Monday, September 27, 2010
Rising to the top of the financial field
When Linda Voss, SBA ’82, needed to pare down expenses and improve business results over the past year and a half, she worked with her team to reduce operating costs by $25 million, sold $1.4 billion of undesirable and non-core assets at a profit, and acquired $2.6 billion in assets with higher returns.
As chief financial officer and chief operating officer of GMAC Commercial Finance, Voss is accustomed to large numbers, particularly those with dollar signs in front. Yet the Bay Port, Mich., valedictorian was not fond of mass quantities at the onset of her college career.
“I transferred to OU after two years at MSU because classes were very large and impersonal,” says Voss, whose transfer to OU resulted in a better learning environment. “Oakland University offered class sizes that provided an opportunity for involvement, a chance to get to know professors, and practical education that could easily be translated into the real world.”
Voss credits former Associate Dean John Tower for teaching her how to use VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program for personal computers, and professor David Doane’s statistics and econometrics classes for increasing her interest in analytics. Her OU education also influenced her to build an environment where engaging and influencing others is a matter of trust, teamwork and good people skills, particularly when decisions must continually be re-evaluated in light of changing circumstances, as is the case with the current financial service industry.
“The most interesting aspects of my career have been putting deals together, acquisitions of companies or assets, new funding facilities and divestitures of companies and assets,” says Voss, who received her MBA from the University of Michigan under the GM Fellowship Program and has held 18 different positions in five cities, including managing director for National Auto Finance Company, a division of Nuvell Credit Corporation, in Little Rock and Jacksonville.
Her move to New York City in 2006 with Tim, her husband who has an MBA from OU, means that Voss’s commute is a mere five-minute walk, yet her responsibilities have increased as demands to improve her company’s viability and profitability rest squarely on her shoulders.
When Voss does relax, she likes to travel, golf, take in a Broadway show, and visit with Jason, her adult son who lives near Ann Arbor, Mich.
Originally printed in Fall 2008 issue of OU Magazine