CONNIE CONNELLY O’BRIEN
Senior vice president of marketing and digital operations, PRA Group Inc., Virginia Beach
Early in her career, a client at the ad agency where Connie Connelly O’Brien worked threatened to take their business to another firm. Determined to fix the situation, she spoke with the client and learned that they did not feel heard, and quickly offered a solution.
“By really listening to the problem they were trying to solve, I was able to stop the agency review,” she says. “And from that moment on, I knew that my listening skills were going to serve me well.”
After that experience, O’Brien knew she was destined to solve business problems.
In 2019, PRA Group, a $1.1 billion company that acquires nonperforming loans, hired her to develop digital solutions for debt collection with an empathetic approach. O’Brien revamped PRA’s website to allow customers to communicate with the company online and created educational tools to help people get out of debt.
O’Brien, who has also worked in marketing for AXA Equitable, Vonage and Tungsten Network, oversees 52 team members and manages customer marketing and digital operations across 12 countries.
She leads an employee resource group for women in business and is passionate about mentorship and educating her coworkers on ways men can be allies in ensuring that women are considered for job openings. She also mentors young adults who are exploring career options.
“I get a lot of energy from helping women in college and starting their career,” she says. “It jazzes me.”