From Collector: Growing Together

LJ Ross Associates takes a "people-first" approach to employee development and community service.

6/8/2018 8:00 AM

Collector MagazineNews
From Collector: Growing Together

When Rebecca Roberts-Stewart started her career at LJ Ross Associates 13 years ago, the debt collection agency had 30 employees. Today it has 111, and the minority owned and operated company recently completed a structural expansion of its headquarters in Jackson, Mich., to allow for even more staff to serve its growing client base across the U.S.

The company’s growth has in some ways mirrored Roberts-Stewart’s own professional rise. She started out as a collector at LJ Ross Associates to help pay the bills during college and quickly became passionate about the industry’s mission to help consumers.

In 2007, Roberts-Stewart was promoted to supervisor, while after-hours she worked to complete her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She moved into operations two years later and, after a short stint as vice president and general manager, was named president and CEO in 2016, ACA Communications Specialist Katy Zillmer reports in the May issue of Collector magazine.

Company founder Al Ross, who retired last year, enthusiastically supported Roberts-Stewart on her road to the top. “Every opportunity I’ve had in this industry is because of Al Ross,” Roberts-Stewart said. “He’s the one who said, ‘That girl’s got something—make her a supervisor.’”

On the collection floor, Harry Howard followed a similar path to leadership. A friend—and former LJ Ross Associates employee—referred Howard to the company initially, and it wasn’t long before he developed his own passion for both debt collection and leadership.

After his 10-year anniversary as a collector, Howard talked to Roberts-Stewart about what it would take to become a part of the management team. Today he is in his third year as a collection supervisor, overseeing a team of 18 collectors.

Read more about the career paths for Howard and Roberts-Stewart in the May issue of Collector magazine.

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Pictured above: Rebecca Roberts-Stewart with Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

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