01 Looking Forward
The New Face of Leadership
Vol. 2 Issue 4
02 Leading Ladies
16 Women who Rocked 2016
03 ALFN WILL
Women with #WILLPOWER
The Forward Issue
I suppose my formula might be: dream, diversify and never miss an angle. - Walt Disney (and weâ€™re *pretty sure* he was talking about this magazine)
AS THE YEAR CLOSES, IT’S APPROPRIATE THAT OUR ANGLE THIS QUARTER TAKES A LOOK FORWARD AT WHAT’S TO COME IN THE NEW YEAR. OR IN OTHER WORDS, THANK GOD 2016 IS OVER. Looking back at the last year, we’ve seen some amazing changes. Most of them complete surprises. Not just the new, incoming Trump Administration, but other fault lines that erupted in the political world like PHH’s landmark win and subsequent court blow to the very foundation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Or the first woman to win a major party’s nomination for President of the United States. Or, on the other side of the aisle, the first woman to run a successful presidential campaign. Either way, major glass ceilings came shattering down and that’s something we can all be proud of. Closer to home, 2016 saw one of the best years ever for turn-out across ALFN’s events. For that, we’re incredibly grateful and humbled that you repeatedly chose our venues as platforms for your networking, education, and marketing needs. We hope to continue serving you and meeting those needs throughout 2017. That’s one reason we’re proud to introduce Intersect, a new event concept that replaces the old “teach” brand of regional servicer trainings. Intersect is designed to elevate the conversation and offer our members and clients a more targeted content and educational experience with siloed focuses on servicing + bankruptcy (February 2017); servicing + foreclosure (May 2017); and then a combined event in Dallas to close-out the year. You can expect the same attention to detail and quality across all of our events next year from WILLPOWER to Advocacy Day to ANSWERS to a brand-new e-learning platform rolling out in Q1 2017. Speaking of ANSWERS, it’s our 15th anniversary and while we’re not spilling the beans yet, trust us—it’s an absolute can’t-miss. That leaves me to discuss what’s on the pages of this ANGLE. You’re regularly scheduled array of high quality and up-to-date foreclosure and default servicing news is here as you’d expect. But what’s special is that we’ve taken a deep dive in a unique section we’ve not run before: a close look at the women who have taken charge of our volunteer opportunities. It’s been an organic and natural shift, but one that is also worth stepping back and considering the reasons and impact. The reasons, I’ll let you hear in their own words on the following pages; but the impact, that’s something you can see and feel across our events, education, publications, and honestly, reputation. Right now is an exciting, inclusive, energy-filled time to be a member of the ALFN. We’re proud to showcase some of the members helping us build that energy and we’re grateful for those of you working behind the scenes who aren’t featured here—your contributions are as vital to our success as ever. And as this turbulent, tiring year comes to a close, we can look back and see that our exhaustion isn’t from a tedious, toilsome year but from twelve months of working tirelessly to make this association a better leader in our industry that delivers better value to its members. So, at ALFN, we’re glad to be headed into 2017 with you and for you.
PRESIDENT & CEO AMERICAN LEGAL & FINANCIAL NETWORK
ON THE BOOKS RHODE ISLAND PA G E
SNAPSHOT NEW YORK
PA G E
OFFICIAL P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E AMERICAN LEGAL & FINANCIAL NETWORK
PA G E 1 0
01 Looking Forward
The New Face of Leadership
N E X T PA G E
memberbriefs 2017 ALFN EVENTS SAVE THE DATES INTERSECT: SERVICING + BANKRUPTCY THE HIGHLAND DALLAS DALLAS, TEXAS FEBRUARY 13 JPEG SERVICE PROJECT DALLAS ANIMAL SHELTER DALLAS, TEXAS FEBRUARY 14 ALFN NETWORKING BOOTH MBA MORTGAGE SERVICING GAYLORD TEXAN DALLAS, TEXAS FEBRUARY 14-17 WILLPOWER GEORGETOWN WESTIN WASHINGTON, DC APRIL 3 ADVOCACY DAY GEORGETOWN WESTIN WASHINGTON, DC APRIL 4 ANSWERS HYATT LOST PINES AUSTIN, TX JULY 16-19
WANT MORE INDUSTRY INTEL? Check the complete industry calendar for ALFN and other events online at alfn.org for event more details and registration info.
A BRAND NEW ALFN EVENT AT THE INTERSECTION OF MORTGAGE SERVICING + CONSUMER BANKRUPTCIES Bankruptcy conferences don’t pay enough attention to mortgage default and default conferences pay too little attention to bankruptcy. That ends now, with the introduction of Intersect, a brand-new ALFN event devoted entirely to the intersection of mortgage servicing and consumer bankruptcies. Join us for cutting-edge, devoted content built by the nation’s leading creditors’ rights bankruptcy attorneys for an eye-opening and exciting day-long summit that will energize and educate your entire bankruptcy department. Come this February, we hope you’ll meet us at the intersection. REGISTER, SPONSOR OR LEARN MORE AT ALFN.ORG/INTERSECT
SOMETHING NEW AT ALFN.ORG
INTRODUCING GUEST BLOGGERS WITH MONTHLY COLUMNS Are you a great writer with an interest in tracking federal legislation or regulatory developments? Or an associate member eager to discuss operational and other business management functions? Then volunteer as a guest blogger and help us develop new and fresh content on the blog at ALFN.org. We’re opening two regular volunteer guest blogger spots for ALFN.org in 2017. You’ll be responsible for developing and maintaining your monthly column. One spot is reserved for an attorney/trustee member and the other is reserved for an associate member of the ALFN. Let us know if you’re interested in the gig by emailing us at ANGLE@ALFN.org. RG/NEW_DUES
VOLUNTEER, VOLUNTEER, VOLUNTEER!
WONDER HOW SOME OF THESE FOLKS GET ON PANELS OR NAB FEATURES IN THE ANGLE OR ALWAYS SEEM TO HAVE THE MARKETING EDGE? Volunteering is the cornerstone of maximizing your membership value. Here’s a helpful hint: assign relationship managers for the ALFN and do it strategically. Make sure you have at least one person in Women in Legal Leadership, another in the ALFN’s award-winning young professionals network, JPEG, and more spread across other practice groups like Bankruptcy and Marketing. Does everyone get ALFN emails? If not, send us a complete list and we’ll make sure all the right people on your team are getting updates and reminders on speaking, sponsoring and other ways to contribute and max out your exposure through the assocation’s events, publications, programs and services. If your membership covers multiple states, then make sure at least one person from each state has a committed volunteer spot so you’re represented from sea to shining sea! IS YOUR CONTACT INFO UPDATED? IS YOUR ONLINE DIRECTORY LISTING OPTIMIZED? DO YOU KNOW WHO HAS ACCESS TO YOUR ALFN.ORG ACCOUNT? WELL, LOG IN!
ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 4
LET’S MAKE A PLAN TAKE THE LONG VIEW AND WIN WITH YOUR SPONSORSHIP DOLLAR Did you know that if you spend more than $5,000 annually in sponsorships (or other upgrades like directory enhancements and advertising) that you qualify for a customized, annual sponsorship package that includes discounts, freebies and the benefit of quarterly invoicing? That’s right. And all of that engagement will also count toward your ALFN ASSURE Member Rewards Program points and help you work toward the exclusive, invitation-only ASSURE mixers at ANSWERS. Just email Liz Potter (email@example.com) for details and we’ll get to work on your customized package. Super simple and we’ll make sure your sponsorship dollars hits an ROI home run by the time 2017 comes to a close.
