Powerful Women of Mortgage Banking 2021

0
43

[ad_1]

Natalie Arshakian

Director of LockCentral, Mortgage Capital Trading

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I entered the field in 2012 after having worked in finance. I fell into the mortgage industry by chance, but after joining MCT, I realized how much there is to learn about the mortgage industry and specifically the nuances of the secondary mortgage market. The possibilities to learn, adapt and grow within this industry continue to motivate me to stay.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

As far as the future of the mortgage banking industry, I look forward to seeing fresh faces and fresh ideas. I’d also love to see more collaboration of secondary mortgage market leaders, investors, and technology platforms to be able to enhance the user experience and offer more efficient processes industry wide.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Having female leaders in Mortgage Banking, as well as in any industry, is essential. Women are natural leaders due to their empathy and resilience. They are strong and can adapt quickly to any situation. It’s so great to see so many powerful and influential female leaders in our industry who can continue to inspire future female leaders.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I consider my greatest success at MCT to been able to teach and mentor new analysts. It makes me happy to see so many of our analysts continuing to flourish within the Lock Desk as their experience grows, as well as in more expanded roles within the company.

 

Patty Arvielo

Co-Founder and President, New American Funding

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I fell into this field when I was 16 years old. I landed an entry-level clerical position at TransUnion Credit. I was hired at a prominent mortgage company, where I rose through the ranks from a clerical loan opener to underwriter, processor, and eventually to branch manager and assistant vice president. 

I’m motivated to stay in this field because I see the industry pivoting at a fast pace and want to be part of that change. Having personally championed career opportunities for women and minorities, it excites me to see that these voices are being represented in our company’s decision-making. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I hope to see more women founders and CEOs from more diverse backgrounds. Mortgage is about welcoming a diverse group of borrowers and our office demographics should match our customer base. I would like to see lenders continue to reach out to the underserved communities as we have done. It has made a huge difference in many lives. 

Buying a home has many benefits. It’s one of the best ways to build generational wealth and it helps establish stable communities. I hope more lenders begin to see the opportunity that exists to help shape the future of our industry. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

With women making up many of the employees of mortgage companies, there needs to be leadership throughout the industry that reflects its members. Female leadership can understand and represent these unique perspectives and dreams. A successful woman truly embodies what anyone can aspire to, because once they see success, they can be success. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

Success is really defined by the impact one life has on another. As a Hispanic woman, I know first-hand the challenges that I’ve had to overcome. I’ve been fortunate enough to have learned from great role models and have combined that with the resolve to succeed. This has allowed me some keen insights into mentoring the next generation of mortgage leaders. Through my experiences, I can help others find their own path to success. I have broken through many ceilings during my career, and I continue to evolve and grow because you can always learn something new. 

 

Debora Aydelotte

Chief Operating Officer, Promontory MortgagePath LLC

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I started in banking while still in high school. From there, I continued working at other community banks before moving to larger lenders. Banking and mortgage banking have always been good to me, offering me opportunities to learn about a variety of aspects from capital markets to enterprise risk management. 

It tied nicely into my fondness for numbers, data and logic, with the occasional market shake-up that defies all of that. Later, I gained a deeper understanding of the importance the housing industry plays in our economy and have been committed to playing my part in that important role since. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I hope we make advances in areas where technology is stymied by outdated rules and inconsistencies across states. I hope our progress toward more diversity in industry leadership continues at a much quicker pace. At Promontory MortgagePath we strive to recruit diverse candidates and create an inclusive environment for everyone to succeed, grow and learn. We have blended a top technology team with a smart mortgage team, creating a melting pot of ideas. I work with one of the best teams in the industry and am so appreciative of their expertise, passion and humor through this past year!

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

I’ve heard firsthand from women how important it is to see other women leaders within the industry, especially in areas where you may not expect to see them, such as technology, finance and the c-suite. One of my goals at Promontory MortgagePath has been to ensure diverse representation amongst our executive team and we’ve been able to make that a reality. 

If you are a female leader in this industry, you are making a difference in setting an example, holding the door open for the next woman and the next generation, until this question is no longer asked.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I’ve had the opportunity to be part of many great teams and company accomplishments over my career. I’ve also been able to make the most of many opportunities and been part of a changing, exciting and sometimes crazy industry. In general, it’s having managed and led groups through multiple industry crises. Teams and leaders shine during times of crisis, grow together and learn more about each other than could otherwise occur. The difficult part is understanding the challenge of re-entry because anyone can get thrown into a crisis – it’s sticking the landing that matters.

 

Lori Brewer

Founder & CEO, LBA Ware

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I fell in love with writing software as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. After my service, I was hired by a lender to create an in-house intranet to automate as much of the business as possible. In 2008, I became an accidental entrepreneur founding LBA Ware at the height of the financial crisis to deliver business process optimization to banks and IMBs. 

What gets me out of bed every morning is the opportunity to innovate and solve problems. It’s also what has kept me in the industry; when one problem is solved, another is right behind it. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

Technology in mortgage banking is lagging behind other industries. I am looking forward to a day when new homeowners do not dread a confusing and time-consuming mortgage process. We still have work to do to improve the borrower and lender (back office) experiences. The disparate data, incongruent systems and manual business systems do not allow us to leverage technology to grow and expand. 

Our industry should be able to take on heavy volume peaks without throwing so many bodies at the manufacturing line. LBA Ware is working hard to improve that situation by providing data transparency and process automation solutions.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

I would expand this question to ask, “What is the importance of having more well-rounded representation of all people?” It’s critical that our industry represent those we serve. We’ve made great strides to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion of all races, ethnicities and genders. 

