“Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”

That’s the 2021 theme of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is observed in October.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) continues to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity across our nation, ensuring all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).

For more information about NCSAM, visit https://www.cisa.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month. The website includes tip sheets on how to be “cyber-secure” and weekly themes such as “Be Cyber Smart,” “Fight the Phish!”, “Explore. Experience. Share. – Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week,” “Cybersecurity First.”

At AllianceOne, together with our parent company, Teleperformance, we take cybersecurity seriously. Security certifications include Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), SOC Type I and Type II, and BCRs as a Data Controller and Data Processor. We comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), considered to be the “gold standard” of security regulations worldwide.

For more information on how AllianceOne and Teleperformance protect the cybersecurity of our clients, consumers, and employees, please visit Services: Experts in Security | Teleperformance Global

How One Small Decision Changed my Life

As I write this, we are approaching my one-year anniversary of starting with AllianceOne, which is a good time to reflect on the circumstances that brought me to my position and all the changes that came within the past year. The entire world was brought to a halt in early 2020 and as things slowly began to change and evolve, most people were looking for fresh starts, or a new way of life that fit the cards that we had been dealt. I was no different. At the time, I was finishing up my first semester back in college after a four year break and working evenings when the COVID shut downs began. I finished out the semester, but decided that for my health and safety I was not comfortable going back for the fall. In the meantime, I thought, I should get a job with day hours! After about a month of job searching, I landed at AllianceOne.

This job was going to be temporary. Something to earn income and work from home until I felt safe returning to school. However, I quickly found that I enjoyed my job and things were not returning to normal anytime soon, or ever. I enjoyed helping others, and I was great at it! About a month in an opportunity to become a trainer presented itself. Even with my limited experience, I applied. I interviewed for the job and was very excited to move up with the company. Unfortunately, I did not get the job. I was not discouraged. I continued to do my best work for another month. Then, there it was, another training position came open! I jumped on it and this time, thanks to my perseverance and determination, I got the job!

Now the job that I planned to be temporary had taken on a more permanent fixture in my life. I love what I do, and I excel at it. Since starting, I have had not one, but three promotions in less than a year. My peers and managers make me feel valued and appreciated. Also in this past year, I have found a wonderful partner to share life with, soon moving into a nicer apartment thanks to my new income, and I have learned more about my own identity and myself. Many people around the world were not as fortunate as I have been, and their new starts were much more negative. However, I know my life would not be where it is today if not forced to find a new beginning. If anyone out there is struggling, as many are, stick with it, you never know how your life will change with one small decision to start something new.

Beat the Heat: 10 Tips to Stay Cool this Summer

This week marks the 245th birthday of America. Independence day is a day where we not only put emphasis on the American tradition of freedom, American flag displays, grand firework shows, but we also get to enjoy picnics, barbeques and vacations with our families.  Let us not forget the hot dog eating competition on TV!

With this fun and festive holiday comes the Summertime heat! Here are some ways to beat the heat without cranking up the AC; which might save you some money this Summer!

  1. Keep the blinds closed. I know that we love to have the sunshine come in but it can really heat up the house and pretty quick too! Blackout curtains work really well here too.
  2. Turn off the lights. Incandescent bulbs give off heat and it can make a different in your home’s temperature.
  3. Cook outdoors. What a better time to fire up the grill than 4th of July weekend? The oven can contribute to heating up your house. If grilling isn’t an option; bring out the air fryer! It does almost everything an oven can but it won’t heat up your house. The crockpot is useful here too.
  4. Use the exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen. They’re designed to push out hot air; some homes are designed with an exhaust fan in the hallway.
  5. Open your windows. In the evening, when it cools down, open the windows but be sure to close them in the morning before it gets hot. This way, you capture all the cool air outdoors.
  6. Take a cool shower/bath. You can turn your bathtub into a small swimming pool in your home.
  7. Put your pillowcases in the freezer. I know, it sounds crazy, but it works in the evening when it’s been a long hot day and you’re trying to sleep.
  8. Plug in the fans. Put a fan in front of a window to suck the cool evening air in or put it backwards in a window so that it pushes the hot air out.
  9. Eat ice cream or popsicles. We all love a cool treat, these work great to cool you off and have a treat at the same time.
  10. The most important tip is to stay hydrated. Drinking water is very important in the Summertime months; especially since we are sweating a lot. If you don’t like water, eating watermelon is also a great way to stay hydrated and have a snack.

Have fun this Summer make memories but stay cool with these tips. If all else fails and you can’t escape the heat, find a local business that offers air condition like the mall or your favorite movie theater. Most importantly, hydrate and be safe with the fireworks!

The Longest Day of the Year

Prepare yourself for the longest day of the year. Summer Solstice takes place the evening of June 20th. The first official day of summer in the northern hemisphere is Monday, June 21st. A day where we will enjoy 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight. It will not be the hottest day of the year and yet the earth will be the farthest from the sun.

June solstice takes place at the exact instant of time all over the world when the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer. For the Pacific time zone that will be Sunday evening, June 20th at 8:32 p.m. (June 21 at 03:32 UTC).

