Collector - May 2020 - 33

Career
Booster
A

CA International offers multiple opportunities for you to earn professional development designations that can help
enhance your career. We spoke with Kelly Parsons-O'Brien, president of Pacific Credit Services, about the process
of earning ACA's Professional Collection Manager (PCM) designation and what she plans on tackling next.
What inspired you to go after
the PCM?
To be honest, a lot of it had to do with seeing
other people I respect use their designation
credentials in their email signatures. I've
been in this industry for more than 20 years
and going to ACA meetings and seminars
for at least the last 15 years, but I hadn't
really thought about getting a designation
until I started noticing how many of my
peers had achieved them. I realized that
I was already attending
most of the classes
I'd need to

get the PCM, so it made sense to follow
through and earn it.

Was there anything about
the designation process that
surprised you?
Yes, getting declined the first time! I sent
in my Capstone Assignment and I think
the grader was looking for more practical
applications of things I learned, which
I hadn't included. I've been a collection
manager since I was 18 years old, so not
passing this test was just not an option.
After I got the grade back, I reapplied that
same week. This time, I was successful.

How do you fit professional
development into your workday?

ACA Achievements:
Fellow, Credit and
Collection Compliance
Officer, Professional
Collection Specialist,
Scholar and Trainer
Specialist Program
designations; Fred
Kirschner Instructor
Achievement Award

I think we get so busy doing the job that
sometimes we forget about how important
it is to take a break and learn something
new. When you talk about "professional
development," to me that sounds like
something that will take so much time
and effort. But I think the education ACA
provides is so great and so easy to get.

Can you tell me about something
you learned from this designation
that's helped you do your job better?
There's one class, Managing the Collection
Floor, that has materials I revisit regularly.
There are several documents in that

workbook that are so very helpful in my
office. They are also great resources I
recommend to other industry people when
they ask me questions or for advice. That's
why earning a designation is so helpful-it
gives you these tools and materials you
can refer back to again and again.

You serve on ACA's Education
Council. Can you tell me about that?
It's funny-sometimes I feel unqualified
to be part of the Education Council.
There are so many great people on it
and almost all of them are Certified
Instructors. I'm not, and sometimes we'll
be on calls and I feel like I don't have
anything to contribute. But then we'll get
into a discussion and I'll realize that a lot
of the group might be looking at an issue
from a presenter's perspective-someone
who has spent hours and hours reading
up the topic. I can throw in my point of
view from an attendee's perspective, so
we can make sure the issue is addressed
from all sides.
That said, Amy Canaday has been trying
to get me to go through the CI process. I'm
thinking about it. My next goal is to earn the
Credit and Collection Compliance Officer
designation. Maybe then I'll think about
becoming a CI.
Reported by Anne Rosso May.

33



Collector - May 2020

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