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Faces of Nelnet: Barb Stromberg, Operations Risk Manager

January 28, 2011

Barb Stromberg, Operations Risk Manager

Dawn Knight: What are you most proud of with your department?

Barb Stromberg: I am most proud of the associates that make up the Operations Risk Management team.  They are truly engaged and passionate about protecting our customers and Nelnet and are the epitome of dependable.  As with so many others within Nelnet and the industry they have demonstrated flexibility, creativity, and patience while learning a new loan program and dealing with a significant amount of change.  They do whatever it takes to get the job done and I’m very proud to be a part of this amazing team.  

Dawn: Please describe a typical day for you.

Barb: A typical day involves a lot of communication, by phone, e mail or face to face, that is focused on our Nelnet owned and serviced portfolios.  My team spends a considerable amount of time completing operational reviews of critical processes as well as assessing risk on individual borrower accounts so in turn I spend a lot of my time working with my team and our business partners to minimize risk, improve controls and resolve known issues.  I will spend time during a typical day to review the loan servicing daily business indicators that show how we are doing related to processing and turnaround times as well as monitoring functions that we consider to be critical from a risk perspective.  A typical day would also include planning for the next big change and having been around for 20 or so years I know that it’s just a matter of time (minutes, hours) before the next big change hits!         

 Dawn: What has been your biggest challenge work-wise over the past 12 months?

Barb: There have been several challenges; understanding our FSA contract, the detailed requirements and controls necessary to satisfy those requirements all while keeping on top of organizational changes and industry changes.  As a team, we’ve been challenged to minimize our impact on the operational areas because of their limited resources yet still being able to complete the reviews necessary that ensure the quality of our service.       

Dawn: If a school asks you what you do for Nelnet that impacts them, what would you say?

Barb: Because my team ensures that our operational areas have strong controls in place to prevent errors, detect errors and proactively address issues, we are in essence ensuring that our processes are performing for our customers.   Our customers and the schools customers are one in the same; students and their parents, and it’s our goal to help every associate within Nelnet to protect our customers.         

Dawn: Who is your favorite comedian?

Barb: I don’t think I can pick a favorite.  I love anyone that makes me laugh and I think one of the coolest things is to see two people, eyes connected, sharing a laugh together.

Dawn: What is one piece of clothing you just can’t live without? 

Barb: My husband’s cashmere sweater!  (You didn’t say that it had to be mine!)  

Dawn: What was your very first job?

Barb: Detasseling corn (ugh).  It bought me an awesome 10 speed bike and a bunch of clothes when I was 13 and 14 and that’s the only positive thing I have to say about it! 

Dawn Knight, Rocky Mountain & Western Regional Director (AZ, CO, ID, NV, ND, OR, WA, WY), Nelnet Partner Solutions

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