We still have work to do, though. If you look at the leadership team or board of almost any bank or IMB, you will understand why the industry has a reputation for being stale, pale and male. I think the awareness is there, and over time we will see more diversity in the top ranks.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I created LBA Ware in my living room with an idea and a laptop. I bootstrapped the company by over-delivering on software solution projects and solving problems. The money from the services and customization projects was immediately poured into CompenSafe and LimeGear, both software-as-a-service platforms. 

LBA Ware is now a 50-person company that is made up of the most amazing people in and around the mortgage technology market. We have created new technology jobs and formulated an amazing team. I am so proud of LBA Ware and put it in the “success bucket” of my life. 

 

Meghan Czechowski

Managing Director – Head of Valuation, Apprise by Walker & Dunlop

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I grew up in Iowa and never thought about real estate in general let alone commercial real estate. After college I moved to Chicago and someone told me about an opening with a global CRE firm. I thought it would be really cool to work in an office tower downtown so I submitted my meager resume that included captain of various sports team and academic sorority leadership roles but zero intern experience, and got the job based upon the interview. 

What motives me to stay are the client service opportunities that come with working in an advisory role and the chance to lead industry innovations.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

The adoption of standard data reporting to facilitate integration between vendors and clients. I hope to see more companies and clients embracing digital innovation so we can harness the power of artificial intelligence and tech to facilitate a better quality of life for our industry professionals.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Women are involved at all levels of CRE, so they should have representation within mortgage banking as well. Women offer a diversified skillset and different perspectives that can benefit the entire industry.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I worked for the same company for nearly 16 years, right out of college. I balanced a growing valuation business at a global CRE firm along with a growing family, having two kids and negotiating a stay-at-home contract with my husband (joking) but without his willingness to choose staying home with the kids I never would have grown my team and revenue in the Midwest. 

Ultimately this success led me to realize digital innovation was required to help others attain the quality of life they deserve by letting tech take over the areas that keep us up afterhours. 

 

Dawn Elmore

Senior Vice President, Enterprise PMO and Learning & Development, Sourcepoint

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I began my career in mortgage in 2003 leading customer service operations. I’ve overseen several areas including, default, bankruptcy, closing, vendor oversight, project management, and learning and development. 

I remain in the industry because there’s purpose in what I do! I’m proud to help people achieve their homeownership dream and strengthen communities we serve. It’s an exciting, endless learning experience. I have grown as a leader, colleague, and person. This is due in part to many wonderful mentors and talented employees along the way. The camaraderie and challenges of the industry will keep me here for years to come.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I hope to see continued technology advancement to better support customers’ origination and servicing experience. Mortgages are complex transactions with many intricacies to servicing them. I expect the modernization of mortgage technology to be developed and provided by third parties, not developed as proprietary platforms. The outcome should be improvements in customer experience, compliance performance, and lowered risk profiles for mortgage companies. 

As mortgage companies become comfortable with this future state, I anticipate a correlated increase in the utilization of expert third-party providers of various components of originations and servicing. It will be interesting to watch it unfold.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Female leaders in mortgage banking are so important to the industry. The skills that come naturally to women such as community building, attention to detail, long-term strategy creation, and a determination to win all help drive success. It’s necessary to have diversity in the decision-making process. 

Studies also show that women are more likely than men to mentor others. Mentorship of emerging women leaders is pivotal in continuing to bring the next generation into the industry.

What do you consider your greatest success?

My greatest success is mentoring people to become better than they were yesterday. Taking time to genuinely get to know people, offering guidance on their path to becoming respected leaders – someone people want to follow, not have to follow – is a good feeling. It’s always a proud moment when individuals come back years later and say, “Thanks for helping me become an impactful, influential leader.” 

I am the founder of New Dawn Outreach, a nonprofit in Jacksonville, Florida that provides a “hand up” to those in the homeless community. We have witnessed amazing journeys in our three years. 

 

Cathleen Schreiner Gates

CEO, SimpleNexus

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

My background is in enterprise software and SaaS sales and consulting. Six years ago, an Ellie Mae (now ICE Mortgage Technology) recruiter approached me about bringing a fresh perspective to their scaling of the organization. Within 10 minutes of talking to Jonathan Corr, Ellie Mae’s then-CEO, I realized that my previous work disrupting marketplace segments with software was exactly what the mortgage industry needed. Once I saw the potential to make a huge impact through automation and process efficiencies, I was hooked. Mortgage technology has enormous potential and can be leveraged to improve the industry. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

For me, the most exciting thing about mortgage technology is that it’s in the early stages of realizing its potential. By more fully leveraging technologies already in use by other industries, such as AI and optical character recognition (OCR), we can empower borrowers with a more fluid, expeditious experience and help lenders achieve better margins. At SimpleNexus, every day we ask ourselves how we can enable the housing industry to operate from smartphones. Mortgage technology has an exciting future ahead. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

I consider myself fortunate that early on in my career my first boss and mentor was a female. She was a generation ahead of me and had experience bumping against the glass ceiling. Back in the ‘80s she challenged the conventional thinking around women’s leadership and encouraged professional ambition. She was a huge influence and, to this day, the only female boss I’ve had. Mentorship is a huge focus of mine and one of the most rewarding things I do. I support creating diverse and inclusive environments that help women move their careers forward. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

I have been fortunate to observe many of the people and organizations I’ve developed and coached succeed, and I like to think I helped empower them to make a difference in the world. Also, growing a company to provide more jobs to people supporting their families and creating a place to work that people enjoy and want to see succeed is incredibly rewarding — addictive even. SimpleNexus has all the components of this, and it’s a big reason why I’m here now.