STAY IN THE LOGISTICAL LOOP RE: DUES PROCESSING ALFN LAUNCHES ALL-NEW ANNUAL DUES INVOICING PORTAL ONLINE
Good news: all dues processing has moved online to a digital invoicing and payment process at ALFN.org. Members can simply login and access your 2017 dues invoice, download for your record keeping and pay online. Note that all payments must be completed by the deadline of January 31, 2017 to avoid a late payment penalty of 3% of your total annual dues. A two week grace period will be allowed for late payments before access to ALFN.org and other member benefits is cut-off and a reinstatement fee is applied. If you’re registering for Intersect, you can combine your registration fees and dues into a single payment with the new system. We’re excited about our continued shift to online payment processing and other digital offerings we’ve rolled out in the last twelve months as part of the new ALFN.org. If you haven’t yet logged on and shopped the new site, please familiarize yourself by getting or resetting your password online or reaching out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE UPDATES ONLINE AT ALFN.ORG/NEW_DUES
THE FIRST 100
BACK WITH A BANG
We’re partnering with USFN again to make our efforts on the Hill a blow-out experience in 2017. Hit the Hill with us at the end of the Trump Administration’s first 100 days for over 100 face-to-face meetings with members of Congress and help us raise 100 donations of $100 for the event’s official PAC. Learn more online at ALFN.org/ADV17
By the time you hit the end of this ANGLE, you should have one thing coursing through your veins: the #WILLPOWER to effect and achieve change, politically and across our industry. That’s right: the Women of WILL, those Leading Ladies, our very own Women with WILLPOWER are back with a bang: the second annual Women’s Leadership Summit hits back hard on April 3.
HELP US REACH SOME LOFTY GOALS
WILLPOWER LANDS RIGHT ON TARGET - APRIL 3
ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 5
SNAPSHOT NEW YORK
FORECLOSURE REFORM: AN INTRODUCTION TO NEW YORK’S ZOMBIE PROPERTY LAWS AND AMENDMENTS TO PRE-COMMENCEMENT NOTICE AND SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE REGULATIONS On June 23, 2016, New York’s Governor Cuomo signed sweeping foreclosure reform legislation which will result in significant changes to both ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 6
the pre-foreclosure and foreclosure process. Under the newly enacted legislation, three provisions are added to the New York State Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (“RPAPL”) requiring lenders to inspect, register and secure vacant and abandoned homes, also known as “zombie properties” (RPAPL 1308 and 1310), and further attempting to expedite the foreclosure process for these properties (RPAPL 1309). The legislation also provides for substantial changes to pre-foreclosure notification requirements (RPAPL 1303 and 1304) and the foreclosure settlement conference process overall (CPLR 3408). The legislation goes into effect December 20, 2016.
Some sections of the new legislation place an additional costly burden on servicers already saddled with non-performing loans. For example, RPAPL 1308 requires the servicer to complete an exterior inspection of a property within 90 days of a borrower’s delinquency to determine whether the property is occupied. The inspections must continue to take place every 25-35 days throughout the delinquency of the loan. If the property is determined to be vacant, the servicer must post a notice within seven days of that determination and, if no response is received within seven days of posting the notice, the servicer must then take “reasonable and necessary actions” to secure and maintain
the property. Reasonable and necessary actions range from replacing door locks and boarding up broken windows to providing basic utilities and remediating health and safety issues, and code violations. Penalties for non-compliance include civil penalties of up to $500 per day, and a municipality may recover any costs associated with the maintenance of a property from the servicer. The addition of RPAPL 1309 provides a welcome change for servicers, as it allows for a foreclosure action on a vacant property to “fast track” towards a judgment of foreclosure and sale. The expedited process does away with the two-motions ordinarily needed to complete the judicial foreclosure process in New York State and instead allows the Plaintiff to make one combined motion for the Court to confirm the amounts due and for judgment. Certain requirements must be met in addition to the property being vacant as defined in the section (i.e., defendant must not have appeared or demonstrated an intention to contest the action) and the motion and proposed order must include specific language and decretal paragraphs. Overall, however, this expedited process could result in a judgment being issued months or even years earlier than in the typical foreclosure case, depending on the Court’s backlog. The legislation also provides for substantial changes to pre-foreclosure notices and the foreclosure settlement conference process. RPAPL 1303’s “Help for Homeowners” notice, for example, will now serve an additional purpose as it must include language alerting the borrower that he/she is not required to leave and has the right to stay in the home until the foreclosure sale. Additionally, RPAPL 1304 as amended provides that the 90-day pre-commencement notice must reference the amount of default, include a list of counseling agencies serving the county where the property is located, and must be “in the borrower’s native language … if the language is one of the six most common non-English languages spoken by individuals with limited English proficiency in the state of New York.” Perhaps the most significant change in content for the 90-day notice is the instruction to the borrower that an action can be commenced “if [borrower] ha[s] not taken any actions to resolve th[e] matter” leaving open for interpretation whether any action by borrower to resolve the matter (i.e., correspondence to the servicer) would prohibit commencement. Finally, the notice is now a condition precedent to commencing any foreclosure proceeding and must be sent regardless of occupancy status. The amendments to CPLR 3408 expand the purpose of mandated foreclosure settlement conferences to include non-retention options, such as a short sale or deed in lieu. They also help define some key terms and provide guidance on issues which the Courts had been previously called upon to explain. “Good faith,” for example, is to be determined by a ‘totality of the circumstances’ standard to be measured by several factors including compliance with statutes, court directives, and “mortgage service mortgage servicing laws, rules, regulations, investor directives, loss mitigation standards.“ Notably, the statute specifies that “[n]either of the parties’ failure to make the offer or accept the offer made by the other party is sufficient to establish a failure to negotiate in good faith,” and appears to put an end to the question of whether a contractual investor restriction or prohibition to modification is of itself not acting in good faith. The amendments provide for the tolling of collection of interest, cost and fees should it be determined that Plaintiff has not acted in good faith, and allows the Court to direct that Plaintiff pay civil penalties in amount up to $25,000 to the state, to “deter repetition of the conduct,” in addition to actual damages to be paid to the defendant. CPLR 3408 as amended also provides for more than settlement, as the Court at the first settlement conference must now advise the defendant of the requirement to answer the complaint, vacate the defendant’s default in appearing, and allow the defendant an additional 30 days from the date of the conference to put in an answer. Indeed, a result of this directive will be a vast increase in litigation for cases that are ultimately released from the conference part. These provisions and amendments are effective December 20, 2016. By Danielle Mastriano, Esq. Mastriano is an attorney with New York-based ALFN member Pincus Law Group; she can be reached at email@example.com. ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 7
We’re not just throwing another party this year. We’re heading out to do some good. So join us, for good.
