The processes for getting stories and sponsors for Trueline’s publications require lots of hard work and perseverance from the first cold call through multiple interviews, writing and editing a feature, and then presenting the words, pictures and ads in publications that will bring the feature acclaim and show their world their brand.
Heidi Ficher manages what’s likely the most important step—getting paid.
As the accounts receivable manager, Ficher oversees invoicing and collecting revenue from a story’s sponsor and has been doing so for three years after making a career change from working in the health care industry in Cape Cod.
“I want to nicely encourage payment as soon as an insertion order hits,” Ficher says. “’Tactfully’ is a good word to describe how I encourage people to pay.”
Ficher, who works from her home on her native Cape Cod, is happy to talk about the challenges and rewards of her work, but she’s also tactful in being tight-lipped about growing up with her younger brother, Trueline Chief Operating Officer P. J. Rose.
Ficher, who is married and has three children, ages 22, 11 and 9, is the only one of her siblings to remain on Cape Cod, although she and her family also love visiting Maine.
“You can swim in the ocean on Cape Cod—it’s not like Maine,” she jokes.
Swimming and beach trips are just a sampling of the activities she and her family enjoy. Others include boating, riding mountain bikes and camping.
While the beginning of her work is automated, as story sponsors are invoiced as soon as an insertion order for their ad is created, Ficher says much of her work requires working the phones and emails to ensure timely payment—and sometimes handing situations where sponsors are unhappy over to her little brother for resolution. And because Trueline’s editorial staff never ceases efforts to add sponsors and revenue to a story, her work doesn’t end almost until a story is published online.
Ficher, whose career in health care included working with developmentally disabled adults and children for six years and then at an orthopedic rehabilitation center for 17 years, says she was ready for the new challenge in accounts receivable, and she brings traits of patience and perseverance she developed to her role
Though she wants sponsors to “show her the money,” as the line goes, Ficher also challenges herself in her efforts.
“I make it a game,” she says. “How many emails can I get out in day, and how many will actually send me payment? I’m always trying to beat my previous month for revenue, too.”
Ficher, who will soon take over managing employee benefits from Marcela Carr, too, says she already works closely with the editorial staff, including Carr and Placement Director Julianna Roche, in her accounts receivable role. But working from home has been a challenge because she was so used to being part of an on-site workplace.
“I’m very much an introvert and working with people for 17 years also made it part of my social life.”
However, she adds Trueline provides valuable flexibility in approaching her work. Her day begins early as she checks and responds to emails before getting her younger children off to school. It continues through the mid-day before she picks them up. And if, for instance, her son has hockey practice or a game, Ficher can attend and bring her laptop to keep up with the workload. After dinner, she’ll wrap up her workday with an hour or two.
“It allows me to be a more present mother, which is wonderful,” Ficher says. “And I truly feel appreciated at Trueline—things like the Spotlights, and WEPA! and Verve Awards show how much the company cares about people who work here.”
Ficher fun facts:
Favorite Maine getaway: Kokadjo, a village near Moosehead Lake so small the grocery store is also the post office and local real estate agency. And the scenery is amazing.
Favorite movie: “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” – the 1991 story of a young woman who becomes a daredevil riding horses off high dives.
Favorite song: “Wish You Were Here,” by Pink Floyd.
Least favorite animal: Ficher admits she’s afraid of frogs.