This month’s Millennial on The Rise is Elizabeth Gonzalez who is the Sr. Corporate Licensing and Reporting Administrator for Movement Mortgage. Elizabeth grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and after attending her local community college in its honors program, she completed her Bachelor’s degree at Regent University in Virginia Beach. Similar to many of us in this industry, Elizabeth did not go to college with the thought that she would enter the mortgage industry; but here she is five years later.
What did you want to study in college and why?
General business was my interest. I value efficiency and evaluating processes to make them more logical and efficient. As a manager, I take the job of making business life more productive and easier very seriously. I believe that by challenging how we do things, we have the chance to make the process more efficient, and this improves the quality of life for the people completing those tasks.
What is a Sr. Corporate Licensing and Reporting Administrator?
Basically, I do a lot of reporting work and data analysis. I love data and spreadsheets! Areas such as government and compliance reporting, in addition to information for the annual report and quarterly reports are my main tasks. It is challenging, which I love, because as we all know the regulatory burdens continue to increase.
Did you go into the mortgage industry straight out of college?
No, I worked in the Department of Human Resources for Virginia Beach. Good friends of mine worked at the mortgage company where I am employed now and said that the company was growing and that I should apply for a position. They submitted my resume to a manager in the company and after the interview they hired me.
What attracted you to the world of Mortgage Banking?
To be honest, it was my friends and their encouragement. When my friends first brought the opportunity to my attention I said no, because I was not interested in the mortgage industry. I thought that mortgage bankers were like banks which seemed a bit stodgy to me. I really did not understand the difference between a depository and non-depository. I was also concerned about all of the news about the mortgage industry, and it just did not seem like a stable industry to me. My friends kept talking about how the company was a start-up, had a lot of opportunity, and was a great environment so I decided to give it a try.
Tell us how you worked your way into your present position.
I fell into it by accident, but stayed because of data and spreadsheets which is what I love to work on. Originally, I was hired as an Administrative Assistant for one of the company founders. After two days, they felt my skill set was suited to compliance and sent me to that department. I started by managing disbursement of construction funds. My present role became available and it seemed like something I would enjoy doing every day. I was the third person in the department so it gave me a great opportunity to learn. I have been in compliance ever since.
What advice would you give to college graduates or high school graduates that are interested in being in the mortgage industry?
There are many facets of the industry and it is important to find the one that fits your skill set and personality, versus just staying in a position you were originally hired into. Define what you want to do each day, and then do some research and try to get in that department. Every company is so different, it is important to find a company that helps you grow into where you want to be.
What skills do you think are best to possess in order to thrive in the mortgage industry?
General business skills, such as the use of the Microsoft office suite of products. I am really surprised by the number of people who do not know how to use those products. Resiliency is important in this industry, because you can get a lot thrown at you with a lot of responsibility.
I also believe it is important to focus on the consumer and their needs as a starting point versus, just a process for the sake of a process. This larger view of the mortgage world will allow you to see the why of what you do, and that will lead to different opportunities for you down the road.
What do mortgage companies need to do in order to attract a younger work force? What are they getting right and what are they missing?
You don’t need to be Google! Millennials are looking for a lifestyle and not just work. Things that make them feel appreciated and benefits they can afford, like healthcare. Millennials also like flexibility in hours, because they work different hours. Fluid and flexible is the reality of employees today, and it is important to embrace that change over what used to be. Certainly, working remotely instead of wasting commute time, is also more popular with this generation.
What do senior-level managers or company owners need to know about attracting younger talent that they haven’t quite figured out yet?
Mentoring and training are important. I was fortunate that my first manager was focused on helping me to acclimate to the industry by answering questions and explaining things. Just the language of this industry is overwhelming to the novice. You can read about the acronyms of our industry all day long, but until you put them to practice and have others to ask about them, it just will not make sense. Training and resources are very important and one that will help with onboarding more Millennials. Training is a common standard practice of corporate environments, but not as much with all mortgage companies. Our company is pretty strong in that area, so I feel fortunate.
Any final advice?
Don’t let anyone say you can’t just because. Do your own research and pave your own way. You can have a very positive impact regarding what is here now, and what can be established. Just remember to be respectful!
Elizabeth is the Sr. Corporate Licensing and Reporting Administrator for Movement Mortgage. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org