AND SHARE THE LOVE THIS VA L E N T I N E ’ S DAY JPEG Group Service Event on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Suggested Donation: $50 (covers lunch onsite with remainder contributed as charitable donation) Dallas Animal Shelter 11:00am - 2:00pm 1818 N Westmoreland Rd, Dallas, TX 75212 (JPEG members to coordinate shared rides)
AND DON’T FORGET TO JOIN US IN BOOTH 606 DURING THE MBA’S NATIONAL MORTGAGE SERVICING CONFERENCE FEBRUARY 14-17 AT THE GAYLORD TEXAN ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 8
ON THE BOOKS RHODE ISLAND
RHODE ISLAND DECISION WITH PINTI IMPLICATIONS On October 11, 2016, the District Court of Rhode Island issued a decision in Martins v. Federal National Mortgage Association et al (1:15-cv00235-M-LDA) relating to compliance with the contractual terms of a mortgage. Specifically, Ms. Martins filed suit alleging that the Defendants Fannie Mae, Federal Housing Financing Agency and Green Tree Servicing LLC violated her due process rights by failing to provide her proper notice pursuant to Paragraph 22 of her Mortgage and thus conducted an invalid foreclosure. Fannie Mae voluntarily rescinded their non-judicial foreclosure but filed a counter-claim for judicial foreclosure. While the Court held that as the non-judicial foreclosure sale was rescinded, and any claims premised on the non-judicial foreclosure were rendered moot, the Court noted that Ms. Martins raised serious issues about the constitutionality of Fannie Mae’s procedures in a non-judicial proceedings and that “someone
with skin the game should litigate the issue.” This, no doubt will open the door to borrowers alleging a constitutionally defective foreclosure under Paragraph 22 if not followed. More importantly, the Court in Martins reasoned that the change in process of foreclosure- from non-judicial to judicial does not alleviate compliance with the Paragraph 22 notice requirements in the Mortgage. Despite the fact that the judicial foreclosure statute (R.I. Gen Laws § 34-1122) does not expressly require compliance with the Mortgage document, if a mortgagee agrees to give a certain notice before a foreclosure, (judicial or non-judicial) the mortgagee must do that which it agreed and comply with Paragraph 22 of the Mortgage as a matter of contract law. In conclusion, just as the Massachusetts Supreme Court case Pinti v. Emigrant Mortgage,
( SJC-11742) ruled that a foreclosing mortgagee must send borrowers a default notice that complies strictly with the requirements of the mortgage, the Martins case, although a federal court case, serves notice in Rhode Island that lenders seeking to foreclose in Rhode Island (judicially or non-judicially) must strictly comply with Paragraph 22 of the Mortgage. Servicers should review their Rhode Island default notices carefully to ensure that they comply verbatim with the mortgage terms for all non-judicial and judicial foreclosures. By Joseph A. Camillo, Jr., Esq. , Managing Partner – Default Servicing and Amy N. Azza, Esq. Managing Attorney – Non Judicial Foreclosure, Shechtman Halperin Savage, LLP. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 9
ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 10
BORROWER’S AGREEMENT TO REPAYMENT PLAN CONSTITUTED NEW CONSIDERATION SUPPORTING CLAIM AGAINST LENDER FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT WHEN LENDER REFUSED TO ACCEPT PAYMENTS The recent decision of a North Carolina federal court in McKinney v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, 2016 WL 3659898 (E.D. N.C. July 1, 2016), proves to be a cautionary tale for loan servicers. In their breach of contract action against Nationstar, the McKinneys alleged that when they defaulted on their equity line of credit, secured by a deed of trust on their home, Nationstar offered, and they accepted, a repayment plan that called for them to make monthly payments for six months at a higher amount than the payments called for under the note, with the result that the arrearage would be caught up at the end of the six month period. The borrowers further alleged that they timely made, and Nationstar accepted, the first two payments. The McKinneys timely made the third payment, which Nationstar held in suspense. When the borrowers timely tendered their fourth payment, Nationstar rejected it and shortly thereafter informed them that the repayment plan did not comply with the requirements of the note. The decision does not offer an explanation for why Nationstar apparently had a change of mind. Nationstar informed the borrowers they were in default and demanded that the borrowers pay a sum to bring the loan current. In ruling on Nationstar’s motion to dismiss, the court held that by agreeing to pay a higher monthly payment than called for in the note the borrowers gave consideration for the repayment plan, which therefore constituted a binding contract between the parties. “[T]here is a consideration if the promisee, in return for the promise, does anything legal which he is not bound to do, or refrains from doing anything which he has a right to do, whether there is any actual loss or detriment to him or actual benefit to the promisor or not.” Stonestreet v. S. Oil Co., 226 N.C. 261, 263
(1946) (quotations omitted). “Consideration for a promise is defined . . . as an act or a forbearance, or the creation, modification or destruction of a legal relation, or a return promise, bargained for and given in exchange for the promise.” Byerly v. Duke Power Co., 217 F.2d 803, 806 (4th Cir. 1954) (citing Restatement of Contracts § 75) (applying North Carolina law). McKinney at *3. The court pointed out there was no contractual requirement under the terms of the note for the borrowers to make increased monthly payments to pay their past due amounts. Id. Nationstar could have elected to pursue one or more of the specified remedies for default contained in the note, including requiring the borrowers to pay the total balance owed immediately, but it chose not to. Instead of electing one of these remedies, Nationstar chose to offer a repayment plan. In light of this decision, servicers should be mindful of the remedies available to them under the loan agreement, and that if they deviate from the already agreed alternatives for resolving a default that they may unwittingly create a new contract with the defaulted borrower. In McKinney, because the court’s decision merely addressed whether the borrowers stated a claim for relief in their complaint, we do not know if Nationstar had a valid reason for terminating the repayment plan. But the lesson to be learned here is that any deviation from the rights and obligations in the loan agreement could prove costly to a servicer. Entering into any new agreement may deprive the lender of the remedies in the loan agreement and expose it to a new set of obligations that it may not have contemplated. And, further litigation in federal court is likely to rapidly run up defense costs that will be, more than likely, unrecoverable from the borrowers. ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 11
to where the women of ALFN are taking the association, our member businesses and the mortgage servicing industry hen we talk about 2016, it’s hard to miss the cracks women put in glass ceilings across the corporate and political worlds. But take a closer look and you’ll notice cracks in other places, like the foundations and cornerstones of how, where and when business is conducted. Women leaders aren’t just bubbling to the top in terms of visibility, they’re affecting serious and real change at all levels of business. Fact: On average, 62% of clients at ALFN events are now women. And the ways in which we orchestrate networking opportunities is, and must continue, to reflect that shift. This Spring WILLPOWER returns for its second annual women’s leadership summit in Washington D.C. (April 3 at the Westin Georgetown). That’s notable for a few reasons, but especially in light of the fact that the entire group, Women in Legal Leadership (WILL) is barely approaching its one year anniversary. The reason for that boils down to just one powerful combination: energy and means. There’s energy around the issues addressed by WILL and WILLPOWER and there’s now a host of women in positions of power with the means to affect change around the issues important to them. On the following pages you’re going to meet some of the most energetic women leading volunteer opportunities through the ALFN. Why are we profiling these ladies? Because their efforts are literally shaping the committees, groups, events, and programming of the entire organization. What does that add up to? Very simply put: they’re guiding the direction of our organization and industry—and you should know who they are. We asked them each three questions: When do you lead? Why do you lead? And, finally, where are you leading us? So turn the page, as our industry is in the very process of doing, and meet the women who aren’t just our future leaders, but the ones already leading us into a new industry era. ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 12
Introduction by Cade Holleman
The new face of leadership Women take the lead and set the tone of ALFN member engagement
(L to R) Seated: Kelly Gring, Esq., Glasser & Glasser, ALFN Board of Directors, Junior Professionals & Executives Group (JPEG) founder and JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient (2014); Standing: Toniqua Green, Nationstar Mortgage and JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient (2016); Seated: Deb Carlile, LenderLive and JPEG Mentor Program Participant; Standing: Linda Finley, Esq., Baker Donelson, industry grande dame; Standing: Amanda Green, Esq., Kreisman & Shapiro, WILL Co-Chair and JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient; Seated, foreground: Erica Fujimoto, Affinity Consulting Group, JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient (2015) and WILL Leadership Team; Seated, center: Andrea Tromberg, Esq., ALFN Board of Directors, Legislative & Regulatory Policy Group Chair; Standing, background center: Valerie Nelan, Baker Donelson, Conference Planning Committee Co-Chair. ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 14
(L to R) Standing: Nicole Noel, Esq., Kass Shuler, Bankruptcy Practice Group Co-Chair and JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient (2016); Seated: Debbie Foster, Affinity Consulting Group, Associate Member Advisory Board; Lounging, foreground: Elizabeth Potter, ALFN, WILL founder; Standing, background: Natalie Grigg, Esq., Woods Oviatt, WILL Leadership Team, Default Services Practice Group Chair and JPEG: PIcture the Future award recipient (2014); Seated: Cathe Cole-Sherburn, Trustee Corps, WILL Leadership Team; Standing: Maryann Mack, Rosenberg & Associates, WILL Leadership Team; Standing, far right: Caren Castle, WILL 2016 Chair; Seated: Kristin Zilberstein, Esq., Bankruptcy Practice Group Co-Chair. Complete profiles and contact information found on the following pages. ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 15
Andrea Tromberg MANAGING PARTNER, GLADSTONE LAW GROUP Board of Directors, Elected Non-affiliated Attorney/Trustee Seat Chair, Legislative & Regulatory Policy Group
choose to lead because too often nobody raises a hand. Many claim a lack of opportunity. However, my response is to open your eyes and recognize the opportunities that are right in front of you. There is always room for talent, leadership and intelligence. People that sit back and watch the world happen are typically the first to complain that life is too hard or unfair.
