I’m sure some of you are experiencing the mid-winter blues right about now, so we wanted to give you a little pick-me up with another edition of the Employee Spotlight Series! This time, we talked with Colleen Kretowicz, an Audit Supervisor at SpendMend, and had the pleasure of finding out what’s going on in her life right now. We quickly learned that Colleen is extremely tough-she recently had cancer surgery, but was still able to find the time and energy to sit down with us and answer all our questions. While Colleen is very tough, she is also very caring. When Colleen was first diagnosed with cancer, her initial thoughts were not about herself but were about her clients. Colleen thought “who is going to take care of my clients?”. When she informed management about her diagnosis, they were very supportive, and her team all chipped in to take care of her clients, so she didn’t have to worry about it while she was in recovery. We are very thankful Colleen’s recovery is going great and her prognosis is now excellent!
It’s no surprise that the last year has looked different for Colleen given the circumstances, but she said on a normal day you can find her hanging out with her Greyhounds Wally and Snickers, who are the most loving and supportive dogs you would ever meet. Another interesting fact about Colleen is that she actually fosters retired racing Greyhounds until they find their “forever home”. This is just another testament to who Colleen is as a person. Travis Wheeler, Audit Manager at SpendMend, said this about Colleen, “Colleen is very client oriented. She takes pride in the deliverables presented which builds trust and long-standing relationships where our clients look to leverage SpendMend when starting new initiatives.” We are so happy and proud to have Colleen on the team and it was great getting to know more about her! Thank you for everything, Colleen!
Interview with Colleen:
What is your role at SpendMend?
How long have you been with SpendMend?
How did you first learn about SpendMend?
It was posted on the job board at Grand Valley.
What 3 words would you use to describe SpendMend?
Integrity, Innovation, Compassionate
Why do you look forward to coming to work?
I feel that we are helping our clients and that is even more important during the financial worries associated with the COVID burden on the economy and our healthcare system.
Before working at SpendMend, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
Working as a pharmacy technician for 7.5 years. – I was a mortgage loan processor and closer before I had kids and became a stay-at-home mom. When I decided to go back to work, there was the Mortgage crisis and there were no jobs in the industry. That is how I ended up in Pharmacy. After many years working with rheumatoid arthritis and no chairs in the pharmacy, I went back to school full time and got my accounting degree while working full time. I really liked audit and that is how I ended up at SpendMend. Starting over at a “mature” age has not proven a hinderance at SpendMend. I have been allowed to advance my career based solely on desire and hard work.
What type of music or podcasts do you listen to during the workday?
I typically can't listen to anything but if I do have time for background entertainment, I like the podcast Welcome to Night Vale or listen to classic rock. My go to’s are Cheap Trick and Heart for my classic rock and MGMT for the more recent. These keep me upbeat and going without interrupting my concentration.
Do you have any hobbies or participate in any activities outside of work?
Now that my kids are grown and on their own, I spend most of my free time volunteering for Allies for Greyhounds helping retired racing greyhounds find a comfy couch of their own with a loving family. I foster, host meet and greets and help coordinate activities for the group.
What is one fun fact about you?
I own and foster retired racing greyhounds!
How did you get started in fostering greyhounds?
My daughter and I stumbled upon a greyhound adoption group meet and greet at Pet Smart and I was intrigued. I was not aware of the modern greyhound racing industry and how sweet tempered and well treated these magnificent animals were and the efforts to have them all adopted into loving homes upon their retirement. They only race a few short years and then spend the rest of their lives in loving retirement homes. My daughter adopted one while briefly living at my home after college and when they moved out, I missed them (my son too – who had graduated college and moved to California), so I decide that I needed another dog too. Wally is the most mellow and sweetest boy who I adopted straight from the kennel. I learned the few things that they needed to be taught to transition from elite athletes to couch potatoes and that flowed into fostering his friends to help them be couch ready upon adoption. I now have a little girl named Snickers who raced in Florida too. She was a foster who decided she was home, so she now owns me and helps to train fosters who come our way. I get so much back from my time with all of the dogs! They are so chill and sweet and sleep a lot. They are like giant cats around the house and I can tell you that in all of the work conference calls from home during COVID somebody’s dog always barks but never mine. I’ve had up to 6 in the room and they are the best work buddies… no barking.
They are incredibly supportive especially during this trying time.
Can you describe an interaction when you helped a client or a supplier that stands out in your mind?
When I was an auditor, I found a duplicate payment of over $1Million and facilitated the reconciliation of that vendor's accounts with the hospital and the installation of an onsite vendor rep to prevent the problems that lead up to the issues that resulted in overpayments.
What was the best compliment you’ve ever been paid by a client or supplier?
The best compliment to me is when AP tells vendors that we are their partners/teammates and the experts in the field telling them that we have the institution's full confidence and support and that they are to follow our instructions.
What is the best part of serving the healthcare market?
Helping recover funds for institutions that are taking care of all of us.
What is your favorite Recovery Room Activity?
Sadly, the only time I have used it was the Euchre tournament. I work, a lot. I don't like to take breaks.
What has been your experience with SpendMend community service events?
I love that we participate in toys for tots, children's food basket and the purple walk fundraisers and am very glad to donate and have SpendMend match donations.
What is your favorite in house event? (specific potluck, chili cook-off, bring your kid to work day, etc.)
I enjoy all the potlucks!
Do you want to shout out a co-worker who has helped or inspired you at SpendMend?
Laura Nagy - From day one she has been a role model of women in management. She took her time and mentored me from auditor through supervisor always being a positive and informative help. She is extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and encouraging to all - a wonderful female role model.
What advice do you have for perspective candidates who want to join the SpendMend team?
Jump in, learn all you can, work hard, and the sky is the limit at SpendMend!
What has been your proudest accomplishment at SpendMend?
Mentoring my auditors to help them develop their potential and helping them reaching their goals.
What is something you’re looking forward to for your future at SpendMend?
New challenges - SpendMend as the industry leader is constantly growing and evolving our services and I love rising to each new challenge!