Getting Involved: Kathleen Parker is Already Leaving Her Mark
Before even reaching the second decade of her career, Kathleen Parker has helped fuel the growth of two successful divisions within asset management services company HyperAMS. What will she achieve next?
Kathleen Parker has had an ascendant rise within the asset-based lending industry, specifically on the auction and appraisal side of the sector. After joining asset management services company HyperAMS in 2012 as one of its very first employees, Parker has helped grow the business while building her own career in the process.
Originally hired to perform general marketing for HyperAMS, Parker eventually got the opportunity to set up and run the auction function of the firm. Despite the immense challenge, Parker wasted no time immersing herself in the auction world, attending and graduating from the Reppert Auction School and earning her auction license in the state of Illinois.
While she was running the auction services arm of HyperAMS, Parker spent her time learning about how certain equipment worked and how certain products were manufactured, all while visiting factories and marketing to turnaround consultants, attorneys and workout lenders. As her knowledge base grew, so did HyperAMS, with Parker overseeing the firm’s transition from partnering on auctions to becoming a standalone provider. Parker further improved HyperAMS’ auction offerings when she introduced a cloud-based program called Wavebid to streamline processes and promote efficiency.
Networking and Mentorship
Parker found success early in her career by getting involved with industry associations and investing time in networking. She became a member of the Secured Finance Network (then Commercial Finance Association) as well as the Turnaround Management Association, two organizations she is still active with today, serving on various committees as well as in the role of Chicago/Midwest chapter president for the TMA.
“Try to get involved because if you get involved with an organization, you’ll meet people, grow your network and learn a lot from those people,” Parker says. “I started getting involved when I was 23 or 24 years old and living in Chicago. It was a great way for me to meet people.”
Parker is also a staunch advocate for mentorship, attributing much of her own success to the leaders she has worked with over the years, particularly Tom Pabst, president and founder of HyperAMS.
“I definitely have to credit most of my career and everything I’ve done to this point to him pushing and encouraging me,” Parker says. “Find a mentor or find someone within your organization or outside of your organization that you can ask questions and is willing to teach you and help you.”
In addition to the support of mentors, through her involvement with industry associations, Parker has also been able to cultivate a vast network of referral sources, whether they be lenders, attorneys or turnaround consultants.
“This industry is really cool because people can refer business to you,” Parker says, noting that collaborating within industry organizations provides a better perspective on competitors and partners alike. “You get to see how people work on committees and get exposure to people you wouldn’t necessarily work with in another world.”
From her experience with different organizations, Parker has also grown optimistic about how she and her peers, as well as professionals even earlier in their careers, will carry the industry forward.
Since Parker first joined HyperAMS, the firm has expanded considerably, growing from a team with a handful of employees to an organization with more than 30. As the company has expanded, so too has Parker’s role, as she is now more focused on the appraisal side of the business, working alongside Jonathan Deptula, senior managing director of appraisal services, while serving as a managing director with a focus on sales in the eastern and southern U.S.
“The appraisal part of the business has really grown in the last three or four years,” Parker says. “To be a part of that and watch it grow and work alongside Jonathan has been really great.”
Parker’s responsibilities on the appraisal front involve cultivating relationships with lenders, providing them value on new deals and delivering guidance, all while selling those services and growing the team, something she is eager to continue in the future.
Regardless of her current focus with HyperAMS and what the future may hold for Parker, who welcomed her first child earlier this year, she says that the variety in the asset appraisal business is what continues to keep her motivated and passionate, at least in her professional life.
“No day is ever the same. We work with so many different companies. I find that I’m always learning something,” Parker says, noting that as much as improved technology solutions have streamlined processes, the people side of the business is as strong as ever. “You still need personal touch. You still have to sit down with the company and understand how everything works. You’re still interacting with the lenders and building actual relationships. Thats what makes the asset-based lending and appraisal industries so unique and different from anything else.