ALFN IS AN EXCELLENT PLATFORM FOR WOMEN TO LEAD. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT EXPERIENCED AT LEADING, THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN TO BECOME A LEADER. CONTACT ANDREA ATROMBERG@GLADSTONELAWGROUP.COM
My motto is that the more I do, the more capable I become, and the less I do, the more incapable I am. When I do not get involved, life becomes overwhelming, but when I put myself out into the world and take on important roles, things start to happen for the better and I become a stronger person. It is critical that all women take on this approach and see themselves as capable and important people in the world with many opportunities available. You just have to raise your hand. I believe it is my responsibility to myself, community and family to not waste my abilities and talents. That is why I choose to lead. How I lead is by example. Whenever I assign a task it is one that I have taken on myself. When delegating, I know exactly how that role should be handled and what it takes to get it done based on personal experience. This allows me to identify with those I lead rather than just to be a figurehead. I never speak down to people and I make sure to always keep my door open to allow for open lines of communication. When I choose to lead, it is because I am needed. I keep myself aware of what roles are needed at work, home, with family or in the community. When I see a lack of leadership or a request for volunteers, I make myself available. I tend to do well in stressful situations, so I often find myself as a natural leader in situations where others panic. What is most interesting to me is I tend to be needed as a leader in situations where others have more time to spare. For example, mothers who do not work always seem to be too busy. Yet, even with a busy schedule, work and a huge family, I am more capable and able. This, of course, goes back to my motto, which I shared earlier. Where I lead is everywhere! I enjoy using my experience and energy to make things better. It is better to be a part of making things happen then watching life happen to you. ALFN is an excellent platform for women to lead. Even if you are not experienced at leading, there are opportunities to learn to become a leader. When ALFN looks for someone to take on a task, I always say yes. What I find is that giving my time and energy to a group offers a lot more than not participating or just following the pack. I began volunteering a few years ago through one of the organizationâ€™s practice groups to better connect and share with my industry colleagues. From there, Iâ€™ve chaired groups and eventually ran for a seat on the Board of Directors, which has been a humbling experience to represent our members and help lead the organization. Next year, I plan to run again for my same seat and continue pushing this organization to its true potential.
t the outset of my career, I canâ€™t say that I initially sought out to consciously lead in any manner. It was through the interactions with other women attorneys that I realized the need to continue to grow the number of women leaders in the legal community. From that, I started to seek leadership opportunities that were available through the Bar Associations and charitable organizations that I was a member. However, it was the current opportunity presented by Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP in 2011 that led me to where I am today. I was at a crossroads in my career and the decision came down to whether to stay in private practice or take a different route. I had never had the opportunity to lead within a law firm setting prior to this despite having positions where I was deferred to for my opinion and experience. It was at this point that I decided it was time to move to the lead on yet another front in order to develop myself into the type of leader and mentor that I had available when I was a young attorney. I am always working on how to improve my manner of leading, but I believe that personal relationships are key and communication must be open and honest. In the high volume and fast pace that is inherent in our industry, maintaining a positive attitude even in the face of adversity is a trait that I try to emanate to my team members. As the Supervising Partner in the Default Services Department, I find that I have to set an example as a leader every day. Whether through crisis or a morning meeting, my staff and attorneys look to me for guidance on how to handle cases, client relations, and substantive and procedural issues. I have 14 associates that I work hard to mentor and guide in their professional development as well as supervisors and leads that I strive to set an example for on a daily basis. It is well established at this point that the mortgage industry as a whole is by far light years ahead of other industries when it comes to the number of women leaders. I believe that this can only help us as a whole as this concept will strengthen all of our goals and aspirations when it comes to issues we face such as equal pay and better working environments. Change is inevitable and it will become apparent what companies or associations are not on board with this growing concept that women leaders will continue to grow in numbers.
CONTACT NATALIE NGRIGG@WOODSOVIATT.COM
WHETHER THROUGH CRISIS OR A MORNING MEETING, MY STAFF AND ATTORNEYS LOOK TO ME FOR GUIDANCE ON HOW TO HANDLE CASES, CLIENT RELATIONS, AND SUBSTANTIVE AND PROCEDURAL ISSUES.
Natalie Grigg SUPERVISING PARTNER, WOODS OVIATT GILMAN WILL Leadership Team Chair, Default Services Practice Group JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient 2015
ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 17
CONTACT MARYANN MARYANN.MACK@ROSENBERG-ASSOC.COM
DURING THE TIME THAT I HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH DIANE, SHE HAS SERVED AS A ROLE MODEL TO ME AS I SEE HOW SHE SUCCESSFULLY BALANCES HER INVOLVEMENT IN EVERY ASPECT OF HER PRACTICE AND OPERATIONS.
chose to become a member of the WILL board to encourage women in our industry to get excited about our newly-founded member group within the ALFN. I believe that our goal of empowering women in the mortgage servicing industry to better themselves, both professionally and personally, is an inspiring mission that we can all support. Being involved has helped with my professional growth and has fostered valuable relationships with amazing women in our industry; it is refreshing to talk openly about common issues and resolutions, especially in such an open and collaborative environment. Organization, efficiency and knowledge are all core components of my leadership style. My leadership skills are put to test daily while contributing to my law firm’s management, strategic business development and in enhancing relations with our clients. As a leader, I encourage the use of meeting agendas and follow up minutes for meetings and being well prepared with facts and circumstances to assist in the decision making processes. At this point in my career, working for a woman-owned business and alongside an amazing leader inspires my leadership style. Diane Rosenberg is approaching her fifteenth year at the helm of her own firm, Rosenberg & Associates. During the time that I have been working with Diane, she has served as a role model to me as I see how she successfully balances her involvement in every aspect of her practice and operations. She is an engaging and approachable leader and I commend her on her expertise and decisiveness in leading the firm through such a turbulent and uncertain cycle in the mortgage industry. When meeting with clients, I have witnessed their surprise first-hand when they meet and say to her, “You are THE Rosenberg?” She also says that people ask her, “When did your father (or uncle) start the firm?” We often laugh about this but it certainly exemplifies the obstacle women, as leaders and business owners in our industry, still need to overcome. It is my hope that with efforts like WILL, the excitement and attention its garnered from women across the industry, and with the full support of the ALFN behind us, we can carve out a serious and substantial place for women in our industry today and for those who will follow us. It’s important to hold on to the gains made and to keep our eye on further inroads as our industry matures and contracts.