 

Sarah Gonzalez

Chief Operating Officer, FGMC

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

When I was younger I thought I would become a teacher, but when I was given the opportunity to enter this industry my career path changed. I fell in love with mortgage banking and how there is always something exciting to be done. 

There are new challenges to conquer and opportunities to invest in our future leaders every day. Even though I’m not a teacher now, I love teaching others in the industry what I have learned and watching them grow. I am motivated by lifting others up and striving to make an impact on the future of the industry.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

Inside the mortgage banking industry, we have an opportunity to help tell the stories of today’s borrowers and mortgage professionals. I hope to see a greater investment in people within the industry and more leaders taking the time to empower others to reach their full potential. I believe this requires an increased commitment to mentorship and diversity and inclusion. When we expand our thinking, we expand our reach to more young professionals and homebuyers than ever.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Different life experiences yield different perspectives, and women bring a specific skill-set with them to work. Having varied perspectives in leadership, including those of women and minorities, is essential to cultivating unique ideas and delivering quality products. Women in leadership today show the next generation of leaders that whom they are doesn’t limit what they can achieve. I am thankful to have many mentors, both men and women, who taught me to have faith in myself and see what’s possible beyond today. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

My three beautiful children are my greatest success. Being a mother is the greatest joy of my life and I am so grateful for the family and friends that have helped support me as I built a career. My family is the “why” behind everything I do!

 

Archna Gupta

SVP & Deputy Chief Underwriter, Walker & Dunlop

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

My first job out of college over 30 years ago was as an analyst for a real estate firm, and I worked in the acquisitions and disposition side. I learned quite a bit about the various asset types and appreciated the differences in modeling financial analysis for office vs. multifamily vs. retail. 

Once I moved to the mortgage banking side, I found that I really enjoyed learning from people who were top in their fields. I love what I do, each transaction has its own unique nuance, which keeps it interesting, and through the years I have never looked back.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

The mortgage banking industry will continue to grow and evolve over the years, largely in the tech space. I’ve seen a lot of change since I first joined, but one consistent drawback still is the lack of diversity in the field. When you attend any industry conference, you’ll see that the vast majority of participants are white males. In the future, it would be wonderful to attend a conference, and not notice a thing, because all the attendants are a mixture of society and it represents the norm, and not an exclusive club.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

There has been a severe lack of female leaders in the Mortgage Banking industry over the years. Women leaders bring a different perspective, skill set and have high emotional intelligence. They value work-life balance more, tend to be more empathetic, more flexible, and are nurturing. All this has been shown to significantly bolster a firm’s bottom line. 

Having women leaders also serves as a magnet to draw other females and minorities into the firm, which again positively impacts a company’s performance. A diverse workforce and leadership is essential to bring about the benefits of DE&I in any organization.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I have worked at Walker & Dunlop for almost three decades and my greatest success stories are winning the firm’s Athena Award (for advocating and mentoring other women) and overseeing the underwriting of the $2.4 billion financing of the Southern Management Corporation portfolio, the largest portfolio in WD/Fannie Mae history. This portfolio, consisting of 67 properties, was underwritten at the outset of the pandemic when all offices were closing down, air travel was eliminated, and there were daily issues to overcome. It was a very successful project completed in the midst of huge uncertainty.

 

Nicole Hanrahan

Vice President of Production Support, Cherry Creek Mortgage

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I happened upon the mortgage world when I was working for a builder in the Milwaukee area. I was recruited to work for a bank in the new construction lending area. I fell in love with the business as it combined my two favorite things: people and math! 

Why I stay in the business is easy, it is never boring! I feel like I learn something new every day as the industry is constantly changing and every single day is an adventure. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I would love to see move consistency in the regulations between retail bankers that do mortgages, brokers and licensed loan originators. I believe it would be in the consumer’s best interest to have everyone involved in the process play by the same rules. I also would love to see a more streamlined process for all parties, with less back and forth between the parties involved in the transaction.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

I believe that everyone brings a different perspective to the industry, and including female leaders brings more different and unique ideas to the industry. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

My greatest success hands down is that I have been able to rise through the ranks to become a vice president in our industry while raising five children as a very hands-on mom. I have always been able to work out my schedule so I could get the kids off the bus, attend all of their events and still be a successful originator, manager and more. I was truly able to have it all with the support of my family and my company. 

 

Abby Hawkins

Executive Vice President, People, Academy Mortgage Corporation

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I was working in the financial sector, but wanted a change. I wanted to work for a company that truly believed their people were their greatest asset. After interviewing with several companies, I was confident that Academy Mortgage was a company that cared about their people. Working for a company that allows me to find ways to create a workplace culture that attracts, retains, and motivates individuals to reach their potential is what motivates me to stay.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

In the industry, I hope to see a more diverse workforce actively working to reduce the racial homeownership gap.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Research shows that having a more inclusive leadership results in increased innovation, improved decision making, and stronger financial performance within an organization. It’s crucial that we raise our awareness as an industry and make structural changes to leverage these benefits – because you cannot be what you cannot see.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I spent most of June in Paradise, California working alongside Academy’s people to rebuild a home for an elderly woman who lost her house in the 2018 Camp Fire. At 81 she had become a first-time homeowner, and six months later, it burnt to the ground. Despite having lost everything, she continues to wake up every day with a positive outlook. To me, success is Becky. It’s having the courage to rise after having the wind knocked out of you and to get up each morning and make your world and the world around you a little bit better. 

