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PAVING THE WAY FOR WORKPLACE EQUALITY INSIDE

A S K T HE E X P E R T S L E A DE RSHIP

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Published monthly by Twelve 11 Media, LLC 9720 Royal Lamb Drive Las Vegas, NV 89145 Phone: 512.879.4363 Email: INFO@MortgageWOMENMagazine.com www.MortgageWOMENMagazine.com

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OUR MISSION The mission of this publication is to empower women professionals working in the mortgage industry. The publication seeks to provide education and knowledge to give each professional woman key tools to achieve their highest potential possible and to enable them to take advantage of the opportunities before them. Through the magazine's networking and connection from readership, each woman has the opportunity to be inspired and extend that through mentorship-furthering achievements to the highest level positions possible in the mortgage industry.

SUBSCRIPTIONS This publication is for the benefit of professional women in the mortgage industry, including those professional mortgage women who own and/ or who are employed by the vendors who support the mortgage industry, and all professional mortgage women in the mortgage divisions of the State- and Federally-chartered banks and credit unions. If you do not currently receive Mortgage WOMEN Magazine, please go to www. MORTGAGEWOMENMagazine.com and subscribe. Mortgage WOMEN Magazine is a digital, bi-monthly magazine that is emailed to the subscribers. The subscription is FREE. For additional copies for your colleagues and co-workers, please visit our website at www.MORTGAGEWOMENMagazine.com and complete the online subscription form. To opt-out of receiving Mortgage WOMEN Magazine, please send your request along with your name, company name, and email address to: SUBSCRIPTIONS@MortgageWOMENMagazine.com.

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F ROM T HE E DI T OR The process of researching our feature article on sexual harassment ultimately shifted my perspective on how I believe we should approach the conversation and the urgency with which we do it. I believe this issue has a significant impact on women’s prosperity and is largely understated in our industry.

PUBLISHER | Ben Slayton BSlayton@Twelve11Media.com MANAGING EDITOR | Kristin Messerli KMesserli@Twelve11Media.com SENIOR EDITOR | Jill Emerson JEmerson@Twelve11Media.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR | Dawn Slayton Dawn@Twelve11Media.com NATIONWIDE ADVERTISING David Hoierman Hoierman@Twelve11Media.com PRODUCTION | Henry Suchman HSuchman@Twelve11Media.com DIGITAL MEDIA | Eric Souza Eric@Twelve11Media.com ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Stephanie Shipley SShipley@Twelve11Media.com COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS Christine Beckwith Leora Ruzin Jennifer DuPlessis Cindy Smith Vanessa Frisch Dana Wasson Valerie Gordon

MWM ADVISORY BOARD KRISTIN MESSERLI MANAGING EDITOR MORTGAGE WOMEN MAGAZINE LISA KILKA CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER, SVP GUILD MORTGAGE MELISSA KOUPAL VICE PRESIDENT LOAN INTEGRITY LOAN DEPOT REGINA LOWRIE PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER RML ADVISORS SARAH BOWERS, CRCM, CMB AVP/COMPLIANCE OPERATIONS MANAGER CORPORATE RISK MANAGEMENT UMB BANK DEBRA STILL PRESIDENT & CEO PLUTE MORTGAGE

In the past, one of my big concerns has been around inciting division against a group that holds the majority of power in our companies. As I mentioned in the article, one executive told me directly that he would not be hiring more women due to his experience with someone coming forward with a sexual harassment case. However, these barriers should not deter us from making bold moves toward progress. We must collectively raise our voices together to put a stop to discrimination and inequality in every area of our organizations. Simone Grimes’ case highlights a prime example of how sexual harassment is often tolerated and even reinforced in organizations. Do we continue to allow sexual harassment when the harassment is not physical? Do we take it seriously? Ms. Grimes’ case and numerous studies tell us we should. Up to 85% of women have experienced sexual harassment at work, and women’s wages are depressed as a direct result of sexual harassment and power imbalance. I understand this is a complicated and nuanced subject to say the least, but there are real lines we can draw that would encourage and empower women in our companies. The complexities and uncomfortable nature of the conversation should not keep us from having an open and productive conversation, changing our policies to properly serve the needs of victims, and intentionally hiring more women and diverse talent in leadership. My hope is that through Simone Grimes’ story and her relentless pursuit for equality, we will open the dialogue for a deeper conversation about how we address sexual harassment and gender parity in the workplace. We need to create a safe space for women to speak up and a safe space for men to talk about their fears and questions. I hope you will find this article helpful in continuing this conversation, along with the many quality contributions on leadership in this issue. Please feel welcome to provide your comments and questions in our community. Let’s continue to have open dialogue and make this issue a priority in our industry.

