kentucky in 1993, I tried my hand working at an agency specializing in medical collections. That’s where I really found my passion. I worked for Credit Bureau Systems in Lexington for about 10 years.
Working for them led me to learn that I could make even more of a positive impact if I was running my own company.
I wanted to start a company with two basic principles in mind: be good to your clients and be good to your employees. We have built a company focused on ethics, honesty, integrity and—most of all—a human touch.
I planned to do it all on my own, but a mutual friend introduced me to Christopher Kindrick, who was looking for a business partner in this industry. He’s now the president and CEO of our company, Credit Solutions LLC, and I am the vice president of operations.
Sixteen years later I can’t believe how much we’ve grown. Today I take every opportunity to encourage people to try a job in the ARM industry. I love to watch people come in for their job interview who are completely naïve about what we do and how we do it, and to watch their growth. That is personally what makes me keep going.
I want this business to do for people what it did for me. I was very unsure of myself early on and it’s really helped me grow into the person I always wanted to be. Everything that’s worthwhile is obtained through good old-fashioned hard work. Celebrate your small successes along the way and forgive yourself for errors. Remember to allow yourself to be a human being.”
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