Collector – November 2019 - 42

ORIGINSTORY

Never Give Up
Pauline Kussart's entrepreneurial spirit brought her to the ARM industry; her drive and work ethic helped her stay.

T

he long path to success for
Pauline Kussart, president and
owner of The Stark Collection
Agency in Madison, Wisconsin, was
fueled by her mantra, "I never give
up." Here's how she got her start in
the accounts receivable management
industry, in her own words.

"I am proud to be able
to guide consumers
and help my staff learn
life and career skills."

42

"I grew up in a rural area of Wisconsin
called Fond du Lac, on a dairy farm as one
of seven kids. Working on the farm taught
me problem-solving skills and built my
entrepreneurial spirit from a young age.
During high school, I took a certified
nursing assistant course at the local technical
college and worked as a nurse's aide. After
graduation, I started part-time at the local
university extension. I worked as a nurse's
aide until I had enough money to apply to the
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
I only attended school in Oshkosh briefly
because several things happened. My
10-year-old sister was hit by a car and died,
and then my 21-year-old brother was in a
car accident and died six months later. My
parents really needed me at home, not only to
help on the farm, but for emotional support.
I happened to be home from work at the
time of my sister's accident and I rode in
the ambulance to the hospital with her.
The ambulance driver, Jim, remembered
me from that tragic night and called me
weeks later to ask me on a date. We got
engaged before he was drafted in the
Vietnam War. When Jim came home, we
got married and moved to Milwaukee.
I studied part-time at the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee and worked fulltime as a nurse's aide at St. Luke's Hospital.
Unfortunately, Jim was involved in a
car crash four-and-a-half years after our
marriage and passed away. I moved back to
Fond du Lac after Jim's death to be closer
to family.

My in-laws and parents pushed me to
get involved in another activity besides
working and going to school. They
encouraged me to volunteer with thenCongressman Thomas Petri's campaign
while I finished my nursing degree.
About two and a half years after Jim died,
I met my second husband, Gene Kussart,
through my political volunteer work.
After we were married, we lived in
Washington, D.C., for nine years.
When Gene and I moved back to
Wisconsin, I felt an urge to move in a
different professional direction. I have
always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and
when The Stark Collection Agency came up
for sale, it checked a lot of the boxes I was
looking for in a business venture.
I bought the company, then named The
H.E. Stark Agency, in February 1998.
One of the very first things I had to do
at the agency was reassure the staff that
while I didn't know the industry, I was
willing to put in the time and effort to
learn and move the company forward. The
purchase allowed me to use the resources
available through the company's ACA
International membership.
When you think about it, most
agencies are either handed down through
generations or an employee buys it from
a current owner. How many times does
someone from the outside world buy a
collection agency? I don't know that it
happens that often.
The Stark Collection Agency is thriving
by partnering with telecommunications
and financial creditors. I am proud to be
able to guide consumers and help my staff
learn life and career skills.
I've noticed that once you're in the
industry, you stay in it. At least that's how it
is for me. I never give up. When I made the
decision to get into this industry, it was for
the long haul.

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector – November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector – November 2019

Upfront
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
Do Your Policies Measure Up?
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Call Evaluations
The (Slow) Race to Clarify the TCPA
Honor Roll
Calendar
Education Spotlight
ACA’s LevelUp Leadership Experience
Lead the Next Generation Through Mentorship
Texas Tackles the TCPA
Never Give Up
A Resource Every Member Needs
Rising to the Top
ACA SearchPoint
Ad Index
Membership
Last Word
Collector – November 2019 - Cover1
Collector – November 2019 - Cover2
Collector – November 2019 - 1
Collector – November 2019 - 2
Collector – November 2019 - 3
Collector – November 2019 - Upfront
Collector – November 2019 - 5
Collector – November 2019 - Industry News
Collector – November 2019 - 7
Collector – November 2019 - 8
Collector – November 2019 - 9
Collector – November 2019 - Best Practices
Collector – November 2019 - 11
Collector – November 2019 - FYI
Collector – November 2019 - 13
Collector – November 2019 - Collection Tips
Collector – November 2019 - 15
Collector – November 2019 - Do Your Policies Measure Up?
Collector – November 2019 - 17
Collector – November 2019 - 18
Collector – November 2019 - 19
Collector – November 2019 - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Call Evaluations
Collector – November 2019 - 21
Collector – November 2019 - 22
Collector – November 2019 - 23
Collector – November 2019 - The (Slow) Race to Clarify the TCPA
Collector – November 2019 - 25
Collector – November 2019 - 26
Collector – November 2019 - 27
Collector – November 2019 - 28
Collector – November 2019 - 29
Collector – November 2019 - 30
Collector – November 2019 - Honor Roll
Collector – November 2019 - Calendar
Collector – November 2019 - 33
Collector – November 2019 - Education Spotlight
Collector – November 2019 - 35
Collector – November 2019 - ACA’s LevelUp Leadership Experience
Collector – November 2019 - 37
Collector – November 2019 - Lead the Next Generation Through Mentorship
Collector – November 2019 - 39
Collector – November 2019 - Texas Tackles the TCPA
Collector – November 2019 - 41
Collector – November 2019 - Never Give Up
Collector – November 2019 - 43
Collector – November 2019 - A Resource Every Member Needs
Collector – November 2019 - 45
Collector – November 2019 - Rising to the Top
Collector – November 2019 - 47
Collector – November 2019 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector – November 2019 - Ad Index
Collector – November 2019 - Membership
Collector – November 2019 - 51
Collector – November 2019 - Last Word
Collector – November 2019 - Cover3
Collector – November 2019 - Cover4
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