Sincerely,

BECKY WALZAK PRESIDENT & CEO RJB WALZAK CONSULTING SUE WOODARD PRESIDENT & CEO VANTAGE PRODUCTION, LLC JILL EMERSON SENIOR EDITOR MORTGAGE WOMEN MAGAZINE

Visit us at www.MortgageWOMENMagazine.com

Kristin Messerli Managing Editor

Mortgage WOMEN Magazine welcomes your feedback. If you have comments, questions, criticisms, praise, or information to share with us and our readers, please write us at info@Twelve11Media.Com.


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COV E R S TO RY

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26 F E ATU R E S 8 Micro-Actions: The Solution to Micro-Aggressions VA L E R I E G O R D O N

IN EVERY ISSUE 4 EDITOR'S FOREWARD

12 PAV I N G TH E WAY FO R WO R KPL ACE E QUA LIT Y An interview with Simone Grimes

18 Leading with Love ... Is It Possible? LEOR A RUZIN

22 Essential Leadership Skills for Growth VA N E S S A F R I S C H

26 Follow the Leader ... It iIsn't Just a Game We Play in Kindergarten DA N A WA S S O N

30 SALES FOCUS 32 ASK THE EXPERTS 36 CAUSE OF THE MONTH 37 BOOK OF THE MONTH 38 HOLISTIC WELLNESS 41 MORTGAGE MOMS 42 WOMEN OWNED BUSINESS 46 HER WORDS


MICRO-ACTIONS: THE SOLUTION TO MICRO-AGGRESSIONS BY VA LE R I E G O R D O N

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? s e k a c p u "C

YOU'RE COMPLAINING ABOUT CUPCAKES?"

I heard the incredulity inthe voice of a former male colleague, his takeaway from a Commander-in-She article titled "Everyday Sexism at Work" in which I compiled more than 30 micro-aggressions women commonly experience. Among them, my frustration at being asked to procure cupcakes for an office party despite being a senior member of the team. Also, the only woman on the team. There were plenty of employees my junior, all of them male. None of them were asked. So, yeah, I was a little miffed about that. And it made my list. He challenged me. With all the egregious behavior women at work have reported of late, I'm bothered by this?

YES, THIS. Among other things. At least 29 other things. I was clear that in no way do I equate the cupcake task with sexual harassment or threats of retaliation. There is no comparison. But let's be honest. The behavior of the Harvey Weinteins and Les Moonveses of the world has created such a phenomenally low standard of conduct that it makes all other issues seem secondary in comparison or, at worst, unimportant. Which is exactly my point. It’s challenging to effectively address such issues as gender equity in boardrooms, equal pay and the glass ceiling when we're simply grateful we're not dealing with being groped in the hallway or coerced into sexual activity in a closeddoor meeting. "An organization becomes the behavior it tolerates." My article documented infuriating micro-actions that, when added together, create a corporate culture that discriminates against women and hurts their long-term potential.

It's more than just cupcakes. It's how we speak about women. It's how easily we speak over them or dismiss them or assume they don't want career advancement if they have a family. It's jumping in to explain a female colleague’s point at a meeting (“What Jane is trying to say…”) rather than letting her make it and responding in support. It's praising a male employee for being a “good dad” when he leaves work early to coach his son’s Little League game but questioning a woman’s commitment to the job when she asks to work from home to care for a sick child. It's smiling at the vendor who acknowledges a female team member with “it's always good to have a pretty woman around” even though it makes us feel icky. It's the consistent narrative that women hold themselves back with a lack confidence - a problem they alone seemingly need to solve - without addressing the culture that creates that crisis of confidence. It's penalizing women for demonstrating the same quali-

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MICRO-AC TIONS: THE SOLUTION TO MICRO-AGGRESSIONS

ties that are praised in men and that often get men promoted. It's similarly excusing behavior from men that women are held accountable for (“George has such passion for this topic, that’s why he yells at his team.“) And it is asking the senior woman to get the cupcakes, take notes at the meeting or volunteer for yet another committee when we make no such obligation of men. While we are encouraged to speak up about overt discrimination and sexual harassment in the workspace, so too must we address the effect of these daily micro-aggressions.

