National Equipment Finance Association (NEFA) Newsline magazine asked Nancy R. Backus to share her personal and professional journey to success as a leader in the equipment finance industry. In this Q&A, we learn about how Nancy started in the industry and her observations of the unique challenges faced by women. She also provides her insights and advice for women seeking to advance to leadership roles.


Nancy R. Backus President Delta Management Group, Inc

Nancy R. Backus


Delta Management Group, Inc.


How and when did you start in the equipment finance industry?

Well, I hate to date myself, but my experience in the equipment finance industry begins all the way back in 1975. Fresh out of college, I took a job at a local truck line in their accounts payable/receivable department. I learned so much and made many friends over the 10 wonderful years I worked there. The mid-80s came around and my husband and I decided it was time to start a family. Family and work/life balance have always been very important to me, so I made the decision to take some time off to raise our three beautiful children. By 1990, I was ready to re-enter the workforce, so I took a job for an attorney who owned a small commercial collection agency. I quickly became the top collector working defaulted equipment leases for GE Capital. I held that position until my resignation in 1998, when I decided to branch off and incorporate my own collection agency, Delta Management Group, Inc., in January 1999.


How would you characterize the landscape when you first started in this industry — did you observe many women in leadership roles then?

I don’t think I’m surprising anyone when I say the industry was very male-dominated, especially when I started back in the ‘70s. When I began my own company, I knew it would be very competitive, and I may have a slight disadvantage as a woman-owned business. However, I knew I had the experience, the skills and the confidence to make it a success. Negotiating and collecting were my strong suits, but the challenge for any new agency is building your client base. Fortunately, one of my first clients back in 1999 was a Fortune 500 bank, and the decision maker was a woman. My agency was a perfect fit for their collection needs, and the relationship blossomed. We continue to service their defaulted equipment lease contracts to the current day. From that client, we continued to grow very quickly through our marketing efforts and word of mouth. Our very first client would go on to recommend Delta Management Group, Inc. to two more Fortune 500 banks.


What were some of the biggest challenges/hurdles you feel were specific to women climbing within the industry during the early years of your career?

The majority of my clients look at performance levels and our collection success rate rather than if you are a man or a woman. The numbers speak for themselves and I don’t see any discrimination. My team prides itself on delivering great results for our clients.


Have those challenges/hurdles changed and, if so, how would you describe them today?

In some ways, I feel women today can have a certain advantage in the equipment finance and debt collection industry. With Delta Management Group, our clients appreciate the hands-on, personal touch we give each account. We take a firm, yet empathetic approach, treating customers with respect, which goes a long way in the industry, or truly any situation in life.


How did you work to position yourself for a leadership position?

Throughout my life, I have always had an entrepreneurial and self-starter mindset. In college, I minored in psychology, enhancing my natural ability to read people. To be a successful negotiator in your dealings with customers, you must learn to walk a tightrope, so to speak. There is an artistry to staying in control of a conversation, while maintaining compassion and taking a true interest in the customer’s story. The verbal cues can be subtle, and you must be sensitive to catch them. I have based my company on my own “art of negotiation” success tactics and teach it to all my employees.


What advice would you give to other women seeking to advance to leadership positions within the industry?

Never stop learning or working to improve yourself. Put in the extra time to know your service or product inside and out. Let your prospective customers know you take a genuine interest in them and in helping their business succeed. Together everyone achieves much!

Bradley Backus

Bradley Backus is a Digital Marketing Manager and SEO Copywriter Specialist. He was born and raised in Minnesota and is a graduate of Metropolitan State University with a degree in Creative Writing.