Clean Slate Podcast – Episode 1
In the first episode of the Clean Slate Podcast, Wayne introduces us to Juan Valladares, Vice President of CreditGuard of America.
About the Speaker:
Juan Valladares is the Vice President of CreditGuard of America, Inc. and has been working in the credit counseling industry since 1997.
Juan began his career at a major answering service center, responsible for the training and supervision of over two hundred employees. Now in charge of managing CreditGuard’s counseling department, Juan’s management, organizational and motivational skills are all vital to the company’s success.
Juan is a devoted father of two and a passionate racquetball player who competes regularly to satisfy his competitive instincts. He has dedicated his professional life to helping people get out – and stay out – of debt.
“Clean Slate” Podcast Episode 1: Introduction
Wayne: OK, welcome to the CreditGuard podcast. My name is Wayne and with me is Juan Valladares of CreditGuard. Hello, Juan.
Juan: Hello, everybody.
Wayne: I hope you are well today.
Juan: I’m doing quite well today, how are you doing, Wayne?
Wayne: I’m fabulous. I would like to start this inaugural episode of the CreditGuard podcast by letting you take a couple of moments to tell me a little bit about yourself.
Juan: Sure. Well, my name is Juan Valladares. My current position is Vice President of CreditGuard of America, but I actually started with them many, many years ago. I actually started on July 10, 1997. It’s funny that I’ve always remembered that date. I was quite young. Actually, I was about 23 years old, and I started out as one of the certified credit counselors. I went into some training, and then of course I had to do more training to become a certified credit counselor so I could help consumers with their finances. From that point forward I was able to get on the phones and speak to people nationwide.
I guess I had a talent for it—I was pretty good at it. Management saw that talent and they decided to make me a supervisor after being with the company for approximately three years. I started as an evening supervisor. From there I became a daytime supervisor, then a general supervisor for both shifts, then a manager, and then a general manager for the organization. Then onto Vice President of Operations. And a few years later, here I am as Vice President of the Company. So I actually started at a very young age, I was still in college. Now I’m 40 years old and have been here for a very, very long time, and I’ve probably heard every possible story when it comes to finances and people being in debt and needing some help. So I’m pretty knowledgeable when it comes to this industry.
It’s been a great, great ride, as far as my career is concerned. It’s funny how they say that the people who do a certain job are worse at it personally, like doctors who tell you they can’t smoke and then have a cigarette on their smoke break. I’m kind of a living example of that, where even though I’m giving people a significant amount of advice on how not to get in debt, or get out of debt, over the past 17 years I’ve actually come in and out of debt myself. But in many cases the way I look at that is that it really allows me to experience what some of our consumers are going through. And, of course, I’m human, so I’m going to make mistakes.
Juan: Taking a few chances and stuff like that. But, nevertheless, working here has really helped me and my own personal finances, and I’ve been able to help a significant amount of people.
Wayne: Yeah, I think that’s something that we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives. Being human is getting into a credit crunch from time to time. And while I suppose it can be a useful tool in navigating modern society, certainly commercially, I, myself, have certainly experienced some challenges with that going in and out of debt a couple of times.
It seems like you’ve really climbed the ladder at CreditGuard, really starting from the bottom and communicating with the consumers directly, and that experience in knowing the challenges that they commonly face, and then also the experience in getting to know how specific and individualized those challenges can be has provided you with a great amount of experience.
Juan: I’ve heard a significant amount of hardship from all of the customers out there. Over the years I’ve gained a lot of experience and have really become quite humble, to be quite frank when it comes to finance, at least with myself, anyway. It’s been a great experience for me.The most important thing for me is to be in a job that’s personally satisfying. And every night when I go home, I look at my kids, give them a kiss, I put my head on their pillow, and I feel really blessed to be able to help so many individuals. It’s a really rewarding job.
Wayne: Yeah, well it can’t be terrible because you’ve been there long enough so obviously it’s a great place to be.
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