With Progress Made on New Initiatives, IACC President Enters Second Term Excited about Future of Organization
by International Association of Commercial Collectors, Inc. (IACC)
Enthusiastic. Excited. Pleased. Proud.
These are the words used by Greg Cohen in describing how he feels upon entering his second year as president of the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC), which is uncommon for presidents of the organization, who traditionally only serve one-year terms.
Cohen is pleased with the progress that has been made to date on several of the main initiatives introduced during the roll out of the new strategic plan last year at this time. And he’s excited and enthusiastic about continuing to move those initiatives — and some new ones — forward over the next year, which is the primary reason the 54-year-young Calabasas, California resident felt compelled to continue in the role for a second term.
“Honestly, I feel it would have been a disservice to the organization not to sign on for another year,” Cohen explained. “I wanted to ensure continuity, to see some of these new plans through. It takes several months to really get up and running and we’re there now. I didn’t want to leave in mid-stream.
“The IACC Board is laser focused on IACC’s mission,” Cohen continued. “And I’m so pleased that we’ve had three really successful conferences in the last 13 months. We’ve had two national conferences with record attendance and our first joint conference with the Commercial Law League of America (CLLA), which was a resounding success that more than doubled attendance at our regular mid-year conference. And the wheels are already in motion and enthusiasm is high as we prepare to meet back up with our friends and colleagues at our second joint conference with CLLA in Seattle this July, where I expect we’ll surpass the success of last year’s event.
“But I’m really proud of the progress on our most significant initiatives, introduced last year,” Cohen said.
Perhaps the biggest development this year was the formation of the Emerging Leaders Task Force, which boasts an ambitious agenda of identifying the biggest risks and opportunities with regard to learning what the industry will look like in 10 years, mentoring the next generation, and addressing the challenges as related to managing employees from different generations as far as meeting their needs and leveraging their unique talents.
“The millennial work force is different from my generation,” Cohen elaborated. “They are often at an advantage when it comes to using technology, but sometimes not as much with developing interpersonal relationships.
“That’s why this is important. We need to learn how to connect with our millennial co-workers and know how to meet their needs – and what we can learn from them – all toward our mutual objective, which is offering the best services to our customers. That is the charge of this task force, and Bob Ingold, the chair and past president of IACC, has done an amazing job getting it up and running,” Cohen commented.
Another of the strategic plan’s main initiatives was to focus on building partnerships and, to that end, the IACC formed the FENCA Relationship Task Force, which is charged with building its relationship with the Federation of European National Collection Associations toward strengthening ties with collections entities from individual nations.
“As global compliance comes in line, it’s important to have touch points as far as what’s happening in the world,” explained Cohen. “FENCA members will become better educated on how we do things in the U.S. and vice-versa.”
Also, starting this year, new and renewing members will receive a free agent certification certificate as part of the organization’s core mission to provide membership value and commitment to maintain the best-in-industry Collector Certification Program.
In addition, under Cohen’s leadership, the IACC this year formed two new committees intended to evaluate the mission and by-laws of the organization and examine the relationship between agencies and attorneys in the forms of the Governing Documents Review Task Force and the Operating Guidelines Task Force, respectively. The Member Benefits Task Force was also formed to maximize member benefits — something that Cohen sees as the primary function of the IACC.
“As an organization around since 1970, we are the largest association in the world and leaders in the commercial collection space,” he said. “As such, it’s our first, primary responsibility to provide benefits to our members, and our Board is very committed to that. When considering a new initiative, our first question is always, ‘How does this benefit our members?’”
It’s much the same responsibility that Cohen feels in his day job, as President and CEO of Caine & Weiner. “Much like IACC, we sell services and it’s the same whether you’re selling to customers or members” Cohen explained. “It’s paramount that we continue to enhance our performance and develop our people, and I feel it’s one of my primary roles to ensure that is happening.”
And Cohen is supremely qualified to meet all of his responsibilities, with both organizations, as he has been actively involved in the credit and collection industry for 30 years. Married for 28 years and the father of four children, three sons and a daughter, the golf enthusiast is also the president of the California Commercial Collection Association and serves on numerous CLLA committees. He received CLLA’s prestigious President Cup in 2016.
He also sees his responsibilities to Caine & Weiner as ensuring that the company is “on the right path” regarding vision and mission and that his executives are “collaborating toward individual and organizational development,” all of which circles back around to what he feels his responsibilities are as IACC President.
“There are many parallels,” said the San Diego State University graduate, who feels his primary function with IACC is to maximize opportunities for the volunteer board members to “put forth the greatest amount of input to the organization,” and to be sure that the staff feels “empowered to move us forward and ensure our commitment to the mission.”
And, of course, to keep moving those strategic plan initiatives forward.
“As leaders in the industry, it’s our responsibility to educate our members in areas of opportunity so they can prosper in the marketplace,” he continued. “We need to constantly challenge ourselves to look at what new and exciting opportunities might be available to us.”
With members throughout the U.S and in 25 other countries, IACC is the largest organization of commercial collection specialists in the world. For more information, visit www.commercialcollector.com