The 10 Most Admired Women Leaders in Business, 2024

Angela Armstrong: Driving Business Success with Strategic Leadership

The 10 Most Admired Women Leaders in Business, 2024

Angela Armstrong is a commercially adept and strategically agile business leader with a track record of ensuring consistent business growth and success. With over 20 years of leadership experience in healthcare technology, receivables management, and business process outsourcing (BPO) operations, Angela brings a wealth of expertise to her role as Chief Operating Officer at State Collection Service, Inc. 

Angela’s career trajectory reflects her commitment to distilling complex business challenges into tangible revenue and increasing process efficiency. Her expertise lies in delivering business development vision, leadership, and management for high-growth firms. Angela has a solid history of devising innovative strategies aimed at increasing productivity, profitability, and operational efficiency, earning her recognition as an industry expert. 

Prior to joining State Collection Service, Inc., Angela held key leadership roles, including VP of Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) Operations and VP of RCM Client Success at a healthcare IT SaaS company. She has also served in executive peer advisory groups and held VP leadership roles in the healthcare BPO space, both in consultancy and service delivery capacities. 

Angela’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Organizational Leadership from Arizona State University and an MBA in Finance from Louisiana State University. She has augmented her qualifications with a range of certifications, including Emotional Intelligence Practitioner (CEIP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified Revenue Cycle Executive (CRCE-I), Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB), Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA), and Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS). 

In her role as COO at State Collection Service, Inc., Angela leads all revenue-generating business units and production operations. Her focus is on maintaining competitive customer products through high-performance initiatives, leveraging technology to increase daily productivity, and delivering best-in-class outcomes for customers. Angela’s strategic leadership and commitment to excellence continue to drive success and innovation in the healthcare technology and receivables management sectors. 

Measuring Progress with KPIs 

Maintaining a growth mindset is essential for fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within Angela’s organization. This mindset encourages viewing failures as learning opportunities and fosters an environment where employees are encouraged to explore new ideas with a “why not give it a try” attitude. 

In Angela’s organization, open and transparent communication is prioritized, and feedback is actively solicited from all levels of the team. Employees feel empowered to share their thoughts and ideas, knowing that they have a platform to be heard. 

Also, the organization utilizes a variety of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure progress towards goals and objectives. Angela publishes a balanced scorecard monthly, providing visibility into progress towards quarterly targets and promoting transparency and cross-functional collaboration to drive innovation. 

Furthermore, employees are empowered to make decisions independently, enabling them to drive and implement change. This approach fosters personal accountability within the organization and drives continuous improvement as employees iterate and adapt based on outcomes. 

Comprehensive Solutions for Hospitals 

State Collection Service, Inc. is a prominent player in the healthcare receivables management sector, servicing more than 450 hospitals and academic medical centers across the United States, with an impressive $5.7 billion in annual placements. Founded as a family-owned business, State has flourished over its 75-year history under three generations of family leadership, establishing itself as a trusted partner known for its commitment to quality client relationships and ethical business practices. 

The company’s comprehensive suite of solutions includes Pre-Financial Clearance, Insurance Follow-up, Early Out Self-Pay Resolution, and Bad Debt Collection. These offerings are strategically crafted to equip hospitals with technology-driven tools aimed at enhancing accounts receivable management. State’s solutions focus on reducing and preventing fraudulent financial activities, safeguarding patient health information, optimizing collections and cash flow, and prioritizing accounts with the potential for payment. 

A key strength of State Collection Service lies in its ability to deliver both outstanding performance and exceptional patient satisfaction. This achievement is made possible by combining cutting-edge technology with a compassionate and knowledgeable staff. The company’s leadership team reflects a commitment to diversity and inclusivity, with women comprising 50% of the C-level executive team, including the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Human Resource Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. Moreover, female representation extends throughout the senior leadership team, with women holding 72% of overall leadership roles. This commitment to diversity extends to State’s workforce, where 80% of the 700 employees are women, supported by a culture that values inclusion and empowerment. 

Torch Awards for Values-Driven Performance 

In Angela’s perspective, the heart of the strategy lies in cultivating a strong organizational culture. By championing core values of Fun, Innovation, Integrity, Respect, Enthusiasm, and Excellence, Angela’s company has fostered an environment where these principles serve as the foundation of every decision and action. The introduction of the F.I.R.E. acronym and its integration into various initiatives, including team naming and new hire programs, has instilled a sense of unity and purpose within the company.  

Angela emphasizes incorporating core values into hiring practices to underscore the critical role of human resources in organizational success, thereby redefining talent management. Renaming the new hire training program to SPARKS and the extended training program to FIRE Academy highlights the importance of values in business operations. By leveraging core values to recognize and reward individuals through the Torch Awards, Angela not only boosts morale but also enhances engagement and decreases attrition rates. This strategy ensures consistency in customer engagement, reinforcing the level of service provided and aligning the customer experience with the company’s mission, vision, and values. As a result, Angela has cultivated a harmonious workplace that significantly contributes to the company’s profitability and success.  

Framework for Operational Excellence 

Adaptation and change are vital for business growth, and Angela’s career has highlighted several key factors that contribute to success: 

  • Understanding customer needs and how the business fulfills them. 
  • Developing and communicating a clear value proposition to differentiate from competitors. 
  • Implementing a robust customer engagement strategy to foster loyalty and satisfaction. 
  • Attracting and retaining talented individuals who contribute to the company’s success. 
  • Investing in state-of-the-art technology to enhance operations and efficiency. 
  • Utilizing appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure operational excellence. 
  • Leveraging data to inform decision-making processes. 
  • Empowering teams to embrace learning, growth, and adaptability to navigate changes effectively. 