Maryann Mack DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & CLIENT RELATIONS ROSENBERG & ASSOCIATES WILL Leadership Team ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 18
Nicole Noel ATTORNEY, KASS SHULER
Co-Chair, Bankruptcy Practice Group JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient (2016)
s the mother of a two year old daughter, I believe it is important for girls to have strong female role models and to understand that there are no limitations on what you can accomplish if you work hard and put in the sweat equity. I enjoyed reading from an early age and often found inspiration in strong female characters. As I grew up, I still found myself looking up to strong female role models, but found them in my mom, teachers, friends, and colleagues. I strive to be an inspiration and role model for the next generation, not only in my professional career, but also taking the time to mentor and foster future leaders. As more women break through the glass ceiling, there is an increased need for women in leadership roles. It is not enough to be given a seat at the table, we need continue to push limits and challenge preconceived notions about women’s role in the industry. A long-time friend once told me “If you have to tell people you are a leader, then you’re probably not.” I took this saying to heart. I lead from behind by being willing to help out in a crunch or volunteering to take a project on in a time of crisis. A true leader will not ask others to do things that they themselves are unwilling to do. The leader should be the hardest working person on the team as the other members will take their cues from them. Our communication skills are always evolving as our livelihood depends on being able to communicate in an effective and persuasive manner. However, interpersonal communications versus court pleadings require a person to listen more and speak less. By understanding the style and needs of the person you are communicating with, you will be better able to communicate and work towards a common goal. I am a strong type A personality, so I often have a hard time saying no to opportunities. This has led to some amazing opportunities, but I have tried to narrow my pursuits to things I am genuinely passionate about. I am an adjunct professor at a local undergraduate college where I teach paralegals the finer point of Bankruptcy and Civil Litigation. I currently Co-Chair the Bankruptcy Practice Group for the American Legal and Financial Network. Participating in the ALFN has given me so many opportunities to lead, not only among banking and servicing clients, but also with my fellow lawyers and industry professionals. I also participated in the Leadership Academy for the Florida Bar. This was a one year program where 40 lawyers from around the state participated in monthly training sessions centered around developing as a leader and developing ways to give back to the Bar as whole. As a creditors rights’ bankruptcy lawyer, I am also passionate about advocating for the mortgage default industry as a whole and moving our industry forward in terms of developing and litigating creditor friendly case law and local practice. I work hard to inspire trust and confidence in clients and colleagues and to go the extra mile, not only as a leader, but also in role of a true team player.
IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO BE GIVEN A SEAT AT THE TABLE, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO PUSH LIMITS AND CHALLENGE PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS ABOUT WOMEN’S ROLE IN THE INDUSTRY. . NICOLE CONTACT NMNOEL@KASSLAW.COM
Kelly Gring ATTORNEY, GLASSER & GLASSER
Board of Directors, Appointed At-Large Seat Outgoing Chair, Junior Professionals & Executives Group (JPEG) JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient (2014)
hile learning is best done from a variety of people with different styles and viewpoints, some of the most influential leaders in my life have been those to whom I can really relate. I’ve had many mentors who were so different from me – awesome and inspiring, but when there was a “normal woman” who managed to succeed professionally while living a “normal life,” it made me believe I could achieve that one day. The infrequency with which I encountered such leaders in my own professional life drew my attention to the void of women leaders around me. I want to add to that pool of “normal women” who can succeed professionally without sacrificing their life, in an effort to make it the norm, instead of the exception.
MY PREFERENCE FOR LEADING IS EVERY DAY, WHEN THINGS ARE BUSY, AND WHEN THINGS ARE CALM OR WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING.
CONTACT KELLY KGRING@GLASSERLAW.COM
By being an example, by working hard, and most importantly not asking or expecting someone else to do something I haven’t, can’t, or wouldn’t do myself. My leading style has more to do with performance than interpersonal skills. Part of being a leader is knowing what you are good at, and what you aren’t good at – and letting someone else lead in the latter areas. My preference for leading is every day, when things are busy, and when things are calm or when no one is watching. The best leaders are consistent, reliable, and do not make excuses – they just find a way to get things done. Honestly, some people shine in a crisis, and if I have one of those people on my team, I like to let them lead at that time. There are certain opportunities where I have an advantage and may be “set up” for success better than someone else. In those situations, I think leading sometimes requires stepping aside, or speaking up for those who may need the extra boost of confidence, instead of promoting oneself over everything else. I strive to lead in the arenas where women haven’t been leaders traditionally – for me, that means at my firm, in our industry, and in the courtroom. Adding the young, female perspective to our organization and the legal practice as a whole will only enrich our group, and make it attractive for younger persons of all types to join – keeping us relevant!
strive to be a diplomatic leader, using strong interpersonal skills, to achieve required, and self-imposed, goals. Specifically, I have over eight years of extensive experience in the management and performance of servicing operations, including foreclosure, loss mitigation, process and procedure development, staff training, compliance and customer service. Many of the intangible skills I possess were refined during the mortgage crisis. As such, I quickly became adaptable to a number of dynamic work environments which demanded precise time management and organizational skills as we were forced to rapidly prioritize and manage multiple objectives within volume goals while complying with complex and extensive compliance standards. I was given the opportunity to lead several years ago; it was an opportunity I have never taken for granted. I strive to lead by first serving, helping out wherever I am needed, and never thinking I am above the work that my staff completes on a daily basis. I also think it is very important to make sure they buy into the vision. Having a fully vested staff does wonders for your portfolios, it creates an environment of ownership and accountability. My staff both onshore and offshore has a voice and I respect all that they bring to the table. Earlier this year I was recognized as part of the JPEG: Picture the Future program, an ALFN commendation that identifies emerging young leaders. I was humbled and grateful to be a part of such an esteemed group of young professionals recognized for our commitment to the industry and emerging leadership roles. One lesson I learned as part of that experience was that we never lead alone, you’re always going to be part of something bigger than just you and it’s so vital to reach out and work with those across our industry, in our organizations and even with those whom we compete. That’s how we become our very best.
CONTACT TONIQUA TONIQUA.GREEN@NATIONSTARMAIL.COM
I STRIVE TO LEAD BY FIRST SERVING, HELPING OUT WHEREVER I AM NEEDED, AND NEVER THINKING I AM ABOVE THE WORK THAT MY STAFF COMPLETES ON A DAILY BASIS.
