March 19, 2024

Colleague Corner: How a Former Account Manager Built a Career Growing Leaders, Empowering Women Over 24 Years at Encore

Welcome to Encore’s Colleague Corner. In this web series, we’ll get a chance to hear from our colleagues across Encore about their careers and what our Mission to create pathways to economic freedom means to them, while touching on aspects of our culture.

For Women’s History Month, we reached out to Crissy Poff, who has worked with Encore’s Midland Credit Management (MCM) for 24 years in a variety of roles. Crissy currently serves as Manager of Leadership Development at our Roanoke, Virginia, office. She’s also a member of Women@Encore&Allies, an employee resource group (ERG) dedicated to fostering female community and empowerment company-wide. In addition, Crissy was the most recent co-winner of Encore’s Travel Star, which is a coveted planning role in the President’s Club, Encore’s highest employee recognition program.

Q: What are your interests or career goals, and how did they lead you to join MCM?

A: My interests from my start date at MCM and now are very different. When I first started as an Account Manager, I was just looking for a full-time job that offered health insurance.

I worked in operations as either an Account Manager or Group Manager for 16 years. We started to travel to other sites to upskill them on our consumer engagement approach and our leadership model, and I very quickly realized I had a passion for helping others find their potential, specifically when it came to leadership.

Those opportunities allowed me to not only explore that passion, but they also caught the eye of our Leadership Development team. I did some facilitating for that team starting in 2018 and officially joined them in 2020.

Q: What inspired you to stick with MCM through the various roles in your career?

A: One of the things that’s really kept me here over the years is knowing we have an opportunity to impact others’ lives in a positive way. While serving in my role in operations, it was very fulfilling knowing that you could help someone out of a situation that they never could see themselves out of. In my more recent role in Leadership Development, I get to work with amazing people around the globe as I support them in their journey to becoming better leaders. That doesn’t just help the leaders, but also the team that they lead, and that’s pretty cool to think about.

Q: What did you learn about yourself and about the company during your journey from Account Manager to Leadership Development Manager?

A: That anything is possible if you’re willing to put in the work to make it happen. I have had more than one role in this organization that didn’t exist until I came along. I was able to really set my mind to specific career goals, show the impact those roles could create for the business and help bring them to reality. To work for a company that has leaders who are willing to think outside of the box, have an open mind and strategically innovate is something that doesn’t exist everywhere, so it’s an honor to be a part of that.

Q: Our Mission is to help create pathways to economic freedom. What does that mean to you? What do you think it means to our consumers?

A: To me, that means that we are creating opportunities for people who perhaps didn’t realize or never had anyone take the time to walk them through what could be possible. So often in life, people find themselves stuck in financial situations not because of a lack of will, but because of a lack of knowledge on how to move forward. Our interactions with consumers allow them to have an opportunity to finally take those first steps forward.

I think for our consumers, it means hope. It means having an opportunity to talk to someone who humanizes their situation and at times helps them see that doing something different regarding their account isn’t nearly as scary as they once thought it would be.

Q: What unique role does Leadership Development play in helping consumers create pathways to economic freedom?

A: The support and knowledge that we provide to our leaders encourages them to lead in ways that show empathy and care. We want our people managers to meet their employees where they are, actively listen and problem-solve together to find the best solution. I would like to believe that they’re leading by example, which in turn translates into consumer interactions.

Q: Would you share a time when you experienced caring, finding a better way to achieve something, or being inclusive and collaborative at MCM?

A: Last year, I had the opportunity to partner with a lot of the site leadership teams to create a one-day leadership event for all the people managers in those sites. The amount of care, inclusivity and attention to detail to show the managers that they are valued and appreciated was extremely inspiring to witness and be part of. The way the site leads worked to collaborate with our team was a great example of how to demonstrate all of our values in one project.

Q: In one word, how does our Mission of creating pathways to economic freedom make you feel?

A: Proud!

Q: Tell us about your experience being a part of Women@Encore&Allies?

A: It’s been extremely empowering! To have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with such an amazing group of strong females in our organization has been such a rewarding experience. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to women I would have otherwise never crossed paths with regularly, and it’s given us a space to talk about things openly that make us feel not so alone in the workplace.

Q: What would you say to a colleague considering joining Women@Encore&Allies?

A: That there’s always a seat at the table for you. We want to create a space where all feel included and seen and can have their ideas heard. There are differences to being a woman in the working world, and this is a space of support and care, where we celebrate what it takes to do all things.

Q: What advice would you give a new colleague who’s still figuring out what they want from their career?

A: Not to put yourself in a box and think one path is the only path for you. We have such a diverse organization that offers great opportunities for those who are willing to look for them. Sometimes your best fit may be something you hadn’t considered.