Collector - October 2016 - 48
Rising Through the Ranks
From the start, Jennifer Whipple's passion for the collection industry has helped her achieve success in the family
By Katy Zillmer
COLLECTION BUREAU SERVICES INC.
VICE PRESIDENT AND CO-OWNER;
PRESIDENT AND CO-OWNER
ennifer Whipple started working
at her family's collection agency,
Collection Bureau Services Inc. in
Missoula, Mont., at a young age. When she
was five, she learned basic business acumen
and honed her people skills selling Girl Scout
cookies to agency employees.
"When I was little I loved money, I loved
to save money," Whipple said. "Being in a
collection agency and the collection industry
was really my cup of tea because of that."
It could also run in the family. Gilbert Koch,
Whipple's grandfather, founded Collection
Bureau Services in 1976. Almost 10 years later,
when her father, Jeffrey Koch, was injured in
a car accident and couldn't continue his work
washing skyscraper windows, Gilbert offered
him a job as a collector at the collection agency.
"He really loved numbers and being able
to make those negotiations with consumers,"
Whipple said. Jeffrey Koch worked his way up
through the agency and today serves as president.
When she was a freshman in high school,
Whipple started working in Collection Bureau
Services' legal department, filing paperwork.
"That's eventually how I learned more about
the business," Whipple said. "I really learned
what we did and how we did things."
She worked ahead in her classes and
graduated from high school early. Right about
that same time, an opportunity opened up to
work for one of the agency's collectors while
the employee was on maternity leave.
Whipple continued working at the agency
while she studied business management
at the University of Montana in Missoula,
juggling 30 hours of work each week and a full
class schedule. She set up payment plans for
consumers, helped with data entry and served
as a receptionist and legal assistant. Working
in different departments of the agency she had
visited so often as a young girl only solidified
her passion for the industry.
"I never really thought there was something
else out there that I wanted to do," she said.
Whipple was named co-owner and vice
president of Collection Bureau Services in
2010. She said her vice president title is more of
a formality, and that she is focused on helping
everyone at the company work together.
"[My grandfather] had this philosophy
that he trained everyone to pick up the
phone call on the first ring," Whipple said.
"It didn't really matter who you were in the
company ... everybody was there to pitch in
and work together."
In her role working with Collection Bureau
Services, staff, Whipple focuses on trying
to understand where they're coming from,
drawing on her variety of experiences at the
company over the years.
"I think I am a much better leader and
manager because I know how things function
and how they need to function and how they
should function," she said. "Having been there
myself, I can have some compassion for the
position my staff is in."
As a 30-year-old female working in a maledominated industry, Whipple knows firsthand
some challenges young professionals can face.
"If you're a young professional or a young
business leader, I would say don't give up,
remain true to yourself and your company, and
just be honest in the situation," Whipple said. "I
think working your way up through the ranks
is important too."
Outside of work, Whipple focuses on
spending time with her husband and four
children, especially outdoors.
"It's nice because it's a positive focus," she
said. "If I have a hard day at work I can go
home and spend the afternoon swimming with
Katy Zillmer is ACA International's
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - October 2016
Connect the Dots
Head of the Class
The Formula of Five
How to Create Winning Bids and Proposals
A Running Start
ACPAC Election Watch
ACA’s Industry Advancement Program Aids Eleventh Circuit Win for Member Company
Collector - October 2016 - Cover1
Collector - October 2016 - Cover2
Collector - October 2016 - 1
Collector - October 2016 - 2
Collector - October 2016 - President’s Page
Collector - October 2016 - Industry News
Collector - October 2016 - 5
Collector - October 2016 - 6
Collector - October 2016 - 7
Collector - October 2016 - Best Practices
Collector - October 2016 - 9
Collector - October 2016 - FYI
Collector - October 2016 - 11
Collector - October 2016 - Collection Tips
Collector - October 2016 - 13
Collector - October 2016 - Connect the Dots
Collector - October 2016 - 15
Collector - October 2016 - 16
Collector - October 2016 - 17
Collector - October 2016 - 18
Collector - October 2016 - 19
Collector - October 2016 - Looking Deeper
Collector - October 2016 - 21
Collector - October 2016 - 22
Collector - October 2016 - 23
Collector - October 2016 - Head of the Class
Collector - October 2016 - 25
Collector - October 2016 - 26
Collector - October 2016 - 27
Collector - October 2016 - Calendar
Collector - October 2016 - Honor Roll
Collector - October 2016 - The Formula of Five
Collector - October 2016 - 31
Collector - October 2016 - How to Create Winning Bids and Proposals
Collector - October 2016 - 33
Collector - October 2016 - 34
Collector - October 2016 - 35
Collector - October 2016 - A Running Start
Collector - October 2016 - 37
Collector - October 2016 - 38
Collector - October 2016 - 39
Collector - October 2016 - ACPAC Election Watch
Collector - October 2016 - 41
Collector - October 2016 - ACA’s Industry Advancement Program Aids Eleventh Circuit Win for Member Company
Collector - October 2016 - 43
Collector - October 2016 - Compliance
Collector - October 2016 - 45
Collector - October 2016 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - October 2016 - 47
Collector - October 2016 - Last Word
Collector - October 2016 - Cover3
Collector - October 2016 - Cover4