Vice President – Operations, Midland Equipment Finance
Member, Equipment Leasing and Finance Association
Julie Pray started in the equipment finance industry as an intern the summer before her senior year of college. Over the course of 15 years, she spent time in documentation, sales support and management roles within four organizations. In January 2018, she helped form Midland Equipment Finance, a division of Midland States Bank, as vice president of Operations. Pray’s expansive responsibilities include setting policies and procedures, developing and implementing management’s strategy, managing the transaction coordinators, assisting the funding team, monitoring customer experiences and driving the overall company vision.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE:
“Women will participate in setting the vision for their companies, driving change in the industry and participating in the technological development of new products. We will focus on the customer experience while also spending time training and developing new leaders in the industry.”
Pray’s work has received numerous recognitions, including a President’s Pride and Passion Award, a President’s Club Award and an acknowledgement as a YWCA Leader in the Workplace. However, while she appreciates the accolades, she is most proud of the growth she has seen in her team members. Hiring interns and watching them learn the business and move to permanent roles; helping a transaction coordinator advance to a sales representative; and developing direct reports which allows them to become supervisors or managers have been some of the most rewarding aspects of her career.
Says Dan Thompson, Midland’s senior vice president of Credit & Risk Management, “I have worked with Julie for 11 years and she epitomizes the definition of team work. She is a tireless manager who leads by example, always putting co-workers and customers first. Julie is very focused on customer service and has offered key suggestions to improve the customer experience, such as the creation of a new process which relieved the bottleneck related to entering applications. By implementing this change, Midland Equipment Finance experienced a significant improvement to our application workflow turnaround times. Julie is a critical member of the Midland team, who has played a vital role in the creation, growth and success of the organization.”
Pray struggled with finding a healthy work/life balance after starting her family, but talking about it with peers led her to realize that she was not alone. As a manager, she has prioritized ensuring team members never feel the same way and emphasizes the importance of taking time for self-care and family. She has boosted Midland’s efforts to offer alternative work options such as more flexible work schedules and telecommuting opportunities.