As the year progresses, each day will shorten until winter solstice on December 2nd—this will be the shortest day of the year at 13-hours, 46-minutes, and 41-seconds. With that in mind, summer begins on Monday with almost three extra hours of daylight. How many times have you ever caught yourself asking for more hours in the day? With all this extra time next week, take a moment to feel the sun on your skin and enjoy the earth’s axis at it reaches maximum tilt.

Happy Solstice to all.

Famous Contradictions

Famous Contradictions

  • If Birds of a feather flock together,” then why is it that Opposites attract”?
  • If “Clothes make the man”  is it also true that “You cannot judge a book by its cover.”?
  • I’ve always thought that “Great minds think alike” until I heard that “Fools seldom differ.”
  • Always remember: “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.” but don’t forget that “Misery loves company.”
  • When we need help, we say “Many hands make light work,” until we remember that “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Having Difficulty Looking at Your New Year’s resolutions?

Now that February is rapidly passing, many of us have lost sight of our resolutions and get squeamish thinking about the chocolate cake that got devoured or the extra pounds that haven’t fallen away. Maybe it’s easier to start with more kindness, to ourselves and others . . .

Tom the Turkey

“Gobble, gobble.” Translation: I’m grateful for all you veterinarians.

“Gobble? Gobble, gobble.” Translation: Did I say veterinarians? I meant to say Vegetarians.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Mundanity of Excellence

I recently read a book about the history of swimming: “Splash! 10,000 Years of Swimming,” by Howard Means.

In a chapter chronicling ever-advancing record times in competitive swimming, the following jumped out at me.

“Just as world-record times drop incrementally, with every new standard refocusing the expectations of swimmers coming behind, so individual times are mostly lowered not by sudden bursts of glory (although they may look that way to the outside world) but by focus, discipline, and attention to detail.”

The author relates the experience of sociologist David Chambliss, who in the early 1980s, attended virtually every major U.S. swimming competition – including Indoor and Outdoor National Championships, the 1984 Olympic Trials, and eventually the Games themselves – and interviewed some 120 national- and world-class swimmers and coaches.

“What he learned, basically, is that the little things count: ‘Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills or activities, each one learned or stumbled upon, which have been carefully drilled into habit and then are fitted together in a synthesized whole. There is nothing extraordinary or superhuman in any of these actions; only the fact they are done consistently and correctly, and all together, produce excellence.’”

Chambliss called it the “mundanity of excellence.”

Excellence can be achieved through the mundane tasks we do daily.

We strive for excellence every day in helping consumers resolve their debts. This difficult task requires focus, discipline, and attention to detail. It takes well-trained people who are willing to continuously improve their skills. As evidence of our commitment to employee training and development, last year we completed 718,369 hours of training. Our agents receive ongoing coaching. In fact, our Supervisors devote 80 percent of each day to coaching their team members. By learning and practicing important skills such as active listening, asking probing questions, and expressing empathy, we achieve positive outcomes, both for our clients and for the consumers with whom we interact on a daily basis.   

I believe our team embeds these qualities in their lives and in the communities in which we live. Every single step counts.

Contributed by: John Yanny

HUMANITY in Debt Collections a MUST

I pictured a ragtag tough squad of big men with baseball bats and chewing tobacco when I started my first job as a debt collector. At social gatherings, when asked what I did for a living, I made the sea of bodies part and disappear when I stated, “I’m a bill collector.” As if I could see through any human being with my super-woman x-ray vision and know their credit score. But perception doesn’t always equal reality—it certainly didn’t in my case. I discovered the debt collection industry has many positive aspects, including a few famous alumni. Demi Moore collected debt for a living, and so did Tyler Perry (I know that about him because I worked with him in Atlanta many years ago).

As an agent of resolution, young naive me didn’t understand that people don’t always pay their bills. I learned that some folks avoid, while others forgot or cannot pay at that moment, and there are people who may never pay. Years have passed since my first collection call, regulatory agencies have tightened policies, organizations have changed the way they do business—yet approaching consumers has always remained the same for me. My neighbor, family member, fellow consumer, fellow human being is on the other end of that phone—I will be kind and I will work together with him/her to resolve their situation.

It’s nice to have spent the last eight years of my life working in an organization that shares my values. Thank you, AllianceOne team for your humanity, especially during times of Corona Virus.

Contributed by: Roni Teson

Consumer Centric

With COVID-19 taking over the world the last few months, companies have brought out buzz words such as “compassion,” “understanding,” “respect,” “humanity,” etc.  We’re all consumers, and most of us have experienced treatment from organizations that left us feeling pretty low about ourselves. In my 30 years of being in the business, I can tell you that each and every year, consumers are faced with challenges due to unforeseen circumstances and organizations need to be there for their consumers in good times and bad.

At AllianceOne, we do not just say those words during tragic events; we live by those words every day. We believe “Every Interaction Matters” and your reputation depends on a company that drives positive human interaction through its training as well as its documented policies and procedures.

Our core values drive the way we do business, NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!

We combine human touch and high technology to deliver simpler, faster, and safer consumer interactions.

As consumers, we want options and we want the ease of doing business without giving up the right to being treated like a human being. That is why I enjoy working for AllianceOne; we are always exploring ways to support the consumer but always being there with human interaction when people need it.   

Contributed by: Tim Bolden