Professional development is a constant theme across our industry and others, and many within the equipment leasing and finance industry embark on the path to continued development and career elevation by striving to earn their CLFP letters. Our CLFP Family has grown immensely over the last decade, earring a comma in 2021 at hitting 1,000 CLFPs, and continues to frequently add new CLFPs. I was able to connect with new CLFP, Jacie Moul and hear a bit about her CLFP Journey.
TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY.
JM: “My name is Jacie Moul, CLFP. I work for Amur Equipment Finance and I am an AVP of our Relationship Management team. I was raised in a small town near Grand Island, NE where our headquarters are. I truly enjoy working with our broker partners to provide the best service to each customer we get the privilege to serve. During my free time, I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends (at the lake, riding 4-wheelers, any activity outdoors), working out at the gym or going on walks with our puppies, doing house projects, and relaxing nights at home watching movies.”
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO PURSUE THE CLFP DESIGNATION?
JM: “My superiors [at Amur] felt that I was in the next stage of my career, so it was time to pursue it! I hoped to earn my CLFP letters not only for myself, but as a leader at Amur. I first heard about the designation when I started at Amur about 4 years ago. I have known that this has been on the horizon for me for quite a while, but after I passed my 3 years of tenure, I was ready to take the next step to demonstrate my commitment to our industry.
I knew it would be challenging, but I wanted to take on this challenge for myself and to also pave the way as a leader for my team. Amur was extremely encouraging of my pursuit of continued knowledge and supported me in every step of the way.”
Being able to have a baseline of knowledge to come into the ALFP specifically (and then the test was extremely important. I’m also a big advocate for highlighting key points in both the CLFP Handbook and the ALFP Workbook from the Academy, so I could focus more in-depth on the material. I knew I could come back to those highlighted points later and really study them further. If I observed other classmates asking questions, I made sure to pay attention and note what others were saying in case it came up later.
I also made flashcards to support memorization of terms – I’ve heard that if you repeat things 7 or more times, you will retain that information! The flashcards really helped me there. When I read something, I really wanted to ensure I understood. If I needed help, I knew that I could reach out to my teammates and I did. The pricing was a tricky area for me, so I would recommend practicing as much as you possibly can to gain confidence. Be sure to prepare a little bit at a time. It is the practice that will help you feel confident.”
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP WORDS OF WISDOM FOR THOSE CLFP CANDIDATES PREPARING FO R THEIR OW N ACADEMY AND EXAM? ANYTHING YOU MIGHT HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY ALONG THE WAY?
JM: “For me personally, I really took reading the Handbook seriously. It was a matter of budgeting time to do it around my work schedule, but the time commitment is so important to help prepare. You cannot just rely on the information in the ALFP to earn a passing grade on the test. It takes a combination of the preparation before, during, and after class to gain that confidence. Intentional time is key!
Taking notes on my own and then adding more in the Academy were both important parts of my own CLFP Journey. There [is] so much information that we have to know, so repetition and writing as much down as possible were very helpful in my process to prepare for the CLFP Exam.
If I were to do it again, perhaps I would spend more time studying the CLFP Handbook before the class.”
NOW THAT YOU’VE EARNED YOUR CLFP LETTERS, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAY YOU CAN SHARE WITH OTHERS? (BOTH AS CLFPS ALREADY, AND CANDIDATES PURSUING THE DESIGNATION)
JM: “It motivated me to show my brokers and customers my commitment and dedication to the industry. As a young professional, it was especially important to take this step to show that I was able to take this challenge on.”
WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT CAN YOU PROVIDE TO THOSE WHO HAVEN’T TESTED YET AND/OR THOSE WHO DON’T HAVE THE CLFP LETTERS?
JM: “My biggest encouragement is that this designation really sets you apart in your field. Showing that I am here for the long run by demonstrating that I will always be seeking opportunities to better myself and continue to grow are the perfect ways I can summarize the benefits of being a CLFP and earning my letters. Continual improvement is key to providing the best support to my brokers and my team.
