It is often said that credit people are just one big family and for Christie Addison, Megan Kernick and Robyn Erskine this is certainly true. Credit professionals Megan Kernick and Christie Addison not only share the family bond of being cousins they also share the bond of choosing credit as their profession. Christie is Credit Manager at United Energy & Multinet Gas and Megan is Credit Team Leader at the Reece Group. "Aunty" Robyn is an experienced Insolvency Practitioner with Brooke Bird and has been closely involved with the AICM for many years where she continues to serve on the Victorian/Tasmanian council.
We recently caught up with Christie, Megan and Robyn to find out just how three members of the one family have found their way into the credit profession and what this has meant for each of them.
What we found is that the pathway into credit was quite different for each.
Robyn, an accountant by profession, has specialised in personal and corporate insolvency so while not directly involved in credit interacts regularly with credit professionals. She sees the role of the credit manager as one that is incredibly important. She says "an organisation should never under estimate the value of the credit team. Without sound credit policies and processes it can lead to liquidity problems which in turn can cause the failure of a business". Christie came via what one would consider the traditional pathway commencing some 14 years ago as an Accounts Receivable trainee with Nestle Peters Ice Cream. Megan on the other hand, after completing more than half of a teaching degree, felt she needed a change and was seeking some real life hands on experience that university just was not providing and was encouraged by Christie to look at an accounts receivable role.
Obviously one of the great attributes of the credit profession is the broad base that people looking to work in credit can come from which opens up opportunities for many different people from many different backgrounds.
Both Christie and Megan have enjoyed career growth and success which no doubt comes from hard work and commitment. Both attribute much of their success to the tremendous support they have received from fellow credit professionals who have unselfishly acted as mentors by giving freely of their knowledge and helping them develop sound credit skills. Megan says "from day one at Reece I have been challenged to think beyond what was put in front of me, to consider why I had reached certain conclusions and above all to have confidence in making decisions". Christie is also glowing of the support she has received along her journey especially during her early years at Nestle where, as a young credit team member, she was encouraged by her supervisor to gain valuable skills in managing small and large ledgers progressing to project management and credit analysis. In turn Christie now finds herself in the position of being able to assist with developing her own team and sees this as one of the most enjoyable parts of her current position at United Energy.
Both agree the collegiate atmosphere in credit has allowed them to develop and grow professionally.
Megan says “one of the best parts of my job are the people I work with. There is a great culture at Reece and we all just want to do our best for the team”.
The AICM has been important in their careers. Robyn says being part of the AICM has developed a strong network of credit professionals which has stood her in good stead when appointed to various insolvency matters. “Knowing you can pick up the phone and find out how a particular supply chain works or how things work in a particular industry is invaluable”.
Christie rates being a State Finalist in the YCP Awards in 2004 and 2006 and receiving the Tony Mamone Memorial Award in 2006 as some of the major highlights in her career.
Megan feels the opportunities her employer has given her by supporting her membership of the AICM, allowing her to attend the various training sessions and the National Conference each year has enabled her to grow and understand the world of credit. Since joining the credit profession in 2013 she has been a state finalist in the YCP awards this year and a member of the National Credit Team of the Year in 2014.
Personal support is also seen as important. For Christie, a busy mother of two small children, juggling a full on career and motherhood is challenging. She feels very fortunate to be given the opportunity to work 4 days per week with 3 days in the office and one day from home however being a senior member of staff this often means that the days she is in the office are long and on her day off she spends quite a bit of her day checking and replying to
emails just to ensure the work that is needed to be done gets done. The ability of being able to work from home does allow her important time with her family. “Being a working mum is a juggle. Thankfully I have a husband that can share the load, picking the kids up from day care and getting dinner on the table. I often feel that we are always racing the clock and rushing but the kids are very adaptable and are used to having two working parents”. She said “the support I’ve received from United Energy in giving me the flexibility needed to be a valuable employee and a working mother has been really appreciated”.
Clearly being part of the credit family has allowed this particular family to make the most of life’s opportunities, make great friendships and develop challenging and stimulating careers.