 

Jennifer Hedgepeth

Executive Vice President/National Operations Manager, DHI Mortgage 

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I entered into this field by chance through a work program in high school and my first job was with Banc One Mortgage. 

Making a difference is what motivates me to stay in the mortgage industry. Homeownership is truly the American dream and is such an impactful and defining part of our lives and I love being a part of fulfilling this dream. I’m also motivated to make a difference in the lives of our teammates by fostering a work environment that is diverse, inclusive, challenging and filled with opportunities for professional development and advancement. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

In the future of the mortgage banking industry, I hope to see significant advancement in the availability of affordable housing, and initiatives that allow homeownership to be attainable and sustainable. I also hope to see continued advancement in the technology, which will enhance the process for all involved, including the consumers.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

I believe it is so important to have female leaders in the Mortgage Banking industry. Women need role models and women in leadership positions offer uniquely important mentorship opportunities when they are in a position of influence. Women reflect and see that it is possible to achieve more when they see another woman in a leadership position. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

I consider my greatest professional success is in leading and developing others to reach their full potential: to challenge themselves to grow, and to be the best that they possibly can be. Never to settle, to ask questions often and to reach outside of their comfort zones and volunteer to lead something they have never done before. Lead with integrity, honesty, accountability, a genuine passion for others and with a servants heart. 

 

Jennifer Henry

Vice President of Strategy and Revenue Enablement, Mortgage & Housing, Equifax Inc.

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I got into the mortgage industry through a happy accident. I was a Chemistry major in college, working my way through school as a waitress/bartender. A customer came in and told me about a mortgage company in the area that was hiring a lot of new positions and also offered tuition reimbursement. I thought that I would stay until I finished my bachelor’s degree and then head to med school. 

Boy was I wrong. The company was in a rapid growth stage, was filled with young, talented people and offered a lot of opportunity for advancement. Within 6 months, I was in sales and within two years, I was leading a team at 22. It was a fun, faced-paced environment that provided me with the foundation of my career. I never looked back.

I stayed for several reasons. First and foremost, it is very rewarding to impact and influence the most important purchase that most people ever make. Everyone wants to fulfill the dream of owning a home, but no one wants to get a mortgage. Making the process simple, transparent and efficient has always been my goal.

Whether it was in sales, product, policy or marketing, knowing that I was a part of making the dream of homeownership a reality is really rewarding.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

It is a very exciting time to be in the mortgage industry. The social climate in the country has put more focus on the area of the industry that I am most passionate about: providing greater access to homeownership to minority and immigrant borrowers and building up underserved communities.

Advancements in data and technology are evolving. Instant access to alternative data for thin/no credit borrowers, greater inclusion of rental payment data on credit reports, educational programs and new products/initiatives are helping to bring equity into the mortgage process and make homeowners available to all. 

We have a long way to go but I am excited to be a part of the initiatives that will power the industry as we remove barriers and provide better access to mortgage credit to all.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

According to the McKinsey study “Why Diversity Matters,” companies in the top quartile for gender-diverse executive suites were 15% more likely to generate above-average profitability compared to the bottom quartile of companies whose executive teams were predominantly white and male. 

Women leaders bring different, skills and qualities to an organization than men and companies that have more diversity benefit from those differences

It is very important to have women leaders to attract and retain top female talent at all levels. Female leaders can be a support network for women in a male-dominated industry and help navigate the unique challenges that we face in the workplace. Career-pathing, helping to manage work/life balance and mentorship are key to developing the up and coming female talent. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

Developing the next generation of female leaders is very important to me and has been one of my most successful endeavors. During my career I have had the opportunity to hire, mentor and promote strong women that ultimately make our industry stronger with the unique qualities they bring, such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, empathy and a stronger ability to multitask. 

Serving as a mentor I have been able to show other females that nothing is impossible and every opportunity should be seized! It is awesome to watch women that you mentored grow into leaders and flourish in their careers.

 

Kirsten Johnson

Vice President, Branch Administration, Planet Home Lending

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

At 21, I graduated from college, planning to save the world. My journey unexpectedly brought me to this business, and I became an MLO and a Realtor. The best day of my week was sitting at the closing table when my client was handed the keys. Today, the best day of my week is handing a new branch manager the keys to their Planet office. Branch managers take a leap of faith when changing companies. They trust I’ll deliver on our promises, alleviate stress and rapidly get their teams to full production. My sole purpose is to ensure that happens. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

That it continues to become a more empathetic industry. We were given an opportunity during COVID-19 to show both how we can help keep the economy going and support people who were hurting, with an assist from regulators and Congress. I’m heartened when I see Fannie Mae’s RefiNow option and Freddie Mac’s Refi Possible supporting more borrowers in ways we haven’t in the past. 

I am also pleased our industry is becoming more diverse and inclusive. The conversations that challenge us are happening. As we are more representative of our communities, more people will be able to benefit from homeownership. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

When leaders reflect who we are, who employees are and who our customers are, we improve the industry. As women, we bring a different perspective to the conversation. Our collective voices continue to shift the culture of mortgage banking in a positive way. I created branch onboarding and advocacy teams to nurture salespeople during and after onboarding. We send handwritten welcome notes – something that reflects our team’s mission. We want the Planet experience to feel like a handwritten note with a lifeline attached. This approach is clearly attributable to the inspiration of our female leaders.

What do you consider your greatest success?