Toniqua Green ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT, FORECLOSURE TIMELINE, NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE Mortgage Servicer Membership Meeting Leader JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient (2016)
ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 21
CONTACT VALERIE VMNELAN@BAKERDONELSON.COM
. . . MY GOAL IS TO HELP THE WOMEN I WORK WITH ACHIEVE THEIR PROFESSIONAL GOALS. THIS TAKES MANY SHAPES, BUT OFTEN INVOLVES MAKING CERTAIN WOMEN ARE WELL-REPRESENTED . . .
s a business development manager with Baker Donelson, I’m more of a behindthe-scenes person. So my goal is to help the women I work with achieve their professional goals. This takes many shapes, but often involves making certain women are well-represented in pitch teams, positioning them for official or unofficial leadership roles in the firm, and actively connecting them to business development opportunities with new or existing clients. In a sense, I work hard to lead from behind. Part of my role is to maximize the memberships and other industry opportunities for our firm so I regularly double (and sometimes triple) check that our attorneys are in a position to speak, write and otherwise be visible through organizations like ALFN. I also try to look broadly at what the association is doing and offer to leverage our connections and other practice areas to benefit of other ALFN firms, to that end we’ve worked some of our political connections to draw high profile speakers to ALFN events like former members of Congress. My joke is that I rely on lawyers’ sense of personal guilt to ensure they’ll take action on whatever business development-related item we have discussed. But in reality, I lead by listening to the attorneys with whom I work, and then working hard to ensure that they have every tool I can arm them with. Personally, I’ve volunteered and Co-Chaired the Conference Planning Committee, again a behind-the-scenes kind of role, but the job of selecting content and other directional and thematic choices we made truly impacted all of the attendees at ANSWERS. From a leadership perspective, we took a hard line when we committed to expanding our content focus to cover the full audience of mortgage servicers, law firms and ancillary service providers. We also worked hard to ensure an improvement in speaker and presentation quality. Those efforts are not always front and center, but then again, the real work typically happens behind-the-scenes and that’s where I’m happy to help so that our attorneys and subject matter experts can excel at what they do best—educating, advising and guiding our clients through thorny and complicated legal issues.
Valerie Nelan BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, BAKER DONELSON Conference Planning Group Co-Chair ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 22
Amanda Green VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS & COMPLIANCE, SHAPIRO KREISMAN & ASSOCIATES WILL Co-Chair JPEG Co-Chair JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient (2014)
did not necessarily choose to lead, very early in my life I made choices to make a difference in whatever organization I was with. Constantly seeking ways to better myself, my co-workers and my employer. Always looking for ways to improve the process, the environment and the work product or service my company offered. While my job title has changed over the years one thing has stayed constant, I have never asked anyone to do something I wasn’t willing and able to do myself. I start each day with three goals, to learn something from those around me, to teach someone something new, and to empower someone else during my day. I think this is what makes me a Leader. Experience has taught me that the best way to lead is by example, which demonstrates integrity and the willingness to hold oneself to the same standard expected of others. I choose to lead at all times. Being a leader is like being a Mom. It’s an integral part of who you are as a person. I think a good leader recognizes when to take charge and lead; but also recognizes when to step aside and follow. I have been fortunate to have great mentors in my educational and professional life who not only taught me, they also empowered me and then knew when to get out of my way. Recognizing when to do that is an important element of successful leadership. I’ve been involved with the ALFN for years, but really went deep into volunteerism with the association when JPEG, our young professionals group was launched. I was a founding co-chair with that group for its first few years, then shifted my focus to another new ALFN group, Women in Legal Leadership (WILL) and served as the initial co-chair reserved for a young professional. I’d like to think that my involvement has helped the ALFN carve out a real and lasting space for young professionals to be visible, active and invovled.
I’D LIKE TO THINK THAT MY INVOLVEMENT HAS HELPED THE ALFN CARVE OUT A REAL AND LASTING SPACE FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS TO BE VISIBLE, ACTIVE AND INVOVLED. CONTACT AMANDA AVGREEN@LOGS.COM
NOW SERVING MORE POW Second Annual Women in Legal Leadership Summit April 3 in Washington, D.C. at the Westin Georgetown Registration Opens January 2017
Cathe Cole-Sherburn SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF DEFAULT OPERATIONS, TRUSTEE CORPS WILL Co-Chair
M MY EVER-EVOLVING ROLE NOW INVOLVES BEING MORE OF A MENTOR. I’M HELPING OTHERS TO LEARN ABOUT THEMSELVES, TO IMPROVE THEIR MANAGEMENT SKILLS, TO SET JOB PRIORITIES, AND TO BALANCE THEIR WORK LIVES WITH THEIR HOME LIVES. CONTACT CATHE CCOLE@TRUSTEECORPS.COM
y personal inspirations have always been my children. Raising three small kids as a single mother, I felt I needed to make an example of myself, and set strict standards and a determined work ethic for my children. I wanted to prove to all three of them that nothing could stop you, as long as you believe in yourself and are passionate about what you do. Each year, I had my kids write reasonable goals for themselves as part of their New Year’s resolutions. In June, we would revisit their goals to see what they’d accomplished and what they still had left to achieve. They’d then write a plan for the next six months to ensure they accomplished the remainder of their goals. It was important to me that my kids physically write down their dreams and establish a plan to accomplish them, so they could visualize their success. What was equally important to me was that I held them accountable to those dreams. To this day, even though my children are all adults now, I still ask for their resolutions every New Year. My personal motto is “I am only as good as my team.” To accomplish a successful team, you must ensure that you are surrounded by the most effective employees possible. It takes time, commitment, patience and lots of listening to encourage and shape a team member to be the best they can be, and you always have to be open to looking for ways to perfect your management strategy. I make it a point to never ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t be willing to do. If that means the task at hand is filing, answering phones, etc., then we all do it together! It also takes experience to know how to interact with each team member, or how to most effectively make a point to different people who may need to hear things in an alternative way. Letting your staff know that you care, that you’re there for them and are always willing to listen is crucial. How you lead is about setting an example and earning others’ respect. My ever-evolving role now involves being more of a mentor. I’m helping others to learn about themselves, to improve their management skills, to set job priorities, and to balance their work lives with their home lives. I never allow anyone to work on Sundays regardless of how busy we are, because everyone deserves at least a day off. I’ve always managed with an “open door” policy, which means that my team can speak with me whenever they want to. It’s also important to know when to seek out people to speak to them directly. I personally prefer to nip any concern in the bud early on before it turns into a bigger problem, which means no issue is too small to talk about! I do drive a tough ship, but my staff all knows where they stand with me at all times. It’s a cliché, but I do strongly believe that women can do anything they want to do! Women can lead wherever in this world that a man can; they just have to have the passion and desire to do so. The key lies in setting personal goals and determining to go where you want to go. There may be bumps in the road, but that is what makes you tougher, and that toughness should bolster your commitment to your dreams. The reality is there are lots of times that we have to sacrifice certain things in life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the sacrifice has to last forever. There’s no reason why you can’t just put a target on the back burner temporarily. You just have to have the determination and drive to get back to your goals and reach for them whenever possible. Stop procrastinating and start establishing your plan on how you’re going to achieve your dreams! Never let anyone convince you to settle for anything less!
y earliest leadership memory was when I was in 2nd grade, and the school principal told my mom “You know, she could run this school.” Perhaps it is because I am the oldest child of 4, or because I had to take a leadership role in my family at a pretty young age, but I have always felt called to be a leader, and set an example. As I have gotten older, my motive for leading has not necessarily changed, but it certainly has expanded. I knew early on that I needed to teach my kids to be leaders, and one of my proudest accomplishments is that both of my kids have taken that role very seriously and are already great leaders as young adults. Every good leader recognizes their responsibility to create more great leaders, and I am always looking for ways to do that, engage with people I can mentor, and find ways to help others succeed. While I have not perfected it in any way, I am committed to being a student of leadership. It really is not a destination – but more a path you take where you must continually improve. I make intentional effort to be an inclusive leader. I don’t like (or need) to make all the decisions or to choose every path. I feel like people are more likely to achieve success and be committed to results if they are part of the decision making process. Relationships are also very important to me. I want to lead with influence and impact - not authority. And because it is not always sunshine and roses, I recognize that leadership under stress is my biggest challenge, and something I will always have to work on. One of the ways I choose to deal with my leadership failures is to allow open and honest communication from the teams and people I lead when I am not being an effective leader. And finally, as a women in leadership – and a woman who has spent 25 years in technology and legal (both male dominated industries) – I am passionate about mentoring younger women who aspire to be great leaders, and want to learn from someone who still has things to learn, and has made her fair share of mistakes along the way. Mother Teresa said “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” May we all strive to create many ripples.
