Name: Angela Strong-McCool
What’s your current role/title?
Jokingly, my current job title is “Problem Resolutions Officer” (haha) … but my more professional title is Vice President of Mike Strong Inc. dba Mike’s Rent-To-Own.
Years in RTO: This is a family business, so I’ve worked in rent-to-own almost my whole life.
How did you find your current position?
My father opened the company when I was one year old, so I’ve literally grown up in this industry. I went to our store every day after school. Later, it was important to my father that both my brother and I learn every single job in the company, so I’ve done collections, sales, service, store manager, installations, even filing and cleaning. Fast-forward to today … we don’t have a very large home office staff, so I have my hands in all aspects of our family business.
What did you do before you began working in RTO?
I worked at Mike’s all through high school. Then I left for college and went into nursing for five years before deciding to return to Kansas and join the family business.
How did you prepare for your RTO role?
I learned from the best – my father. Watching him interact with staff, vendors, and customers on a daily basis was fantastic preparation.
What do you do in a typical day or week?
My main focus now is human resources, marketing, and training. My daughter also plays competitive soccer, so my weeknights and most weekends are filled watching her on the pitch.
What are the benefits of working in RTO?
I honestly can’t think of anything that is NOT a benefit! I love helping people – including our staff, helping them be the best version of themselves. I love finding products for our customers. I love how tightknit our industry is, and how most rental dealers are willing to listen and give advice. Above all, I LOVE working with my dad and my brother. I continue to learn every single day from my father, and anyone who knows him knows he loves to tell jokes, so that makes each day even more fun!
What do you love best about your job or employer?
Because I’ve grown up in this industry, I have people around me daily who have watched me grow up. It’s family – our staff are family, and our customers are family. Rent-to-own is home for me.
How do you manage work-life balance?
Every day, I make a notecard. On one side, I have a list of what’s important to me: the love of my life, my kiddos, and the year 1981. The “1981” is the year Dad launched the company. Those three things are my key focus every single day. On the other side of the notecard is a list of 6-8 tasks I need/want to accomplish that day. That works for me. That being said, being in a family business means we discuss business at all times and there is never a day off. But I love this industry and don’t really consider it work. It’s my life, and I love everything about it.
What do you predict will change in the rent-to-own industry over the next five years?
I think some of the virtual RTO operators are going to see they need to operate more like brick-and-mortar businesses, and the ones that don’t figure that out are going to go out of business.