HOW DO WE DO THAT? 1. Combat Micro-Aggressions with Micro-Actions - These are the small but solid ways to create a professional, equality-minded workplace. If you have men and women of all levels in the group, divide "housekeeping" responsibilities equally and reward the employee who takes them on. If Jane is being talked over at a meeting, amplify her voice with support, ("Hold that thought, John, I want to get back to what Jane was saying"). Don't simply encourage women to "lean in" and sit at the table, save them a seat. And if you're a man already at that table, make room.

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2. Re-cast Yourself in Your Story- Are you a mere bit player in someone else's plot or are you seeking a starring role? Too many women work hard, waiting to be noticed, then wonder why the opportunities for advancement go elsewhere. My favorite writer, Nora Ephron, once said "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." Stop bemoaning your fate or waiting for someone to hand you what you deserve. In my conference keynotes and workshops, I help women understand how they can be the heroine of their own story and create the plot points necessary for a successful next chapter. 3. Don't Make it a Competition- So you suffered worse in an environment even more sexist in the seventies? Don't belittle the concerns of others as a rite of passage. Use your experience to push for necessary change rather than insist others leap the same hurdles that once tripped you up. Your "been there, done that" attitude only demonstrates it wasn't right then and still isn't right now. Push for progress. 4. Consider MultiperspectivityIt's easy to downplay or disregard an experience that is unfamiliar to us. That doesn't make the other person's interpretation of that experience any less valid. Consider the technique of "multi-perspectivity" in fiction which uses multiple narrators, often

opposing voices, to illuminate different elements of the plot. Some books change narrative point of view between chapters - the reader experiences the book through the eyes of several characters. Successful businesses thrive on these types of diverse perspectives. Open your eyes to view a situation through someone else's lens. Everyone will be better for it. Micro-aggressions are small transgressions that can add up to create an ineffective or even hostile work culture. Micro-actions are small solutions that together foster a culture in which all employees have equal expectations and opportunity. Everyday Sexism is everyone's battle. When we finally conquer it, we can celebrate. Cupcakes for all. The guy who offers to get them gets an extra one.

Valerie Gordon is an award-winning television producer and the founder of Commander-in-She, a career and communication strategy firm that focuses on the power of storytelling. She believes there is an even greater story to be written in each of us and provides conference keynotes and group workshops for organizations looking to harness the power of women. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and IG @CommanderInShe and on Linked in: https://www. linkedin.com/in/valeriejgordon/


We’re proud to support the advancement of women in the mortgage industry.

At Freddie Mac, we’re thinking of smart new ways to reimagine the mortgage experience and build on our industry’s growth – and supporting and helping to advance women is key to all our successes. #LeadingTheWay focuses on moving past barriers and championing women in the workplace. Meet some of the Freddie Mac senior executives who are leading the way at Freddie Mac and learn more about the campaign: freddiemac.com/leadingtheway

The time has come to showcase women leaders to raise visibility, support inclusion and promote greater success across our industry. -Christina K. Boyle, Chief Client Officer


PAVING THE WAY FOR WORKPLACE EQUALITY PA R T 1:

INSIDE T HE F HFA SE X UA L H A R A S SME N T S C A NDA L A ND T HE GE NDE R P OW E R BA L A NC E IN 2018

T he mPower ne t wor k A N IN T E RV IE W

with

SIMONE GRIME S BY K R I S TI N M E S S E R LI

“My hope is that by exercising resolve and conviction in my case, I can be an example for others and encourage them to stand up for themselves. It has often been said that all great changes are preceded by chaos, it has become apparent to me that the #metoo movement is the chaos that must occur to create change.”