CONTACT DEBBIE DFOSTER@AFFINITYCONSULTING.COM
I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT MENTORING YOUNGER WOMEN WHO ASPIRE TO BE GREAT LEADERS, AND WANT TO LEARN FROM SOMEONE WHO STILL HAS THINGS TO LEARN, AND HAS MADE HER FAIR SHARE OF MISTAKES ALONG THE WAY.
Debbie Foster PARTNER, AFFINITY CONSULTING Chair, Associate Advisory Council
ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 27
CONTACT DEBORAH DEB.CARLILE@LENDERLIVE.COM
THERE ARE MANY WOMEN IN THIS INDUSTRY I ADMIRE WHO ALWAYS SHOW A TRUE LEVEL OF PROFESSIONALISM. I LEARN NEW THINGS AND GROW IN BUSINESS BY ASSOCIATING THEM . . .
here are many organizations in our industry, but none offer the opportunities within their organizations to get involved with women leaders as much as ALFN has done over the past couple of years. It is refreshing to have the opportunity to collaborate with women to understand the challenges and unique opportunities we have as females in the financial services/default market niche.
I began my career in the industry in 1992; and shortly thereafter became a single parent to a young son. This industry offers a tremendous opportunity for females to excel and grow in a career that is financially rewarding, and has allowed me to raise my son Garrett into the tremendous, gifted, intelligent young leader he has become. I have spent the majority of my career in the Title and REO Asset Management market niche’ and have a passion for coaching and mentoring particularly with industry “affiliates”. We all have a specific function within our companies and it’s critical for us to understand the role each party plays in our industry as a whole, and work together for the common goal. I have had the opportunity to coach, speak at training seminars and industry conferences and have a particular passion for working with the JEPG young professionals, REO Realtors and my many clients to help understand the role relationships have in creating successful business partnerships. I believe the most successful companies are those who build the strongest relationships. There are many women in this industry I admire who always show a true level of professionalism. I learn new things and grow in business by associating them, and at the same time having opportunities to be involved with JPEG & WILL allows me to collaborate with the next generation of female leaders and do my part to share my experiences and collaborate on how we as females can continue to grow and excel as financial services industry experts.
Deborah Carlile Holm VICE PRESIDENT, CLIENT RELATIONS, LENDERLIVE JPEG Mentor ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 28
Kristin Zilberstein SENIOR ASSOCIATE, MCCARTHY HOLTHUS
Co-Chair, Bankruptcy Practice Group
s an overachiever, I want everything that I touch to be the best that it can be. I come from a generation where our parents stressed that we should lead not follow. Also, I was taught that you do not allow yourself to become stagnant. Even when you have achieved a goal, I was taught that you should push yourself harder to make it better, to do better and to always continue learning. Most importantly, I am willing to take on new tasks even ones which are beyond my comfort zone. In many instances, my willingness to take on more responsibility has propelled me into a leadership role irrespective of whether that was intentional or accidental. I do not see many women in high ranking positions in corporate America. I want to see that change. I want my daughters to see that women can be anything and do anything that they set their minds to. When someone asks me a question, I do not just provide them with an answer. I also provide my analysis of how I reached that answer so that the next time the issue or a similar issue arises that person can hopefully resolve it themselves. Also, it gives that person a better understanding of what we do and why we do it. In addition, I think leading by example is important. For example, if I am not willing to put in long hard hours, how can I ask someone else to do it. Generally, I try to make myself always available for questions because I do not want the team to feel that they need to put something on hold waiting for me. By doing this, I am hopeful that the team works in much the same manner. I like to think that I am a natural leader. If I am in a meeting that I am not running, I like to observe before I engage. This helps me to determine where my two cents worth is best suited. If the meeting is mine, I am running as I think is appropriate. It seems to me that my style of providing my analysis along with an answer is a form of mentorship. I try to do this at every opportunity. I want every person on the team to succeed and grow in their knowledge and hopefully upward movement. This provides our clients with top notch customer service. Certainly in a crisis, I am a leader because I am that person who remains calm no matter what the situation. Lastly, there have been times when an opportunity presents itself for me to step into a leadership role, and I have run with it. I lead in all aspects of my life. As a Senior Associate, I am a leader and am constantly striving in that direction with my career. When I originally became a member of the ALFN Bankruptcy Group, my goal was to learn more and have a better understanding of the field across the country. This grew into my participation in webinars which in turn developed into my becoming a co-chair. As co-chair, my participation has expanded into being a panel speaker at Answers. At home, I am a Girl Scout Leader of two troops. In these positions, I hope to teach the next generation that woman can be anything that they want to be.
I LEAD IN ALL ASPECTS OF MY LIFE. AS A SENIOR ASSOCIATE, I AM A LEADER AND AM CONSTANTLY STRIVING IN THAT DIRECTION WITH MY CAREER.
CONTACT KRIS KZILBERSTEIN@MCCARTHYHOLTHUS.COM
Erica Fujimoto DIRECTOR OF DEFAULT SERVICES, AFFINITY CONSULTING GROUP
WILL Co-Chair JPEG: Picture the Future award recipient (2015)
eadership isn’t something I ever really “chose” to do. On the contrary, it is something I have always felt driven to do. I see being a leader more as a mindset than as a position. The leadership mindset is one that motivates and enables others to become everything they can be… whether they are meant to be leaders or whether they are meant to provide support from the sidelines. I measure my success as a leader in my ability to inspire others to be everything they can be, and although I am not always successful, it is part of who I am and something I constantly strive to improve.
THE LEADERSHIP AND SIDELINE CONTRIBUTIONS BY WOMEN TO BOTH WILL AND ALFN OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE BEEN TREMENDOUS AND IT IS EXCITING TO SEE WOMEN TAKING ON MORE LEADERSHIP ROLES IN THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE. CONTACT ERICA EFUJIMOTO@AFFINITYCONSULTING.COM
I have always felt the pull to be more involved in everything I do, and to lead by example. From an early age I realized that the more I was willing to make myself available to the organizations I was a part of, the more experience I was naturally afforded as a leader. I have found that even as an adult, the more I volunteer, the more opportunities I am given to have a positive influence, and that is really my goal. In terms of my volunteer activities, nothing is too minor. I have done everything from stuffing bags to assisting with registrations to speaking on panels at conferences such as ALFN Answers. The people I work with both in my company and in the organizations I belong to know that they can always count on me to help wherever needed. As a Co-Chairwoman in the ALFN WILL Group, I have taken on the added responsibility of co-editing the WILLed newsletter. I enjoy writing and editing, so this is not only a role I believe I am well suited to, but it is also another way for me to give back to the organization. The leadership and sideline contributions by women to both WILL and ALFN over the last few years have been tremendous and it is exciting to see women taking on more leadership roles in the industry as a whole. It is honor to be among these wonderful women leaders, and they actually inspire me to be a better leader myself. My hope is that we instill that excitement and empower other women to also step out of their comfort zones and join us in growing the number of women leaders even further.
CONTACT LINDA LFINLEY@BAKERDONELSON.COM
ears ago Stanley McCalla (founding partner of McCalla Raymer) chose me to take an important role at his firm and he took me under his wing. He was tough, but fair. From his mentoring, the will to lead evolved. I quote Stan frequently and the lessons I learned about leadership, management and client service from years ago hold true today.