Creating the onboarding and branch advocacy teams at Planet Home Lending. Brenda Colter, our director branch advocacy, and I envisioned a better way to treat new retail employees. It works incredibly well. People are quickly connected, engaged and productive. Our latest upgrade was adding seven experts in the fields that touch retail – servicing, IT, underwriting, etc., that respond to MLO questions. The quicker an MLO gets an answer from an expert, the sooner they can respond to a borrower or answer the next call. After almost 30 years, I’m still positively impacting people’s lives. That is my greatest success. 

 

Katherine Jungers

VP, National Correspondent Operations, Plaza Home Mortgage

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

In 2003, my father worked as an architect at a construction company that was also a lender. I started as an assistant and then began working on files from beginning to end, learning processing, loan registration, doc drawer, funder, lock desk, shipper, insurer and post-closer. 

In 2006, I started at Plaza Home Mortgage, Inc. as a post-closer. I was eager to learn new things by taking the initiative to help other departments, specifically in the Secondary and Shipping Department. My motivation to stay in this industry stems from my resilience and having the confidence to navigate through challenging times. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

The future is constantly changing and unfolding. So, it’s about adapting to the changing landscape, which requires investment in people and good leadership to prepare our teams for tomorrow, today. As we saw with the pandemic, our industry needed to adapt quickly to operate remotely. Our innovative leadership and investment in technological advances in automation are, and will continue to be, a powerful asset for us to have in accommodating the needs of our customers in today’s modern world. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

It is empowering. I have deep respect for anyone taking steps in achieving their goals, and it’s even more inspiring to see and work with these incredible women. This industry is all about helping people achieve their dream of becoming homeowners. 

So, we are in the position to make a real difference and it is our duty to mentor and train the next generation of leaders. We must continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion at every level, and help others break through ceilings to build a better future for our industry. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

While I will always pride myself on success in my professional and family life, I find it immeasurably rewarding when I mentor and help develop people to go on their own path and watch them succeed. It’s about connecting with your team on an individual level and reminding them of their value and why their work matters. 

My greatest strength is my ability to assess whether a process is implemented and operating as intended and identifying opportunities for improvement. In addition to embracing change, you have to be fearless because change is not an obstacle. It’s an opportunity for growth.

 

Patty La Giglia

Managing Director – Business Optimization, Sun West Mortgage

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I stumbled into the industry as a Business major and started applying to any business-related job posting. Every time I tried to find a different career path it would pull me back because I would picture the immediate impact I could have to better everything around me. I truly enjoy improving systems, solving challenges, and helping our customers, which is both the sales team and our borrowers. Over the years, I worked in many different facets of the business and through knowledge and strategy, I’ve been able to help make all systems, workflows and integrations benefit sales, operations, and the borrowers alike. Overall having a well designed workflow improves everyone’s downstream experience.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I truly believe in Sun West’s purpose of leading the paradigm shift in the industry so the Loan Officer’s role solely focuses on cultivating and retaining relationships within their communities. I hope to see others embrace this as well. The end goal is to improve technology across the board and make the process less cumbersome, while staying compliant. The mortgage business is constantly evolving and with that systems and designs also need to evolve. I am constantly looking at the end-to-end workflow and technology to be able to take the business to the next level, and improve it for generations to come. I look forward to overcoming these challenges and making the solution user-friendly for all involved. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

I was lucky enough that over the last 20 years to work for female-led companies that created a base of me wanting to grow and mentor future female leaders. I truly believe that women can bring a meaningful impact to the industry. It makes me proud to see that shift and that Sun West is part of this. We have multiple women who have won top awards such as Top Originator. Taking many different perspectives from people’s upbringing, race, gender, and culture into account help the industry better relate to each other, help make better-educated decisions and greatly impact marketing and technology.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I’d consider my greatest success my consultative approach to each company and role I take on. My strength is identifying areas of improvement — strengths and weaknesses and tailoring solutions to build and grow. The changes I create have had a vast impact overall for each facet of my career, and have surmounted to applying all my knowledge at Sun West to build a retail division from the ground up. We are projecting great numbers for 2021 and I’m thrilled to be part of it.
 

Camille Madden

President, HarborOne Mortgage

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I was introduced to mortgage banking by a college alum and hired as a loan processor. The frenetic pace of the industry and the ability to help borrowers secure competitive financing for what is often a stressful experience has kept me motivated throughout my 30-plus year career. 

I also enjoy mentoring and developing employees to be the strongest employees they can be, and help them recognize their strengths, and learn from their weaknesses to maximize their potential. This never becomes a burden for me and I love this challenge.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

Mortgage banking must change with the needs of the consumer. We need avenues for qualified borrowers to secure competitive financing timely. We will need to have a self-service, easy to use, and accurate digital tools and technologies. We also need products commensurate with market conditions while maintaining acceptable risk levels.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Females represent the majority of mortgage industry non-management employees, therefore, leadership should be no different. Women bring skills and different perspectives, which often drive effective solutions for companies. Women leaders also serve as role models and mentors for many of the female held positions within the industry. As more women continue to be recognized for their talents, we can shed the glass ceiling and land on an equal playing field with our male counterparts.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I am competitive by nature and feel I have an ability to keep my team engaged and focused on working collaboratively towards an excellent customer experience, all while maintaining profitability and a positive work culture for employees. Sales contests, team events outside the office, and manager and peer recognition awards all contribute to the loyalty and dedication of the employees here at HarborOne Mortgage. An effective and meaningful culture is a contributing factor to our bottom line.