By prioritizing these factors, Angela has been able to drive growth and success throughout her career, ensuring that her businesses remain competitive and responsive to market demands. 

Driving Better Outcomes 

Angela emphasizes the importance of outlining the customer journey as the first step in enhancing customer satisfaction. Understanding all touchpoints within the organization provides insight into areas where improvements can be made. Second, Angela advocates for the development of a robust customer engagement program to build long-lasting relationships. By leveraging such programs, Angela has historically gauged the business value proposition and used customer feedback to develop new solutions tailored to their needs. Integrating the Voice of the Customer into operational practices ensures alignment with customer perceptions and preferences. This approach fosters a customer-centric decision-making environment, leading to better outcomes and long-term relationships. 

Shift towards Mentorship and Guidance 

Angela acknowledges the evolving needs of teams and individuals, recognizing the importance of adapting her leadership style accordingly. Today, she describes her approach as inclusive, transparent, and empowering, having transitioned from a directive role to that of a coach. Drawing from insights such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Angela employs strategies to enhance interpersonal relationships within her workforce. She emphasizes the value of getting to know each team member on a personal level, granting them autonomy in decision-making, and fostering a supportive environment where successes and failures are embraced. Angela celebrates victories alongside her team and injects a sense of fun into their collective journey. By leading with empathy and authenticity, Angela strives to cultivate a work environment where every individual feels valued and empowered.  

Standardizing Operational Processes 

Angela emphasizes the significance of lean principles as the cornerstone of operational excellence, quality control, and scalable infrastructure within her organization. With a background in six sigma, she views lean methodologies as fundamental to controlling service flow and meeting customer expectations effectively. Angela’s approach involves standardizing operational processes, relying on data-driven decisions, and continuously benchmarking organizational capacity. She firmly believes that optimizing operational efficiency leads to enhanced customer service, greater satisfaction, and ultimately, improved profitability. 

Defining Efficiency and Quality 

Angela highlights the importance of defining efficiency and quality within the business context and establishing measurable metrics to track them effectively. She underscores the role of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in monitoring progress and identifying areas for enhancement. Angela also advocates for conducting a SWOT Analysis annually to assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In a collaborative culture, she leverages her team’s expertise to refine processes and services, striving for standardization and automation where feasible. Continuously monitoring progress towards benchmarks and refining the operational business plan are key practices. Angela believes that aligning incentives with desired outcomes reinforces a culture of collaboration, core values, and operational excellence, which is vital for sustained success. 

Cultural Fit and Onboarding 

As Chief Operating Officer, Angela’s top priorities revolve around empowering the organization, creating scalable infrastructure, and ensuring customer-centric service delivery. Firstly, Angela places a strong emphasis on talent management and fostering a positive organizational culture. She believes in recruiting, engaging, and retaining top talent by prioritizing cultural fit during the recruitment process. Angela ensures that the organization’s culture drives onboarding and training initiatives post-recruitment, providing ongoing growth and learning opportunities for employees. By investing in talent and nurturing a supportive culture, Angela aims to enhance employee satisfaction and retention. 

Secondly, Angela focuses on creating scalable infrastructure to accommodate the organization’s growth plans. She begins by evaluating the current state of the business and identifying future needs and goals. Angela then selects appropriate technology and refines the organizational structure to support scalability. Monitoring and measuring performance metrics enable Angela to ensure that the infrastructure aligns with the organization’s growth objectives, facilitating seamless expansion and development. 

Lastly, Angela prioritizes profitable service delivery while meeting customer service expectations. She emphasizes the importance of clarity, consistency, and coordination in profit generation, cost control, and value creation. Angela works to eliminate silos within the organization, promoting cross-functional collaboration to enhance customer value. By aligning activities with customer needs and expectations, Angela aims to optimize the customer experience and drive overall business success. 

Leveraging AI 

Angela recognizes the importance of positioning her organization to adapt and thrive in an evolving landscape characterized by technological innovation and shifting consumer demands. She anticipates fundamental shifts in the healthcare industry over the next seven years, driven by increased consumer demand for e-commerce-based experiences and digital-first interactions. Angela emphasizes the need for her company to be an early adopter of technology to remain competitive and meet evolving customer expectations. 

To leverage technological advancements effectively, Angela highlights the use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Large Language Models (LLMs) in combination with productivity-enhancing Generative AI products. This strategic approach enables her team to operate at a higher level, solving complex business problems and offering tailored solutions to clients. By embracing innovative technologies, Angela’s organization can enhance service excellence, improve data connectivity, ensure secure payment platforms, and increase consumer engagement. 

Angela aims to drive greater brand value and support her customers effectively within the transforming healthcare ecosystem. By staying ahead of technological trends and leveraging advanced tools and solutions, her organization can adapt to industry changes, deliver superior service, and remain competitive in the evolving marketplace. 

Perspective on Mistakes and Growth 

Angela’s approach to leadership and decision-making is deeply rooted in her personal values and principles. Integrity serves as a cornerstone, guiding her to prioritize what she knows is right for her employees, the business, and the customers. She upholds a high standard of excellence and quality, striving for nothing less in her endeavors and judgments. 

Empowerment and development are central to Angela’s leadership philosophy, as she is committed to nurturing and guiding future leaders within her organization. Clear communication, emphasizing the “why” behind actions and decisions, fosters understanding and alignment among team members. Angela also embraces humility, recognizing that mistakes are inevitable and viewing them as opportunities for growth. 

Drawing from her own experiences, both successes and failures, Angela coaches others to achieve better outcomes and build stronger relationships. By sharing her personal journey, she inspires and empowers her team to navigate challenges and strive for excellence in their own endeavors.