“Well, you probably want to know what I wanted to talk to you about,” Director Melvin Watt said, unaware he was being recorded. “I mentioned to you there is an attraction here that I think needs to be explored.” Sitting in front of the most powerful person in her professional career, Simone Grimes had no other way out. “I felt trapped and as though my back was against the wall because I was being ushered to him as the decision-maker no matter what other channels I tried to pursue.” Simone Grimes, Special Advisor at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), began recording conversations with Director Watt because she felt unsafe during their interactions. These recorded conversations would later serve to bolster her claims of harassment, retaliation and equal pay violations against Director Watt and the agency. In the last seven years, Grimes had risen up the ranks of the agency with outstanding performance reviews. In 2015, she was given the responsibilities of her predecessor with the promise that she would receive a pay increase commensurate with the promotion. Three years later, she still makes 70 cents on the dollar of what her predecessor was paid and is told the only man who can remedy the situation is the one who “has diminished me to an object,” as she puts it. From comments about how he would like to see her in a bikini to continual acknowledgements of his attraction to her, Grimes said it was always at the forefront of her interactions with him. She tried to bring him back to profes-

sional conversations, while carefully balancing the obvious power dynamic of his authority over her wages. When he asked about kissing a tattoo on her ankle in one recording, she responded, “Is that what we’re here to talk about? Because I’ve already told you I don’t want to have conversations like that with you.” Despite her attempts to steer the conversation, she says he repeatedly emphasized his exclusive ability to grant her the pay raise. “Is it better to go through a charade process to get you the job, or is it better for me to just give you the job?” When Ms. Grimes began filing complaints, she says she was faced with retaliation. She wished to remain anonymous through her complaint process, but her anonymity was not preserved in what she calls “a series of retaliatory moves designed to intimidate and bully me.” After calling a private agency hotline, the inspector general called Director Watt to inform him of her confidential complaint. The inspector general also unnecessarily named Ms. Grimes in a public record when filing a subpoena for the recordings. In a hearing in September before the House Financial Services Committee, Representative Al Green emphasized this in his statement to the inspector general, “I think that an injustice was perpetrated when she was outed.” “I never wanted to google my name and see ‘sexual harassment’ next to it,” says Grimes. “That’s not the kind of legacy I hoped to leave.” However, she says she will continue to advocate for herself and for the women who cannot speak up. “I know

it’s not just me.” “Once my name was made public,” Ms. Grimes shared, "I was contacted by dozens of current and former FHFA and FHFA OIG employees. I have been both surprised and saddened by the number of employees who have experienced similar mistreatment in public service. The agency and its inspector general have made a practice of using aggressive retaliatory tactics against whistleblowers and victims who come forward with complaints of harassment, discrimination, and abuses of power. “My hope is that by exercising resolve and conviction in my case, I can be an example for others and encourage them to stand up for themselves. It has often been said that all great changes are preceded by chaos, it has become apparent to me that the #metoo movement is the chaos that must occur to create change.”

* * *

One year after the #metoo movement went viral, nearly every male-dominated industry has experienced an influx of women reporting sexual harassment cases with newfound strength in believing their voices might be heard. “Own your voice” was repeated across the stage and from audience members at the recent mPower women’s event at the national convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Women are becoming more empowered to speak up. In October 2017, Harvey Weinstein, whose case triggered the viral hashtag, was dismissed from

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The Weinstein Company (TWC). Later that month, Kevin Spacey was dropped from his Netflix show, “House of Cards.” NBC news anchor, Matt Lauer, was fired after allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. Hundreds of men have been removed from their positions of power over the last year due to sexual harassment allegations. Despite the apparent progress, reported incidents of sexual harassment are only exposing the tip of the iceberg. One in four women report having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, according to a study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and they estimate that number may be as high as 85% when accounting for unreported incidents and varying definitions. In many cases, however, women can’t afford the financial, professional, and personal risks associated with coming forward with sexual harassment or wage disparity claims. If they do speak up, women will often settle for a non-disclosure agreement with modest compensation to avoid the financial burden and potential for retaliation. The EEOC documents that 75% of harassment victims experience retaliation when they report it. Ranking member of the House, Representative Maxine Waters, shared in her comments at the public hearing, “What women have come to realize is that many of the processes that are in place absolutely work against them being able to not only present their

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case but to fight for what they believe is justice and equality.” Historically, sexual harassment has not been taken seriously in workplace culture. Unless it involves physical assault, women are expected to tolerate unwanted advances and derogatory comments. “Sexual harassment is more than just physically attacking someone,” explains Grimes in a private statement. “It is also the comments that objectify us, the years of being denied profes-

sional advancement unless we agree to sexual relationships and the emotional and psychological stress that comes from the retaliation, often in the form of diminished pay, that inevitably follows the rejection of sexual advances by one’s superior.” In Ms. Grimes’ case, Director Watt’s comments about her body and his attraction to her were directly tied to her wages and created an unnecessarily burdensome work environment. In a recording referring to her with-