 

Laura Martell

Executive Vice President, Mountain West Financial, Inc.

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

My path into the industry is not unlike many – I had family in the industry, which gave me a connection to it, but never had the ambition of growing into it and planting roots here. I quickly fell in love with the opportunities available for problem solving, the fast-paced nature, and the impact we get to have with our clients and partners. 

Those same principles keep me motivated to try and give back as much as I can to the industry that’s shared so much with me over the years. Our “why” is creating an impact in our communities by promoting sustainable housing, and allowing those within the industry to find the path that suits them. We have a profound purpose and ability to impact lives with those we get to spend our days with as well as our clients.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I believe the future of Mortgage Banking is in the further evolution of the client experience. The more we can leverage digital solutions to craft an experience that is as unique to our clients as they are, the more value we have and are able to deliver. Being able to work with our clients in the ways that THEY want to work with us is crucial. While we are seeing a trend towards this, being able to create systems allowing these differences in communication methods and slight procedural changes will be key to long term success, growth and consistency in offering these elevated service levels. Along with the shift in process, there will be a slight culture shift in defining the value of the mortgage professionals are. So many of us have been taught the value is tied to procedural items where in fact, the value is in the ability to educate, navigate, and provide a level of comfortability and confidence. Tying the physical technological enhancements to the mind shift adoptions is where we need to be focused.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Female leaders in the Mortgage Industry have a resounding impact because of the balance we bring. The proverbial glass ceiling of days past have been raised considerably, and in some cases shattered – and the voices of strong women are heard at all levels of the industry. Female leaders carry a great responsibility of being nurturing, calm, strong, adaptive, and empathetic. These traits shine when it comes to the ability to work through problems, make decisions on paths forward, and provide balance. Women in our industry also allow others to see their potential for growth and advancement. 

Lastly, THE most important trait I see shared amongst so many of the wonderful women I get to work with is the importance of fixing each other’s crowns, we stand on the shoulders of those that came before us and help pave an easier path for our future successors.

What do you consider your greatest success?

Looking back, what I consider my greatest successes are opportunities where I am a part of the journey to help grow and nurture others. My role in the creation of Mountain West Financial’s Loan Officer Academy is one of the first that comes to mind. This proprietary training program allows those who have an interest in making a change to the mortgage industry and helps prepare them for the reality of what being an originator is all about. It’s a program that has helped shape many loan officers over the years and continues to develop and mature. 

The flip side of the coin for me is in the same vein, I love seeing those around me grow and flourish. Welcoming team members with no mortgage experience and seeing them grow to incredible heights gives me a great sense of joy.

 

Ashlei McAleer

Chief of Staff – Lending, Angel Oak Home Loans

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I bought my first home shortly after getting married and quickly realized the documents I signed had little clarity or meaning. I had no real understanding of the financial investment and commitment behind the paper, but was intrigued by the “legalese.” I wanted to learn more and took an on-line certification program from a loan originator’s perspective to see if I would be interested in a career change. I loved the course and made the move! 

I appreciate this industry because it is so dynamic. It is impossible to know “everything” about the business. The more you surround yourself with exceptional talent, you realize some of the best teachers are peers, or your own support staff. Angel Oak has an incredible pool of talented professionals, who make me better at my job each day. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I hope to see three things on the horizon.

Fully automated lending ecosystem that does not primarily stop after closing. Refined, seamless integration with multiple vendors, including sub-servicers, warehouse banks, custodians, third-party review platforms and quality control vendors. Data exchange must be secure, timely and accurate amongst multiple interfaces. Offerings need to become more commoditized and affordable, with originators having a marketplace to share best practices. 

Reduction in unnecessary regulatory legislation. Federal lending and state lending requirements need to reconciled and addressed timely. State representative taskforces to help address consistency of interpretation and application of law should be considered.

Convergence of third-party review scopes for private label securitization market. Reasonability standards in the review process should be consistent for loan grading. This would allow for standardized reporting, better comparative data analytics, and growth in the correspondent sector for reliance letter trading.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Opportunity is paramount to success. While it is important to develop leadership within any organization, the focus for a successful operation is to ensure career path for its employees. In my opinion, this is concerted development of on-going training and enrichment initiatives. We empower employees to learn, question everything and create an environment for performance to equal results. Simply put, having the right person, in the right role at the right time is crucial for quality and longevity. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

Professionally: Spending the last 10 years with visionary leadership developing a vertically integrated lending model. We constructed and refined a lending framework that supported emerging companies, including commercial and residential lending platforms. I have the pleasure to continue to provide enterprise support to several Angel Oak partners. 

Personally: Along with my husband, raising our family who teach and inspire me to serve, disciple and care in any circumstance. 

 

Kristi Pickering

Chief Operations Officer, Academy Mortgage Corporation

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

Growing up, my mom owned a title company, and I would work there during the summer months. After graduation, I started working at a mortgage company in the loan deficiencies department. The people are what keep me motivated to stay in this industry. I find amazing fulfillment in creating and building relationships with people throughout the industry, and watching people build a fulfilling career in mortgage.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I hope to see more women in C-level positions. There are so many amazing women in the mortgage industry, and I’d love to see them in more leadership roles to drive the industry to new heights. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

I think it’s vital to have female leaders in mortgage. Having strong female leaders in within the industry brings a fresh and new perspective to the mortgage banking. It provides more inclusive and collaborative discussions and decisions at a leadership level. By having a diverse leadership team, you receive a wide range of viewpoints, which further eliminates blind spots.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I believe when you achieve complete work-life balance, you’ve achieved success. Having the ability to balance the demands of life from every angle can often be a challenge, but once you’ve figured out how to balance, you can flourish.

