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Meet Ingrid Chen – Sallyport Senior Account Executive

Meet Ingrid Chen – Finance Professional with over 30 Years’ Experience

Ingrid has spent 27 years in the factoring and asset-based lending industry, starting with a family-owned factor in Southern California in 1991. When Bibby acquired her employer in 2007, Ingrid went with her portfolio and remained there for 10 years. Early in 2017, an opportunity to head up a Southern California office for Houston-based Sallyport Commercial Finance, LLC arose and the former management team at Bibby, and Ingrid, were reunited.

Ingrid now leads a team of four people in the operations team in CA, and manages a portfolio of West Coast factoring and asset-based lending clients. Always with accounts receivable, she is experienced in other assets and manages purchase order, equipment and inventory lines among her portfolio of clients with facilities ranging from $1MM to $10MM.

Ingrid grew up in Indonesia and came to the US in 1983 to pursue a better education. She graduated from University of Southern California with a BSc in Industrial and Systems Engineering, after deciding she wasn’t prepared to study for eight years to fulfill her childhood ambition of becoming a dentist.

Ingrid went on to earn an MBA from Oregon State University in 1991.

Q&A: 604 Words

What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?

Ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable. Embrace mistakes and learn from them. It is the best teacher you can have.

Today, we rely on the Internet for answers and often lose the personal touch. While the technology is invaluable and saves us a lot of time, we must remember the importance of interpersonal communication. This is the only way to build a personal connection with others.

Our industry is not glamorous, but there are plenty of opportunities for growth, challenges and excitement. Be open to new projects and opportunities. It’s easy to get stuck in your comfort zone and resist putting yourself out there, but you’ll never know what you can achieve until you’ve confronted uncomfortable situations.

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

I wish I recognized the importance of networking when I was in college. Thirty years ago, networking wasn’t as widely talked about. Presently, colleges hold numerous networking sessions for students to help prepare them for the future. Building relationships early on would have been extremely beneficial.

Being of Chinese descent, I also wish I had continued with my Chinese language classes and became fluent. Having the ability to speak different languages would give me a competitive advantage and being able to converse with my clients and customers in their native tongue could strengthen the relationship at a deeper level.

Women have a very challenging and complex role balancing career and personal life. I am a driven individual, but as I look back on the past 20-30 years, my main focus was on my career and family. I wish I started taking the time to enjoy other things in life a long time ago. I enjoy going to the gym, hiking, and being outside. In the past, I used to always say, “I don’t have time”. But life is short, and now I make time.

What kind of role has mentoring and or sponsorship played in your career

I’ve been fortunate to work with great managers throughout my career, whom I consider to be my mentors. They’ve shared their wisdom, experiences and skill set with me, but most importantly, they have empowered and given me a strong boost in self-confidence.

As a Senior Account Executive, I am responsible for developing my credit controllers and other account executives. Being a mentor to me means that you’re there to help your mentees along in their professional career, and offer guidance in personal growth. Building a relationship with your mentee is crucial so that they have confidence in coming to you for advice, and you can help them find the right track when they may seem lost.

What do you think the industry could do to attract and retain the best and the brightest?

I believe the industry suffers from a lack of awareness! Most of the people I work with stumbled into this industry when they were looking for work in general. Many people still give me a puzzled look when I tell them I’m in factoring and asset-based lending.  Offering internships, sponsoring college events or job fair and taking advantage of social media would be a great start to creating awareness with the younger generation.

In addition to competitive pay and benefits, other factors like a comfortable and safe work environment, strong team atmosphere, social programs, training programs, and technological advancements are all factors to retaining existing talent. The bottom line is that the company has to invest in people…its work family.



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