PAV I N G T H E WAY F O R W O R K P L A C E E Q U A L I T Y

held promotion, Director Watt states, “You didn't promise me anything, and I didn't promise you anything.” In Director Watt’s testimony, he says he did nothing wrong. Grimes describes her reaction, “I was personally shocked to hear Director Watt brag that he hadn’t physically assaulted me, as if he had exercised a degree of restraint that should be applauded. It clarified for me that he, and many others, think physical assault has to take place for a woman to have a legitimate claim sexual harassment. There are people who desperately need to be educated on what sexual harassment includes and the impact it has on the victims of sexual harassment.”

THE IMPACT OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON WOMEN’S PROSPERITY While companies continue to proclaim diversity and gender parity as a high priority, progress has been minimal. McKinsey & Co. data shows that women are asking for promotions and negotiating their salaries at near equal rates to their male counterparts, and they are statistically more educated. Yet they are still promoted at lower rates. "This disparity continues despite women doing their part," Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement. "The 2018 report shows that progress isn't just slow — it's stalled." There are numerous reasons why progress toward gender parity has slowed in recent years. Sexual harassment is one factor that is largely understated and overlooked as having a serious detrimental effect on women’s upward mobility. Women who endure sexual harassment are at a disadvantage, not only due to obvious discrimination, but also because of the toll that the work environment plays on one’s confidence and ability to perform. Women who experience sexual harass-

ment report increased anxiety and depression, lower productivity and poorer performance at work. The frequent response to Ms. Grimes’ story has been, “Why didn’t she just quit?” Most women do, which further depresses longterm earnings potential. Women who have experienced sexual harassment are 6.5 times more likely to leave their jobs than those who haven’t. “The act of harassing someone makes them feel demeaned, disempowered and of very little value,” said Grimes. She described the anxiety she would feel leading up to the twice weekly meetings she attended with Director Watt. “My attendance in those meetings began to drop.” For many women, particularly women with families, they decide the emotional and psychological burden outweighs the pursuit of a career or hopes of wage growth in a traditionally male-dominated industry. They forego their career momentum and settle for less compensation in exchange for more flexibility and a less burdensome culture. Grimes worries the FHFA will soon see a shift in women who choose to leave the agency. “I fear that the agency is setting itself up for a brain drain, where talented people leave,” said Grimes.

ADDRESSING GENDER DISPARITY WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION

If the onus is on the victim to stop sexual harassment and demand gender parity, organizations will

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continue to make slow progress in bridging the gap. There are several steps organizations can take to ensure a strong and vibrant place for women and men to work.

1. Sexual Harassment Filing Procedures Ms. Grimes never received a response regarding the completion of her agency investigation. She states in her public testimony, “The act of not providing a timely response to an aggrieved party of a harassment complaint serves the same effect as the harassment itself, it is dismissive, demeaning and serves to delegitimize the complaints and the complainant.” Human Resource professionals report that since the #metoo movement began a year ago, their sexual harassment claims have overwhelmed HR departments. In an interview with NPR, one HR consultant said her caseload of sexual harassment investigations had tripled since the previous year. HR departments often don’t know how to handle that kind of volume, and they are ill-equipped on how to process these complaints. “By the time your case is addressed, the problem is often in the rearview mirror,” explained Ms. Grimes. “If my case had not been against the head of the FHFA, I would still be waiting for answers, I would still be suffering from retaliation and I would not

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yet have received a hearing. Even with the profile that this case has received, the retaliation has not stopped and justice is slow.” For smaller companies, this is an even greater issue. Companies with less than 100 employees were significantly more likely to have problems with sexual harassment. One female survey respondent noted, “We don't have the resources or employees who are trained to handle these situations.” The EEOC has released a series of checklists that companies can use as a resource to ensure they are properly equipped to process HR complaints. Companies should evaluate their procedures and ensure they offer a safe and timely response to complaints.

when they are crossed. Companies need a safe space for women and men to talk about it openly and understand how to address sexual harassment in a way that improves relationships rather than ignites division. Esther Perel describes this open dialogue well in a video about “sex and power.” She says, “I think that what needs to happen is a place where men can speak about their confusions, where men can speak about their vulnerabilities safely... and for women to have a safe space to express their anger and resentment over the amount of acceptances of microaggressions they have had to deal with.”