 

Tonette Pipkins

Loan Originator, NRL Mortgage 

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

Coming from an athletic background and losing our personal homes due to the mortgage crisis in 2008-2009, I was eager to learn what not to do and teach others how to avoid the loses we endured. 

I genuinely enjoy educating homebuyers as much as I enjoy working with them. Many times, homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, are caught up in the process and it can be confusing and overwhelming. It’s important to me to slow down and educate them on the process, answer their questions as well as to guide them each step of the way.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I personally would love to see more women and especially, women of color, in the mortgage banking industry. Over 65% of first-time homebuyers are minorities and Millennials. Loan originators helping our homebuyers through the process should mirror the demographic and be neighbors within the same community. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Women are at the core of decision-making. In most American families, we find that the woman drives the decision on buying a home, where to move and requirements of the new home. In my personal experience, I find that women tend to be the first to fill out the mortgage application. It’s important to have strong women in Mortgage Banking to assist the strong women that are guiding their families through the home-buying process. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

Being a Boss-Mom. Women are often too afraid to follow our professional dreams as mothers. We are constantly reminded by multiple outlets of what success should be and how. I’m here to debunk that myth and say yes, we too can pursue and achieve greatness and be Super Mom. 

 

Alysse Prosnick

Senior VP of Operations, Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

Completely by chance. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be “when I grew up!” A friend was working at a mortgage company during the subprime boom and loved it. They encouraged me to apply to be a processing assistant. I gave it a try and found that I love this industry and the rest is history! 

As for motivation, the ability to innovate, improve and grow keeps me excited to come to work each day. I love working with our team to discover and implement new ways to manage our business. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

First, more young people launching their mortgage careers. There are so many opportunities in this industry and numerous ways to be successful in the mortgage space. 

Investing in and improving technology will always be a priority. Staying ahead of challenges through technology is very prudent in this industry. We’ve come a long way since the days of paper files, but there is so much opportunity to continue to leverage technology to improve the process for our clients and consumers. We market how fast and easy it is to work with us and fulfilling that promise lies in the right technology. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

I think it is important to have a diverse leadership team. Working in a diverse team with people who have different backgrounds, experiences and characteristics helps an organization to be innovative. The varied backgrounds and collaboration can spark ideas and innovation, which can help an organization grow and improve. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

The Operations Trainee Program! We place trainees in a four-week training class teaching them various aspects of the mortgage business. Afterwards, they are placed in the role that best suits their interests. It has been so successful given that they feel more in control of reaching their career goals. They are asked to stay in that role for six months to fully learn and develop skills before moving into a different position. Many have been promoted and it has been such a pleasure to see them excel. We are watching our future leadership develop right before our eyes. 

 

Judy Ryan

Executive Vice President of Corporate Sales – East, Credit Plus, Inc.

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I began my career at one of the three credit repositories (Equifax) as a co-op student my senior year of high school. I’ve stayed in the industry because my colleagues and clients have become like family. We’ve worked together for years and had lots of fun along the way. I’m also naturally curious and like to help others. 

My dual role has given me a unique perspective. I constantly speak with lenders, hear their concerns and learn how to better assist them. It’s also been rewarding to develop fraud tools that can curb criminal activity and have a positive impact. 

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

I clearly see the need for more automation and technology. They would benefit those of us who work inside the industry, as well as mortgage applicants and borrowers who long for a better experience. It would be great if the loan process was taught to younger generations ─ what steps are taken and why. Young people haven’t been well educated in this area of personal finance and it would greatly help them achieve the goal of homeownership. I also would like to see more women in the industry. Though progress has been made, there is plenty of room for more. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

It’s important for female leaders in the industry to mentor young women and help them realize that if you work hard, you can be treated as an equal and achieve great things. Through hard work and dedication women have proven themselves. I think women are particularly successful in this industry because we tend to be organized and good multi-taskers. Additionally, we’re generally nurturing and compassionate ─ traits that make us women excellent team leaders. We do a great job of motivating others and cheering on our teams. That’s why having more of us in leadership positions would be so beneficial. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

My greatest success is the wonderful relationships I’ve established and cultivated by being a true strategic partner. I’ve seen a lot of change throughout my career and both clients and colleagues have relied on industry veterans as a resource. By serving as a board member for associations, I’ve been able to have a voice within the industry which has enabled me to excel and grow. I value these relationships ─ people I have mentored, those who have mentored me and everyone else who has directly or indirectly helped me accomplish my goals along the way. 

 

Michelle Rogers

Partner, Buckley LLP

How did you get into this field and what motivates you to stay? 

My grandmother, who played a major role in my upbringing, was a Realtor and a builder (when women were not builders).  I remember the weight and jingle of her giant ring of keys for “her” homes, which she would take me to when I was very young.  

As I got older, I’d help her with open houses and spent many hours in offices on the weekends while she wrote contracts. When I first started working on mortgage enforcement and regulatory compliance cases early in my career, it was a natural fit because I understood the information and materials, but I also understood why what I was doing in representing the industry was important.   

Expanding my financial services knowledge over the years, I love that I can use this foundation to learn new things and take on new challenges.  Thinking creatively about legal and regulatory issues, and working with great people, both clients and colleagues, keeps me motivated.  

What do you hope to see in the future or mortgage banking?

Diversity, collaboration and innovation feed each other and inspire new ideas and ways to tackle today’s complex issues.  

