Advice from Female Executives to Women in the Mortgage Industry
By Natalie Abadir-Verrette
“Mortgage is a man’s world,” or it was 15 or 20 years ago. You’ll even hear critics today harp on employment and hiring processes within the industry, pointing to statistics that show women are underrepresented in many mortgage companies.
As an executive at a mortgage company, I see women every day who are not just a mere exception to the rule – they are turning the idea of a male-dominated mortgage industry upside down. We have 12 female executives — more women at the helm than men.
Some companies absolutely count on these senior vice presidents and executive vice presidents to drive the company forward and make. With more women continuing to enter the industry, we need to be setting them up for success.
To build on successes and send more women upward into executive and c-suite positions, we need to look towards the success of female leaders within the mortgage industry and other business sectors. Recently I reached out to a few of the other women in leadership at my company, The Money Source, for their insight on how to rise and succeed in the mortgage industry.
“Be aggressive and self-challenging in roles you select in your career path,” said Kathy Lowry, Director of Servicing Risk Management.
Reaching the pinnacle of your potential requires calibration. Determine where you want your horizontal and vertical growth to go within your company, within your industry, within your career. Consult with mentors and superiors, set lofty goals.
“Too often people reach a satisfaction level in a small function of the mortgage business,” Lowry said. The more you know about the multiple aspects of lending, the more potential for upward mobility in the overall industry. Not only knowing how all the aspects of lending fit together but actually experiencing it can go a long way to realizing your potential, but actually can help you in mentoring employees to realize theirs.”
This extends into multiple aspects of your career. As you grow within your company and the mortgage industry, turn your attention on growing your monetary worth. Studies show that women tend to settle when it comes to the initial conversation of pay or mid-career promotions. However, the value your company places in you often begins in the worth you place within yourself. As the saying goes, “negotiate early and often.” Your salary and title should expand up with your own professional growth – challenge yourself and reap the benefits.
Know your Craft
“Anyone looking to rise in the industry needs to spend some time in it from the ground up and understand all areas of the mortgage banking industry,” said Tanya Anthony, Vice President of Government and Industry Administration.
Take advantage of employee training opportunities, like company-sponsored seminars and opportunities to shadow. Subscribe to industry publications and stay up-to-date on industry trends. The more knowledgeable you are, the more nimbly you’ll be able to move into opportunities for advancement with an employer’s full confidence.
“A broad base of knowledge is always helpful,” said Kelly Pickolick, Vice President of Administration. “Being involved in as many areas of the company as possible provides you with a view into the inner workings of the mortgage process.
Lift Up Other Female Leaders
“As a female leader at The Money Source, I’m surrounded by other like-minded women,” Pickolick said. We have established a strong support group that works collaboratively and recognizes the success of others as they grow and excel in their respective channels within the business.
Encourage mentorship. Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg once said, “Maintain the relationship over time. When the opportunity arises where they can really help you, ask: Will you recommend for this job? Would you make the introduction?”
Even if you are at the top, seek out other women within different verticals in your organization to collaborate and problem-solve with. Be the force behind a culture that boosts women up to break ceilings.
While many women are entering the industry, there are still few yet who fill decision makers positions as executives and C-suite decision makers. It takes both strong, qualified and brilliant female leaders to be an exception to the rule, while fostering a culture that knows no gender boundaries. Work with leaders within the company to implement practices that encourage a culture of communication that recognizes and rewards hard work and potential with opportunities for growth.
Natalie Abadir-Verrette is the Executive Vice President of Production at The Money Source, a nationwide lender and loan servicer based in New York. Learn more at www.themoneysource.com.