2. Establish an Inclusive Culture

One of the negative consequences of the #metoo movement is the apprehension this has raised among men to mentor women. Men may also be less likely to hire women out of fear of sexual harassment cases. The President of a mortgage company shared recently, “I just can’t hire any more women right now.” After receiving a nervous laugh from his audience, he very clearly stated he was not kidding and shared that he would not put his company at risk by hiring more women. Unfortunately, this sentiment is shared by many men in executive level positions, and for an industry with very few women in executive positions, this does not fare well for women or business.

“It is a new day and it is a new time,” said Rep. Waters in her comments directed toward Watt. As demonstrated through the research cited in this article, a culture that accepts harassment and even derogatory jokes has tangible negative consequences. Managers need to facilitate an open dialogue about sexual harassment, offer better training and a frequent assessment of their workplace culture. Training and conversation on this topic should include the explicit definition of what constitutes sexual harassment, how to set and respond to boundaries and what to do

3. Mentor and Promote Women


PAV I N G T H E WAY F O R W O R K P L A C E E Q U A L I T Y

REAL PROGRESS HAPPENS WHEN A COMMUNITY COLLECTIVELY RAISES ISSUE TO AN INJUSTICE. THE #METOO MOVEMENT HAS SPARKED CHANGE BECAUSE OF THE COLLECTIVE VOICE OF THE WOMEN AND MEN WHO HAVE UNITED.

Allyson Zimmermann, executive director for Catalyst Europe explained, "When you see that there is a disparity of power in an organization, you see sexual harassment increase and when you see power shared across gender, you see harassment decreasing.” When industries or departments are dominated by one demographic, minorities are vulnerable. When boards and leadership are dominated by men, it can be easy to let sexual harassment become the norm.

4. Offer Equal and Transparent Pay Companies do not necessarily need to publish individual salaries, but they should offer a transparent approach to compensation. As noted in “The Modern Guide to Equality” by the Female

Quotient, “consider broadcasting compensation criteria, along with the formula used to calculate pay, bonuses, and raises.” CEOs should enforce equal pay because this encourages equal power. "As long as women are making a fraction of what men are making -- in whatever industry -- they're always going to be in the less powerful position," says journalist, Susan Antilla. When the power dynamic is equalized, women are more productive, engaged at work and loyal to their companies.

5. Put the Pressure On Why do some cases slip through the cracks and others don’t? This may partially be due to the level that a collective group unites on the issue. For example, philosophy profes-

sor, Thomas Pogg, was exposed for pervasive sexual harassment and retaliation. His harassment became an “an open secret in philosophy,” according to reports on his case. Yet, he remains at Yale and the philosophical community continue to debate on how to respond. In a similar case, astronomy professor, Geoff Marcy of University of California Berkeley, initially experienced very little consequences after his “open secret” was made public. However, colleagues and students rallied with a massive campaign to force his resignation. “Even if your institution doesn’t reject you for harassing students, your colleagues will,” as one reporter comments. Real progress happens when a community collectively raises issue to an injustice. The #metoo movement has sparked change because of the collective voice of the women and men who have united. In the current environment, more often than not, non-disclosure agreements are signed, women are paid for their silence, and sexual harassment and retaliation is swept under the rug. If businesses are going to undergo meaningful change toward gender parity, women and men must speak out against the injustice. Despite all she’s been through, Simone Grimes remains hopeful: “If we all continue to take a stand that eventually things will and have already begun to get better.”

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LE ADING WITH LOVE

Leading with Love

? e l b i ss o p t Is i BY LE O R A R UZ I N

BY LE O R A R UZ I N

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not your typical leader, especially when I look back on what got me to where I am today. I grew up in a home that was not filled with love. My parents fought nearly every day, and it often got physical. There was yelling, name-calling, door-slamming, fist-throwing. Me and my sisters did everything we could to shield ourselves from the nuclear storm, but sometimes it just wasn’t possible. We grew up often being fearful, and I personally felt that I would not amount to much. It did not help that my father would frequently reaffirm these feelings by calling me fat, stupid, or a mistake.