It is challenging, it is a big step, but you can truly train your brain to believe that it can be done – and you can do it! Go into the test and/or class with confidence and the outlook that you can and will do it, and that will be a game-changer for you. Own what you are doing, and be confident in doing it.
Personally, I wanted to prove myself as a young, female professional that I am not only committed, but I have knowledge of what I do.”
WHAT ADVICE MIGHT YOU OFFER TO SOMEONE HESITANT TO PURSUE THE CLFP?
JM: “I would say that earning the CLFP designation really changed me for the better.
It is a whole other level of challenging yourself, and you should give it a shot! You don’t realize how much you don’t know until you try something like this. It really does test your knowledge and application of our day-to-day work. The perseverance and dedication you put in to get to the point of sitting for an Academy and then the Exam is huge! That alone shows that you have set yourself apart.
Because our industry is ever-changing, we need to ensure we have a strong knowledge base, and then we can keep continuing to grow, learn, and level up. Pursuing the CLFP is a way to establish knowledge, lock in key concepts, and build understanding. Once that knowledge base is set, you can build on it in tandem with your career.”
DESCRIBE YOUR CLFP JOURNEY – THE STUDY PROCESS, ALFP, EXAM, ETC.
JM: “When I became eligible to participate, I began to prepare by setting aside time to dedicate to studying and maintained a curiosity and constant pursuit of knowledge along the way.
My strongest advice is to read The Certified Lease & Finance Professionals’ Handbook before the Exam, but especially before the ALFP (Academy for Lease & Finance Professionals. You will feel so prepared going into the course - and that preparation paired with the ALFP Workbook and the test nuggets (from Mel!) will go a long way leading up to the Exam.
WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING AND MOST POSITIVE PART OF YOUR CLFP JOURNEY?
JM: “The process will test you, but it will also reward you. There is perseverance, and then there is reward. Just keep going! The biggest challenge is that the Body of Knowledge is big! You need to train your brain to understand many various subjects, and the best way to overcome this is to schedule the time to make it happen. I’m newer to the industry, but I’m also very competitive, and overall, I wanted to make a positive impact with this experience. By earning my CLFP it shows that I can do it, and I will continue to build my knowledge base throughout my career. The experience is something that I would encourage anyone in our industry to do.
It was so rewarding to receive the notification that I passed, and after 4 years in the industry seeing the validation that I really do have knowledge of our industry and can demonstrate that! Earning my CLFP letters says that what I’m doing every day is making an impact, not just for Amur but for my partners, and this was the next step to broaden my knowledge, to get my name out there, and be a part of something bigger. I’m excited to have the opportunity to tell people my story and journey, and I am eager to tell others about my experience earning my CLFP and encouraging others to take the leap, too.”
HOW HAS THE CLFP IMPACTED YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT?
JM: “For me, my role only focuses on a small area of our leasing lifecycle – the CLFP was beneficial for me to learn a more well-rounded, broad view of the industry. And the ALFP plus the designation are only the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more I can continue to learn! The CLFP is a crucial way to apply a little bit of all the knowledge in all we do. It provides such a positive perspective into the various roles that exist out there. It’s all a puzzle – having to find the pieces to make the puzzle full describes the CLFP Journey so well for me.
Making it a point to set aside the time in my personal and professional life to take the next steps, study, prepare, and earn the CLFP has not only aided in my own growth, but has benefited those around me – my team, my company, my brokers.
I hope now that those that interact with me (my team, brokers, or other industry professionals), see me having the next level of education and as someone who is very dedicated to what I do. I know that I am seen as someone who takes my career seriously and will only continue to grow from here.
I am so proud to be a CLFP and having this as a part of my story.”
Mel Vinson, CLFP | VP of Marketing and Development
Melissa “Mel” Vinson, CLFP, is the Vice President of
Marketing and Development at the Certified Lease & Finance Professional Foundation.