About Michelle

My name is Michelle Dunn and I am a success story. I grew up in Rhode Island, not in the best of circumstances. I was the oldest child in my family and the only girl. Both of my parents worked and I wore a house key around my neck on a dirty shoelace. Since I was the oldest, I would get home from school first, and be there when my younger brothers arrived. We would do chores while we waited for my father to get home from his job. When my father would arrive home he would cook us dinner, and we would either go fishing, go visit his friends or go sit in the truck at the bar while he was inside.

I grew up without any confidence and was constantly being beaten down and made to feel I was unworthy. I was called stupid, I could never do anything right and any achievements I made went by unacknowledged. How I envied the kids whose parents hung up the notice from the paper that they were on the honor roll on the fridge for everyone to see.

Ever since I was very young, my goal in life was to gain my parents, my teachers, my peers or anyone's acceptance, attention or love. I wanted to be like the women I read about and saw on TV, I wanted to be beautiful, smart and talented but everywhere I turned I was told I was the exact opposite and that would never happen.

I did very well in school and was on the honor roll often, I was an energetic child and was constantly in trouble for talking, fooling around and fighting. I also had a period in 6th grade where I would pretend I was sick every day so I could go to the nurse. I wanted to go home, because I knew my mother was there and I wanted to be with her. This just caused my mother and the school to be upset with me.

As a young girl we had different family members who would sometimes live with us, one of them sexually abused me for a very long time. I never told my mother until I was an adult but I did tell my father, my aunt and the principal at my school. At that time, the response was, just don't tell anyone, especially your mother, another response was you're lying, you need to learn to behave and be more respectful and go home. So the abuse went on and I started running away frequently.

I got pregnant at 17, the same year my parents moved away and left me on my own. I quit high school and worked 2 jobs as well as receiving state assistance in order to afford an apartment. I wanted to keep my baby but had lost my apartment and was told by my mother that I had created this situation so I had to deal with it on my own, so I could not come and live with my parents. Being homeless, I had to give my baby up for adoption.

I was homeless for a while, sleeping in the back seats of abandoned cars, under bridges, in the woods or anywhere I could find. I worked at Wendy's before, during and after my pregnancy and met someone there whose parents let me stay in their basement. I went back to high school to finish my senior year and graduated, my parents did not attend. I then enrolled in a community college and went there for 2 years while working a full time job and a part time job.

I got married and eventually moved to NH where I continued to educate myself with correspondence college courses. Living the life I led, I have a very strong work ethic and am a very driven person. I am very proud of myself and feel as though I have accomplished much in my life. My biggest accomplishment was having faith and never giving up on my self when I had no support, setting goals and meeting them, turning my life around and becoming a smart, beautiful, successful business woman, mother, and friend.

I started my own collection agency when I was getting divorced so that I could be home with my children and be there for them. My children did not have to live through the childhood I had, they have no idea such a childhood exists and I hope they never have to.

I started my Credit & Collections Association when I started my collection agency because I was looking for information on starting an agency and not having much luck. As I found more and more information based on my research, my thought was to create a place where credit & collections professionals could go to learn more about the industry without having to go through all the research and searching I had to. It was my thought that if I had already done all this work, I could save someone else the time and effort and they could become successful more quickly if I shared my knowledge with them.

And so, my American Credit & Collections Association was born. I am proud to say this association comes from my hard work, blood sweat and tears and has been in business since 1998. My members make my association possible, they support, they help, they contribute and they care. Without my members, there would be no association. I thank all of you; I finally have the support, encouragement and confidence to be an industry leader and continue to help people be independent, educated, successful and happy.