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LE ADING WITH LOVE

Fast forward to high school, and all I could think about was graduating, and getting away from all the pain. I wanted to get away so badly, that I graduated high school a full year early, so I could join the Army and move away. In fact, I had to get my father’s permission to join, because I was under 18. As he was signing the parental consent, he looked my recruiter square in the face, and said “I am only signing this because I know she is going to fail and come running back home”. You would think that his declaration would light a fire under me to go to Basic training and blow everyone away. Instead, I felt so defeated, and lacked any kind of self-esteem, that I nearly got kicked out of the Army. It wasn’t until my drill sergeant brought me into her office, put away the “hard” persona, and talked to me like a human being, that I was able to realize that I have so much to offer this world. She probably broke every rule in the drill sergeant book when she showed me compassion, but it was her who showed me that leading with an iron fist isn’t the only way to bring out the best in people. I left her office revived, and the boost in self-esteem propelled me to finish boot camp with expert marks across the board. It's been almost 20 years since I left the Army, but that drill sergeant’s kindness has stayed with me. I made the decision very early in my adult life that I will correct the course that my parents put me on; the course that ends up being

a vicious cycle of abuse, and degradation. I decided that I would raise my children in a home filled with love, respect, and kindness. I would treat my spouse as an equitable partner in our home. Lastly, I would lead those around me with the same respect, compassion, and openness. Here are a few things I have learned over the course of my professional career, both as an employee and as a leader.

MICROMANAGING IS NOT IDEAL It has been proven repeatedly that managers who drape over their employees like a wet blanket end up with employees who are afraid to think for themselves. Yes, there are some employees who need some additional hand-holding. Even in those situations, however, these employees are missing out on realizing their true potential. People need to have opportunities to grow, to fail, to soar. All that micromanaging accomplishes is employees who don’t respect their boss.

MAKE YOURSELF ACCESSIBLE TO YOUR STAFF

Managers who spend most of their time holed up in their office are missing opportunities to really connect with their employees. Those opportunities are needed for managers to know what is truly going on with the team. Even more, employees

need to know that their manager is not unattainable. Walk the floor every morning, have quick stand-ups at least once a week, keep the door to your office open, engage in team-building activities.

TRAIN YOUR “YOU”

When I was first put in charge of employees, I was terrified that I would be “shown up” by one of my subordinates. What if they produce better work than me, and I end up losing my job to this person? It wasn’t until later in my career that I realized that this is exactly what leaders should strive for. I had an employee who showed very early on that he not only had the acumen to do my job, but that he had the drive and passion to do it. I quickly realized that I have found my new “me”. I taught him everything I knew, and I was able to pass on much of my day-to-day tasks to him. This ended up being a winwin for both of us; my boss gave me more specialized responsibilities with my new-found free time, and my employee was able to achieve his personal goals. Don’t be afraid to train your eventual replacement!

BE AUTHENTIC

People in my close circle know that I am an emotional person. I can cry at the drop of the dime, wear my heart on my sleeve and can be overlyempathetic. While it is not ideal to lead with a cold hand, it is just as bad to be too emotional. With that said, I found it nearly impossible to turn off the emotion, so

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LE ADING WITH LOVE

I made the decision to just let my authentic-self show. I learned a few tricks on how to keep the tears from flowing and have found the fine line between being too empathetic and being in touch with the needs of my employees. The result has been the creation of a truly collaborative team, filled with people who see me as a human being, with the knowledge that I see them as human beings. They know that if they give me 100%, I will fight for them with the fierceness of a lioness.

HAVE FUN!

Work is tough, stressful, and filled with long hours away from our loved ones. The last thing I want to do is add to that stress by creating a stuffy office that is lacking any kind of character. It helps that I am a giant goofball, so

I have no problem with letting that goofiness out. As long as employees remain respectful of others by keeping offensive situations out of the office, and the quality of their work remains intact, there is nothing wrong with having a bit of fun. Engage in some friendly competition by having team-building exercises, such as cubicle decorating, costume contests, themed parties. I used to be afraid of being a leader, as I did not think I fit the mold of a traditional boss. When I tried to lead in a way that conflicted with my true self, I saw a negative result in the performance of my employees. When I made the decision to just be “me”, and embrace all that makes me awesome, the results were almost instantaneous. I truly feel joy when I can help someone overcome a fear, realize a goal, meet a challenge and beat it, or learn something

new. Helping others find their happiness means more to me than any award or accolade I may receive in my career. As I continue down my path as a leader, and I learn new and better ways to engage my team, I will remember that being “me” is perfectly acceptable. I do have something to offer this world, and I should never be afraid to share who I am with others.

