A Night to Remember

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Credit Professional of the Year – Dee Weston FCICM

Awards, trophies, accolades, gongs, whatever you call them, some people spend their lives trying to achieve the highest honours in their chosen fields.

It's not often you come across someone who finds their joy, their happiness, and their fulfilment in their everyday job; however, that's what you come across when you meet Dee Weston.

Dee is one of the more humble people you could ever hope to meet. When we sat down to talk about her win, and her career, it proved to be quite the (pleasant) challenge as she was too focused on praising the team around her and emphasising her love for credit rather than her own successes.

"Even now, part of me feels very happy, but then a bigger part of me feels quite embarrassed! It's very weird," she says.

"I think it's because I've never really put myself out there. I genuinely enjoy my job so much, and I do it because I believe in what we're doing. So, when some lovely person nominates you for an award, you almost feel like a fraud for winning because you're doing something almost for fun!"

Constant dedication
One reason the judges awarded Dee with this year's 'gong' was her constant dedication to finding new ways to solve problems and challenge perceptions. Dee admitted this was a big motivation for her.

"I've been in the credit industry since I was 17 or something ridiculous like that, starting out as a collector, and the industry has changed so much and has equally become more important. The credit function within a business is a multi-tool; you're a line of defence, it aids productivity, and, as a team, you are enablers within the business. I've evolved with it, and I still look for new solutions or new ideas to continue to evolve.

"The other thing about this industry many people underestimate is that you meet such fabulous people who share your passion for improvement. They inspire you. Whether old or new, internal or external, in this industry it’s the people that make it what it is."

Dee did admit the win has validated her career choice and the work she and her team have put in over the years to make positive change.

"I've never stopped loving what I do, despite all the challenges, so it was a fantastic validation, and I cannot ignore that. And because it came from someone else who thought I had made a valid contribution – it means the world to me. It makes me feel as though it wasn't wasted energy and my time was worth it.

"It was a lovely moment to win and a memory I'll always cherish."

Since Dee and her team completed the CICMQ last year, most of her colleagues are either now studying, about to begin studying, or already in the process of taking their exams.

"This career is a stepping-stone and the team I work with are super smart, and their careers could go anywhere. I think the fact that their work was also nominated on the night will inspire them for years to come. I'm really proud of them."

Dee also also heaps praise on the CICM team for creating and hosting the awards: "There are awards for every industry so I'm immensely proud we have our own. But not only that, these awards show young people that there's so much they can achieve within a career in credit. They stand as a bastion of credit and show it isn't a back-office function anymore. It's a business-critical support function and it’s important credit is recognised in such a way. It's a career now, no longer a job you 'fall 'into."

For future awards, Dee’s team should be on the lookout: "I’ll definitely be nominating my team and people within our business. I work with some wonderful people who are committed, dedicated and enthusiastic about their future. I would love to see them recognised for their ability and see their confidence in their own skills grow. I’ll be writing submissions galore!”

Sue Chapple, Chief Executive of the CICM, is the first to recognise Dee’s reputation within the world of credit: “Dee has been a stalwart of our industry for over 30 years, consistently going above and beyond to move the world of credit forward.

“I was very proud to see her win the award. It was a bit emotional to see how much it meant to her! Congratulations, Dee. It is very well deserved.”