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Studies show that gender diversity (and all diversity) is smart business. Women have different life experiences, and often bring different skill sets, ways of thinking, and approaches to problem solving. Leadership that represents the businesses and communities is better situated to understand how best to connect with everyone. 

Finally, increasing diversity within leadership has the implicit benefit of demonstrating that there is no one single path to success. This motivates a workforce, attracts new talent, and inspires the next generation of leaders to bring new ideas and creativity to the table.

What do you consider your greatest success?

I hope I haven’t achieved it quite yet, but as of this moment, I’d say my greatest professional success is the relationships I have built with my clients. I am very fortunate to work with such a fantastic group of people. They allow me to learn their business, collaborate with them on emerging issues, and trust me to guide them through some of their toughest challenges. I feel like I am making a difference by helping them navigate the complex legal and regulatory environment to help serve their communities.   

 

Cristen Talbert

Chief Process Officer, Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I processed disaster home loans for the Small Business Administration, and soon found my passion in helping people retain and secure homeownership. I’m energized by the hectic pace and ever-changing landscape of mortgage lending. 

A problem-solver at heart, and one who can’t stand to be bored, I love meeting the days unique set of challenges head on, having to think on my feet and quickly develop creative solutions. I’m also motivated to stay because I’m surrounded by exceptionally talented people who are fiercely dedicated to going above and beyond for our family of customers.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

The excitement in this industry is that it is ever changing. The ability to flex and evolve with those changes is one of my strongest attributes. The post-pandemic world is changing the entire landscape in this business yet again, and as a consumer faced industry developing the most comprehensive method of communication is our number one priority. We need to leverage the technology platforms we have access to and have developed while not losing sight of the people that are on all sides of the transactional process.

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

Female leadership in the Mortgage Banking industry is incredibly important. I have benefited from being mentored in my career by strong women and feel that I’ve been able to emulate a strong, servant-leadership style as a result. Utilizing the lessons I have learned helps me develop my own staff, pushing them to achieve their personal best. It’s gratifying to identify an individual’s unique strengths and challenges, helping them to grow in order to advance their own careers. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

This question is easy to answer! My greatest success lies in raising two happy, accomplished people who don’t have the words, “I can’t” in their vocabulary. Both have acquired Master’s Degrees and are thriving in their respective careers (one of them is a successful government underwriter is his own right). I am by no means responsible for their success. They are. But I like to believe I had a hand in inspiring them to be courageous, compassionate go-getters. 

 

Karen Thompson

VP National Underwriting Manager, Orion Lending

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

I got into this business a short 34 years ago working for a small bank in Memphis. I started out when we still had paper files and a sharp calculator to compute APR. I worked my way through every position you can think of in the manufacturing and sales process. 

One thing that is constant about this industry is change. I have had the pleasure to work with some amazing people that I treasure. Plain and simple, I enjoy what I do. We change people’s lives; we give back to our communities and I am better for it.

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

As this industry is rapidly changing with advancements in technology and automation, I hope that we do not abandon the important personal aspect of the process. The best service experiences contain engagement, assurance and confidence. 

Sometimes we forget that people do business with people. Relationships are not built by technology, the human factor to solutions often precedes the automated solution. Communication and information are distinctively different. Communication creates clarity and understanding, automation cannot take its place. I hope as an industry we keep the balance. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

There have been so many women that have pioneered our value and importance not only in mortgage banking but the work force in general. Eleanor Roosevelt in the first half of the 20th century, blazed for women’s right to vote and was the first woman to hold a press conference. She was an advocate for diversity and change. 

In the mortgage industry, women leaders are a must. Much like Eleanor, we too advocate for change. Women are self-sufficient, empowered and difference-makers. We are relatable, courageous and innovative. Our importance transcends these few characteristics. Women before us and those in the platform today make it possible. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

Building a career that has spanned decades while being a mother and wife is one of my greatest successes. Between mergers, acquisitions, the “crash,” the LE/CD, the new URLA and a pandemic, it has taken much resilience and unwavering drive. Balancing both a happy home and a long tenure in the mortgage industry has not always been easy. There have been many long days and working weekends. The fact that I have two beautiful, independent daughters that have grown up with a strong, empowered mother, and where they are today, is my greatest success! 

 

Sheri Thompson

Executive Vice President/ Head of FHA Housing and Healthcare Finance, Walker and Dunlop

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

My father was the CFO for a REIT so I learning about commercial real estate at a young age. After college, I started in research and transitioned to lending. I love that every project and every deal is different; it keeps the work interesting and keeps me on my toes. I also love the interaction with people and the collaboration that is an integral part of this industry. But mostly, I love being a part of providing tangible outcomes and helping provide housing, especially the mission-driven and affordable asset classes, which support our most vulnerable populations

What do you hope to see in the future of the mortgage banking industry?

A more diverse workforce that is representative of the wider community that CRE serves. I’m also excited to see the alternative housing solutions that will help reduce our carbon footprint (environmentally friendly) and provide innovative housing options to tenants. 

What is your opinion on the importance of having female leaders in Mortgage Banking?

If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. Having women and minority representation in leadership is very important for multiple reasons, not the least of which are role models for the next generation. Additionally, it is proven that diverse leadership teams perform better — the diversity of thought and experience that women bring to organizations will help shape positive outcomes and better business results. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

This is still a work in progress. I spend a lot of my time (and enjoy immensely) working with, advising, mentoring and sponsoring other women. They are the caretakers of our industry after people like me retire and I am looking forward to seeing them ascend to new heights and great success. 

 

[ad_2]

Source link