What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?
Find a company who has the same
philosophies on teamwork, leadership and sense of values as you do. It
can take a lot of due diligence on your
part to be successful with your first
round of interviews. Be persistent. Ask
as many questions as possible. You
are interviewing them as well as they
are interviewing you. Find a company
that you can be proud to represent. Be
true to yourself; you can’t pretend to
be someone else, at least not for very
long. Find opportunities to network
with other women in the industry; it is
essential for all women in business.
What do you know now that you wish you
knew in the beginning of your career?
I was apprehensive about voicing my
opinion so I would either apologize
in advance or not speak up at all. My
mentor told me to “always speak up.”
Be sure to share your ideas with your
presidents of the CFA Midwest Chap-
ter. They encouraged me to become
involved in the CFA, which ultimately
led me to becoming president of the
What do you think the industry could
do to attract and retain the best and
the brightest today?
A work life balance is truly essential in
today’s marketplace. Millennials are
demanding more and more from their
careers. Although money is a big determining factor in a career, it is not the
only key to retention. The industry will
need to create the type of professional
environment that not only attracts the
best and brightest but retains them as
well. Feeling professionally fulfilled is
one of the key determiners for retention. I have heard from many starting
out in the business that feeling passionate about what they are doing, making
a difference, acquiring new skills or career progression are key determination
factors to their choice in careers. Our
industry must take on an active role in
creating the type of environment that
not only attracts the best and brightest
but allows them to thrive.
co-workers, mentors and network. You
could easily have an alternative take
on a situation and it could be a game
changer. Some ideas will fall flat and
others will be successful.
I also believe that the power of a
strong network is an essential tool for
being successful. Whether it is social
networking, such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, or networking at an
event, it is a way to be better connected than ever. Networking is something
I enjoy and look forward to. Whether it
is a national CFA event or a local event,
I always come away with new additions to my network and reconnect
What kind of role has mentoring and/
or sponsorship played in your career?
I have had several great mentors during my career. Early on in my factoring
and ABL career, Larry Meek, who has
since retired, was an important role
model and coach. When I began my
career almost 20 years ago, I was one
of a handful of women in factoring.
Larry encouraged me to take chances,
to think outside of the box, and take
charge of situations. I also had two
very important CFA mentors, John Ross
and Chris Foltman. They are both past
Strategic Partnerships Manager
onna is a strategic partnerships manager in RapidAdvance’s Factor/
ABL Divison. In that role, she and a growing team are dedicated to
helping factor and ABL partners provide additional funding to their
existing and prospective clients.
Donna joined RapidAdvance with 20 years of factoring and ABL experience, having
worked for some of the best companies in the industry.
“I know it can be difficult for small businesses to find working capital,” Hinrichs says,
“but I can reach out to factors and asset-based lenders to show them just how easy
it is to provide their clients with reasonable, reputable solutions to the clients stretch
piece and over.”
A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Donna is active in the TMA, IFA and
CFA. She was past President of the Midwest Chapter of the CFA in 2011. She currently
is on the Women in Commercial Finance event committee in Chicago, Chairperson
of the Entrepreneurial Membership subcommittee, and a member of the CFA Annual
Convention Planning Committee.