Whether entrepreneurs are born or made, is an unending debate that everyone has a different opinion on. Regardless of where you stand, it is clear, entrepreneurs strive to help mankind and make the world a better place. One such influential woman who is an entrepreneur at heart is Nancy Fitzgerald.
Nancy started her career in automotive in 2006 when she and her late husband, Patrick, opened a small dealership in Denver. iLendingDIRECT has grown since then, from a small independent dealership to a company that now employs more than 180 people.
Nancy became the President and CEO of iLendingDIRECT when Patrick passed away in 2014 from a tragic accident while pedalling his bike home from work. While grieving over the loss of her husband, Nancy not only rebuilt the management team of iLendingDIRECT, but also took the company to the next level and grew the business by 35% last year. From writing, producing, and hosting an Emmy-Nominated television show, “American Woman Television”, to anchoring network news, to the CEO of iLendingDIRECT, Nancy’s journey has been inspirational.
Nancy Fitzgerald: Phenomenal Journey of Trailblazer
From the time Nancy was 6 years old, she would go from house to house in her neighborhood, charging neighbors either twenty-five cents or milk and cookies for her to put on a play for them and sing and dance. “I can only imagine that got old quick, but they would pay up each and every week!” This is how the journey of Nancy’s life as an entrepeneur started. Nancy earned a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Calgary and a Master’s Degree in Broadcast and Print Journalism from the University of Colorado.
Nancy transitioned to a career in the automotive industry when Patrick brought her into his business. The excitement of helping people find a car they loved or one for their family members is how Nancy caught the bug. That spirit of helping people is why she was and is committed to a life-long career in automotive.
It was a huge leap to go from reporting and anchoring the news to selling cars and writing loans, but she took the challenge head on.
iLendingDIRECT: One Stop Shop For Every Financial Solution
iLendingDIRECT is a Financial Technology (FINTECH), sales, marketing, loan and servicing company that connects auto lenders to consumers nationwide for automotive refinancing, automotive purchase financing and automotive purchase leasing. The company offers auto finance solutions with the customers’ financial success in mind. There are a lot of companies out there that can provide a loan or refinance for customers, but iLendingDIRECT is different. This company focuses on setting the customers up for success, by saving them money and educating them about what is best for their particular financial situation.
iLendingDIRECT, under Nancy’s leadership, is known for its excellent customer service and ability to develop innovative solutions that deliver improved financial outcomes for its customers. iLendingDIRECT is one of the market leaders for low-interest auto loans and end-of-lease financing programs in the F&I industry. iLendingDIRECT’s financial and human solutions provide an excellent value to customers and partners alike. Educating consumers about their auto finance options is an area iLendingDIRECT takes pride in. The company provides exceptional consultive advice that helps people arrive at the best solution for their needs. The team helps customers understand how auto finance works to improve their credit score and reduce payments over time, so that they are no longer tied to past financial mistakes.
Implementing Encouraging Technology in the Firm
Nancy has implemented Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for all of iLendingDIRECT’s departments, which they are required to meet each and every month. It not only includes the sales floor, but also the quality of loan packets sent to the lenders and customer reviews on the BBB. Every department has relevant metrics, and Nancy holds everyone accountable to meet and maintain them.
iLendingDIRECT has recently released an app for the mobile phones that sends alerts when the car payment is due, registration renewal, factory recalls and even helping find the cheapest gas in the area.
Nancy and the team have created iLendingDIRECT University, where they strive to improve the training, by continuing to advance the training technology and strive to be the best that they can be. The team also has innovation summits once a quarter, where they come up with ways to continue to evolve all employees’ ideas and suggestions. Extensive time and capital is invested into every new loan consultant at iLendingDIRECT. Everyone spends at least 6 weeks in the classroom learning about all the work that’s done in the company.
Learning Through Mistakes While Making to the Top
“Traditionally, the automotive business has been dominated by men. Today is a different day. Women are prevalent in all aspects of our company, from sales to finance to management. Women play a very big and meaningful part of our team,” asserts Nancy, referring to women in business.
Nancy tries to spend time with her kids as much as possible. “Work-life balance can be tough, as we all know. I have two beautiful children, Izabella, 8 and Mannix, 6. My commitment to them comes first. Family is what drives me and our company. These years go by so fast, so I make sure that I spend quality time with them as much as possible.”
When asked about what she would do if she ever gets a chance to go back, she answers, “I wouldn’t change anything in my career as it has all brought me to where I am today. The struggles, the mistakes and the successes are all the ingredients that mixed together make me who I am as a leader.”
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