My style is as a servant- leader. I will not ask anyone to do anything that I would not or cannot do myself. I will work to make sure that our attorneys reach their professional goals both within our firm and externally. However, I expect everyone from the newest attorney or staff member to the most experienced to step up, ask questions and provide superior service both internally and to our clients.
ONCE WE WERE AN INDUSTRY DEVOID OF DIVERSITY AND WE NOW LEAD WITH DIVERSITY.
I am chair of our firmâ€™s Consumer Finance Litigation and Compliance Practice Group and also serve as a member of the Firmâ€™s Board of Directors which gives me the opportunity to lead throughout the firm on a daily basis. The industry has changed greatly in the almost 30 years I have been privileged to play a role. Once we were an industry devoid of diversity and we now lead with diversity. Now our industry leads the way in diversity in our law firms, our organizations and with our clients. Diversity has become an important metric to our clients and as women we should continue to insist that we have a role in our firms, in our organizations and in the boardrooms across the country.
Linda Finley SHAREHOLDER, BAKER DONELSON Industry Grande Dame
ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 31
CONTACT CAREN CAREN.CASTLE@WOLFFIRM.COM
I HAVE BEEN PRIVILEGED TO HOLD SOME LEADERSHIP POSITIONS WITHIN OUR INDUSTRY, AND IN SOME INSTANCES WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO HOLD SUCH POSITIONS. I BELIEVE THAT WOMEN BRING A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE . . .
was fortunate to grow up in an environment in which I was taught that there were no limits to what I could do regardless of my gender. Education was stressed and my parents encouraged me to strive for my highest dreams, it was not a question of “if” but “when” and always with the highest of ethics along the way. My grandmother was the matriarch of our family, she was a widowed at a young age and raised 3 boys on her own. She was in many ways the leader of the family she married into. There was always a grace about her, quiet determination, but no doubt about her beliefs and rules (one must have a glass of milk with breakfast). She always encouraged us to be well rounded individuals, strong, educated, politically active, charitable, involved in the arts, moral, and the best at our chosen professions. It has been important to me to further these beliefs in women I know and work with. I hope I lead by example. I try to exemplify professionalism while being a strong human being, one who is not afraid to express her ideas and work for what she believes. I try to lead by being active in my personal and professional life, be present for others to see and hear. I don’t know that I consciously focused on women in leadership until much later in my career. It has been wonderful to see the changes in the number of women in the legal profession and more specifically mortgage banking industry over the last 35 years and as a result the focus has become more conscious as well as my understanding of the need for women to mentor and encourage those who come after us. I think that we have opportunities to lead every day in all of our interactions both professionally and personally. Whether I’m in a meeting at the office, speaking at a conference, or simply visiting with my children, there are opportunities to teach and lead. How we react to situations, treat each other, express our ideas, all ultimately are a form of leadership. How we handle or successes, but more importantly our failures, are often the best examples of leadership. I have been privileged to hold some leadership positions within our industry, and in some instances was the first woman to hold such positions. I believe that women bring a different perspective and leadership style to our industry. It is important that we continue to evolve and accept these different styles and perspectives. I want to continue to encourage women to be involved, be heard, and strive to hold leadership positions in their workplace, the industry organizations, and in life. We will all be better for it.
Caren Castle ATTORNEY, THE WOLF FIRM WILL 2016 Chair
ALFN ANGLE / PAGE 32
Liz Potter SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND MEMBER RELATIONS, ALFN WILL Founder
y inspiration is my daughter first and foremost. It is important to me and always has been to model a strong work ethic and leadership for my children and to show them that there are no limits to what you can achieve with hard work. It is also the determination of women I have met through this role in ALFN and in my career prior to ALFN leadership. So many women in the industry inspire me through their perseverance and fearlessness and of course through plain old hard work and long hours of it. Legacy is important to me and I am inspired to leave a positive legacy, something larger than an individual that will exist into the future to inspire others to demand equality and seek to grow as empowered women who lead for ourselves and for our daughters. I love working with groups and am so extroverted that I would much rather be part of a leadership team. The fact that I would rather talk something over with the team or my coworkers is no surprise I’m sure! I think we all lead and choose not to lead at various times. I am fairly calm in a crisis, for me that is when I get serious and determination sets in. I am solutions oriented. I want to fix things and move on and do not have a lot of patience for endless “deciding”. If I am in a daily interaction that needs decisiveness I will often offer a conclusion. As a co-founder of WILL, I hope that all the women in our industry will stand up and answer the call to lead and feel empowered to demand what they deserve. I want WILL to support them in that effort. Leadership is not just pointing the way and being the boss. Leadership is modeling the attitudes and ethics you want to see in others, and sometimes making the hard decisions whatever they may be. Leadership cannot be complacent and should never accept a status quo that is not acceptable. I want the members of this group to break new ground through WILL, to help our industry be more focused on the needs of women, pay equity and other and to rally around the empowerment of women. When WILL was just a dream- through all that it is now – a group over 260 strong wonderful women- and into the future, it is my utmost hope that through every WILL member’s participation in our events such as WILLPOWER this spring in Washington D.C., and all the many summits and things we will launch for WILL in the future, that this effort of ours benefits every member in her quest to be a strong compassionate leader.
AS A CO-FOUNDER OF WILL, I HOPE THAT ALL THE WOMEN IN OUR INDUSTRY WILL STAND UP AND ANSWER THE CALL TO LEAD . . .
CONTACT LIZ LPOTTER@ALFN.ORG
Stop spinning your wheels. Stop tackling new problems with old solutions. Yield better results for borrowers and investors. Go forth and prosper. REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
a new alfn event at the intersection of servicing + bankruptcy
FROM THE ALFN BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND EXECUTIVE TEAM
WE WISH YOU A HEALTHY, HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR
For Legal, Regulatory Compliance, Risk Management & Quality Assurance Professionals February 2016
Mortgage Software Is Only as Efficient as Your Workflow BY JORGE SAURI
T Jorge Sauri
Even premium mortgage software will fail to improve the transaction if it is paired with a conflicting workflow.
with features or even surveying the FinTech landscape. It should begin by looking inward. The key to discovering how technology can improve your organization’s efficiency begins by a thorough understanding of two components of your company’s workflow: it’s internal operations and borrower’s experience.
Generally speaking, the mortgage transaction is a 30-day process. While there are various requirements for different loan products, each mortgage contains the same six stages: pre-qualification, application, verification, processing, underwriting, and closing. Before it is possible to improve your workflow with technology, it is necessary to understand how your company currently operates in each stage of the mortgage transaction. Without evaluating and analyzing your current processes—and thoroughly understanding your opportunities for improvement—it is not possible to know which software features are best for your company. ∆
echnology plays a preeminent role in making the mortgage transaction faster, less expensive and more accurate. But even premium mortgage software will fail to improve the transaction if it is paired with a conflicting workflow. At best, incongruent workflows make great software unimpressive and, at worst, it adds unnecessary steps for employees. Mortgage software is most useful when it not only improves the borrower experience and internal operations, but reduces the labor of all parties involved in the transaction. To accomplish this, however, the software solution must meet the strategic needs of the company and the regulatory requirements put in motion by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The full benefits of technology partners are only realized when they complement a financial institution’s strengths, provide reinforcement in their weaknesses and anticipate compliance demands. When seeking new software vendors, your mortgage company should not begin by becoming enamored
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Winter 2016 issue of the ALFN ANGLE