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May 01 2016
Just Do It!
Rhonda Calwell, CCE, Nicholas & Company

Just like the rest of you, I grew up aspiring to be a credit professional, so you can just imagine the level of excitement when I was offered a job in credit!

Let's back up . . . I moved here 4 1/2 years ago and was offered a job with a great company with great benefits, fabulous work environment etc . . . the only catch was it was for a "credit clerk." My background was primarily accounting and office management but what the heck, I needed a job!

I proceeded with caution, how hard can it be, right? I make a few calls, collect money, send out a few copies here and there and call it a day!

I quickly learned that credit was so much more than what I envisioned it to be. At first I thought, "Well I can do this for a year or so and then find something else more up my alley" except 1 year turned into almost 5 years, and I can't imagine doing anything else now.

Fortunately for me, my new employer was in favor of my eagerness to learn all there was to learn about the world of credit. My first class was "Credit Boot Camp" taught by NACM and some "crazy" credit people that I would later come to absolutely love and admire. I sat and listened to all the information provided, some familiar and some rather strange. I learned about the NACM Professional Certification Program and that was all I needed to hit the floor running. I immediately went back to my employer and expressed my desire to take the "Principles of Business Credit" class with none other than Georgette Bevan, instructor. Her excitement for credit drew me in. There must be something really fun, rewarding and/or challenging for somebody to be this excited about credit!

I loved attending the classes and learning all about this profession that can bring such joy and excitement into one's life.

I completed the required education and earned my CBA, and then my curiosity peaked, "Could I continue and really learn, retain and pass another level of the program?" Another year passed and I received my CBF designation at Credit Congress in St. Louis, Mo, and was sure that I was done now. I just couldn't sit through another exam, surely I did not have the experience, confidence or knowledge to pass the coveted CCE. Georgette would not give up on me. Her words of encouragement and her persistent little "nudges" played a huge role in my "take a leap of faith" attitude and go for it, not passing was NOT an option at this point. I was on a CCE mission and dedicated to passing. The same year that I obtained my CBF I passed my CCE. I cannot express to you the joy that brought me!

Life has changed dramatically for me in the past 4 1/2 years. NACM's educational program has not only propelled me into an entirely different career choice but has allowed me both personal development and the ability to meet some of the best people who all share a common thread, credit. The ability to feel connected to others in the same profession is a priceless tool. Attending Credit Congress and monthly ICEL meetings is essential for any credit professional to continue to "refuel" that credit gas tank. 

If you are sitting on the fence and just not sure if the Designation Program is for you, don't be scared! One class at a time . . . you WON'T regret it!