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Women in Secured Finance 2020 - Recognizing Excellence
Jennifer Lickteig is the CEO of TBS Factoring, LLC and TBS Capital Funding. During her tenure with TBS, the company has achieved more than $3 billion in sales (more than the combined total of its previous 47-year history) as it provides factoring, receivables financing and alternative lending platforms from its Oklahoma City headquarters to small businesses and truck drivers across the United States and Canada. She is a four-time CEO and her predecessor companies have earned prestigious awards including both Oklahoma SBA and National SBA Small Business of the Year, as well as being named The Department of Homeland Security National Small Business Person of the Year. Jennifer is a current SFNet Board Member.
What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?
Choose a path that can hold your interest because it feels good and then measure your successes by how much you enjoy what you are responsible for. When you really like what you do, you will do it better than others and the result is actually better for everyone around you, and not just at work! Also, get involved! Professional industry organizations like SFNet provide terrific opportunities to network, grow technical skills and develop a deeper understanding of what’s happening within the industry. It’s said that fortune favors the prepared and getting involved by actively participating will definitely prepare you!
Studies have shown women are more reluctant to tout their accomplishments in the workplace. What advice would you give to help women be more comfortable with speaking up?
Candidly, I still struggle with this! I was raised to believe that taking credit for my own work or touting natural skills I have was not attractive. Epiphany came when I started to realize that I value confident, self-aware and successful women around me, so why not in myself? I had to give myself permission to acknowledge my successes, work product and talents, and allow others to recognize them too. By linking these talents to accomplishments and finally to the value proposition of your efforts these become facts instead of opinion. And that formula changes the dynamic to a framework to speak up confidently about your contributions to the enterprise.
Which brings me to an equally important part of this – accepting acknowledgment. When anyone acknowledges your talents, say “thank you, that means a lot that you noticed” and resist the urge to throw it back by saying things like “Oh it was nothing really” or “I couldn’t have done it without you.” When you can master this acceptance and feel genuinely deserving without
demurring or deferring, that is huge.
What do you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning of your career?
That the mistakes I was going make would guide me to opportunities I never would have had otherwise. At some of my lowest career moments, I accepted help from others, saw new ways of doing things, and became a better problem solver. Learning to tap these skills without the sky having to fall has benefited me. I also wish I knew that being a “boss” does not make you a leader. My early days were spent bossing people around and trying to prove myself instead of taking the time to connect to people. You can only be a leader when others want to follow you.
Tell us something about yourself that may surprise people.
The closest I’ve come to a college education was to attend the college graduations of all four of my daughters.
How have you turned a failure in the workplace into a positive situation?
In the late 90’s I owned an advertising agency. One day after a client call, I led a conversation with my team about how amazing we were because we had convinced consumers to buy the clients product, even though “it tasted like the box it was delivered in.” The client was still on the line and what followed was a complete crash of a successful business. Much of the lessons I learned in that first year after shape decisions I make today. These include really believing in what you are doing or selling so that your authenticity is never in question and a realization integrity has as much to do with speaking the truth as it does with being trustworthy.
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