speakers have improved and you’ll see
again for the Chicago Convention that
we’ve really stepped up the quality of the
content and the engagement of members
in planning the Convention.
What would you say to young professionals to encourage them to become
volunteer leaders of the CFA?
Becoming a leader in the CFA provides
you with management experience. As a
young professional, you probably haven’t
gotten your first assignment managing
people. If you volunteer for the CFA, you
get that experience and it’s invaluable.
You will learn a lot by managing people
and managing a committee process. I
think it truly enhances your ability to succeed as a professional.
Secondly, you make a large number
of very valuable connections within
the industry, and that will help you for
many years. When you are connected to
individuals who are knowledgeable and
able to refer business to you, who are
able to give you background information
on credits that may be trying to move
from one organization to another, that’s
invaluable. It’s so important to have
that connectivity within the industry.
It’s going to increase your value as an
individual contributor to your organization tremendously. And I think you’ll also
develop some very valuable friendships
with others in the industry.
Do you have any advice for our new CFA
president, Michael Monk?
My advice is to reach out and engage
every person on the Executive Commit-
tee - engage with them and listen to their
ideas. I have been extremely impressed
with the level of commitment, the level
of thoughtfulness, the analysis and the
ideas that come from the individual com-
mittees. That’s what is going to propel the
organization forward: getting the grass
roots ideas and the grass roots involve-
ment. Top down won’t work anymore.
That means that you have to be
continually engaged with your committee members and other members when
they have ideas. You can’t wait for them
to reach out to you. Every conversation
I’ve had with a committee member or
with a chapter leader has really helped
me understand what we need to do to
move the CFA forward. So I would say: be
I would like to thank Richard Gumbrecht, Michael Monk, David Grende,
John DePledge, Jeff Goldrich, Jon
Helfat and Richard Kohn for helping me
throughout the year. Their unique and
significant contributions have allowed
us to achieve a successful year of change
at the CFA.
You are retiring from Wells Fargo at the
end of this year after a very successful
career. As you reflect back, are there
any particular professional milestones
that come to mind? And could you
please offer some words of wisdom for
those just starting their careers?
As I reflect back, I feel very fortunate to
have had an exceptionally rewarding
career. It did come with its challenges
and obstacles, but I have been lucky to
have had great mentors and I made sure
to always surround myself with strong
My first ABL position was in 1985 with
FirstCity Financial Corporation, the ABL
subsidiary of First City National Bank,
in Houston. I then moved on to Transamerica Business Credit, I worked there
from 1992-2000 and developed a lender
finance specialization and became
national marketing manager.
In 2000, I joined Wells Fargo Capital
Finance (formerly, Foothill Capital Corp.),
and I was responsible for the launch of
the Lender Finance Division, Resort Finance Division and acquired Castle Pines
Capital, now the Supply Chain Finance
division of WFCF.
I would offer this advice: the best
strategy is to work for long-term success, in your relationships and business.
Surround yourself with smart people
and put them on your team, even if they
don’t have the industry experience that
most managers will insist upon. They
will learn. Your most important asset is
your team. Value them above all else. Be
yourself. Be real.
I have been able to hire strong, diverse team members who have enabled
us to avoid “group think.” This has been
key to our success. TSL
Michele Ocejo, editor-in-chief, The
Secured Lender and CFA communications director.
have been extremely impressed with the level of commitment,
the level of thoughtfulness, the analysis and the ideas that
come from the individual committees. That’s what is going
to propel the organization forward: getting the grass roots
ideas and the grass roots involvement. Top down won’t work