The Secured Lender Women in Secured Finance 2020What advice would you offer to women just starting out
in the industry?

The two pieces of advice I would tell women starting out is number
one, build your team and number two, build your network. Figure out what resources you might need, and then find your “go to” people. For me that has been really helpful. I have built close relationships with professionals in many supporting fields that I can call on to bounce ideas off or who I can engage to help clients. Second, continually build your broader network. When you are starting out, networking can be intimidating. Force yourself to do it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Generally, people are very willing to make introductions. I can still remember being young and walking into a room filled with middle-aged men in dark suits. It can be daunting, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll find some familiar faces in the room and it gets easier. Also, seek out smaller environments to start. Get involved, join committees, and volunteer at events. A big part of being successful is simply consistently showing up.

Studies have shown women are reluctant to tout their accomplishments in the workplace. What advice would you give to help women be more comfortable with speaking up?

First, keep track of your accomplishments. Have a place where you keep notes about successes, congratulatory emails, or formal commendations. It’s easy to remember failures, but sometimes we forget all the great things big and small that we have accomplished. Additionally, be prepared to advocate for yourself. It’s an important skill, and it’s very rewarding to stand up for yourself.

What do you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning of your career?

Take advantage of every opportunity and be curious. Always ask for the next challenge and seek out opportunities to learn and expand your skillset and knowledge. Don’t be afraid to fail. If you never fail, you are not challenging yourself enough. Lastly, ask for help. Rarely will a senior colleague be unwilling to help, and if you find one with whom you really connect, ask them to be your mentor. Successful mentoring relationships can be really rewarding for both parties.

What do you enjoy most about your role? Least?

Our role is to help businesses who are struggling or growing by providing the right working capital solution. Seeing our clients succeed and knowing we played a part is very rewarding. I enjoy problem-solving and bringing together whatever resources are necessary to help our clients overcome their challenges. Additionally, the opportunity to continually meet new people and learn about different industries keeps life interesting.

How do you balance work/personal time?

I do not believe there is a working woman with a family that hasn’t struggled with work-life balance. I think it’s important to recognize that and cut yourself some slack. Even Super Woman might occasionally struggle with simultaneously trying to be a rock star colleague, mom, and spouse. However, as many balls as there are to juggle, I believe it’s important to take time for yourself because it makes handling everything else easier. I didn’t make that a consistent practice early on, and I still struggle with it, but it is important. Something that has helped me
is having flexibility in my work life. I was able to run to see my child’s performance at school, and then work at night or on the weekend. Today, many companies recognize the importance of flexibility. Lastly, outsource household chores or chauffeuring responsibilities when possible to free up time to focus on family, work, and your personal well-being.
Kristin Erickson is senior vice president and has over 25 years of experience in the factoring and asset-based lending industry. She is well versed at sourcing and structuring value-added solutions to lower/middle-market companies that are in the manufacturing, distribution and service industries. Kristin helped develop North Mill’s sales and marketing strategies and has been instrumental in growing the business. Most recently Kristin originated the acquisition of the portfolio of Sage Business Credit, a Minneapolis-based factoring company. The acquisition significantly expanded North Mill’s factoring business in the Midwest.

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Kristen Erikson

Kristin has been with North Mill since 1996 and she continues to expand her active referral source network of lenders, bankers, private equity firms, investment bankers, brokers and other sources to generate new business for the company. She has served on the boards of the RMA and the TMA along with serving on various committees. She is currently active in ACG, TMA, RMA and SFNet.

Kristin received her degree in finance from Miami University. She resides in Mendota Heights, MN with her husband, Mike, and their three children.