Member Spotlight: Fostering Personal and Professional Growth
Continuous learning is indispensable for credit professionals, serving as the cornerstone for their professional success and organizational effectiveness. By earning designations through NACM's six-level Professional Certification Program, credit professionals gain the necessary knowledge and skills required to advance in their career. Beyond mere skill acquisition, each program fosters personal and professional growth, equipping credit managers with the knowledge and insights to excel in their roles and contribute to their company's financial success.
Erin Stammer, CCE, vice president of credit at PNW Railcars, Inc. (Portland, OR) earned her Certified Credit Executive (CCE) designation to jumpstart her year in 2023. The CCE endorses its achievers as capable of managing the credit function at an executive level in the areas of accounting, finance, domestic and international credit concepts, management and law. "I needed a challenge and knowing that I had an exam to take at the end kept me focused and engaged in the whole process," she said.
Stammer successfully passed the final CCE exam after completing the Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management (GSCFM), a hybrid program that covers four essential business and professional growth disciplines: Advanced Financial Statement Analysis, Legal Environment of Credit, Advanced Negotiations and Leadership. "Being there in person added to my desire to complete the program and take the exam," Stammer said. "Also being part of a group propelled me forward because it's not just about me anymore."
Not only was the graduate program a success, but Stammer became the recipient of the peer elected GSCFM Student Leader Award for 2023. "I was surprised and humbled by the award," she said. "Every person in the group brought a very valuable perspective to the GSCFM, and I was honored that they felt I demonstrated strong leadership because in the end, we were all natural leaders."
Stammer also gained deeper insight into her strengths and weaknesses as a credit professional. "I've always thought of myself as an overthinker and analytical to a fault," she said. "But being amongst others that think the same way or have a similar approach to credit gave me more self-confidence in my decision-making. I'm no longer overly concerned that I'm being too over analytical or asking too many questions."
💡Study Tips from Stammer: Preparation is key. "Due to my high anxiety about taking tests, the three-month delay between the end of our graduate program and the final exam for the CCE was a good amount of time for me to prepare, organize my study materials and make flash cards and really focus on the end goal."
Stammer advises that students purchase the books recommended in the courses and use online study tips. "I read through the book and reviewed chapters that we hadn't gone to in-depth during class," she said. "I also spent time on areas that I wasn't sure of until I felt more confident that I had mastered them."
Lastly, Stammer prioritizes a healthy work-life balance. "Make sure that you're getting plenty of rest, exercising and maintaining a good diet in the month leading up to the exam to stay sharp," Stammer said. "It's a four-hour exam so I made sure I had a set schedule with healthy habits so that I was ready for the exam."
For more information about each designation within NACM's Professional Certification Program, visit our website.