Leora Ruzin is VP of Secondary Marketing for Guaranteed Rate, based in Chicago. She has been in the mortgage industry for over 11 years, and has extensive expertise in secondary and capital markets, compliance, and systems administration. Leora is a veteran of the United States Army, holds an Associates degree in Accounting from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelors degree in Business Management from Colorado Technical University. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

LEND US YOUR VOICE! Write for Mortgage WOMEN Magazine.

Let your voice and knowledge be heard by writing for us. Reach our audience of Mortgage WOMEN Professionals around the country.

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ESSENTIAL LE ADERSHIP SKILLS FOR GROW TH

Essential Leadership Skills for

h t w o r G

It was January 2015, I had just hired my very first loan officer assistant.

This was the first time I had to lead and manage a direct report. To say it was a learning curve would be an

Vanessa Frisch

understatement. I was immediately thrust into questions I had never dealt with or even contemplated. What keeps the team motivated? How do I hold them accountable? How do I clearly and concisely communicate the vision and the collective “why” for our team? I immediately felt overwhelmed and in over my head.

I failed miserably with my first assistant. I had no idea what motivated her, I tried communicating clearly my vision and “why”, but nothing seemed to work. I was dumbfounded because she was properly trained, had experience, was more than qualified, and had a track record of success in this role. What more could you ask for? After 4 months, she decided to work with another loan originator. I was shocked. But when I find myself lost, I consult my mentors and advisors. All of them said the same thing to me. They all said it was my fault because I failed to be a leader. That, was


ESSENTIAL LE ADERSHIP SKILLS FOR GROW TH

my first lesson in leadership, to take ownership. Shortly thereafter, I began to connect with successful leaders in and outside of my industry. I began reading every book on leadership that I could get my hands on. Anything to help educate me

TH E M O R E TR A N S PA R E NT YOU A R E W ITH YOU R TE A M , A N D TH E M O R E YOU K E E P TH E M I N F O R M E D W I LL H E LP R E DUC E TH E A M OU NT O F A SSU M P TI O N S PEO PLE M A K E . on how I could become better. I made it a point to connect with leaders from all perspectives: male, female, older, younger, minority and even those who are good parents! It was fascinating to see the different perspectives on leadership and the commonalities that kept coming up. I took copious notes at every meeting, lunch, coffee, or random encounter with the leaders I met with. For this article, I have distilled my lessons into what I call the 3 Essential Leadership Skills that can help you become a better leader.

1. HUMILITY I was blown away by how humble these leaders are. They all had a long list of amazing and notable achievements, yet, they never spoke about them. They let others do the talking while they focused on taking action. I was equally amazed by how well they listened and took the focus off them and instead focused on the people that they lead. This level of humility and constant self-reflection allowed them to adapt and evolve to new situations.

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2. COMMUNICATION Keeping communication simple, clear, and frequent was a common discussion. The more concise and detailed you can be, the better your team can execute. They do not rely on email communication and prefer face to face interactions. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and rowing in the same direction.

3. RELATIONSHIPS Every team member is different and knowing what motivates them and their goals helps you craft and tailor your message to get through to them. The more you know your team, the deeper you can connect with them which ultimately leads to more success. It’s not always easy to balance building relationships while still holding people accountable. The more transparent you are with your team, and the more you keep them informed will help reduce the amount of assumptions people make. In the end, you must own your successes and failures as a leader. That very decision, will set the course of your future to either be a story of success or a tale of mediocrity. Decide today which story you want people to tell about you and work each day to make that story, a reality.

Vanessa Frisch, a Sr. Mortgage Originator from St. Paul, MN. She’s passionate about ensuring her clients have the best mortgage experience possible and have fun! Vanessa’s first priority is her family and she has two young children (Giselle and Devan). You will find her at Giselle and Devan’s sporting events multiple nights of the week. In her free time she loves to adventure with her children, spends time with close friends making memories and enjoys a good glass of vino.


FOL LOW T HE L E A DE R…. I T ISN’ T JUS T A G A ME W E PL AY IN K INDE RG A R T E N Webster lists the definition for leadership as a noun: “the action for leading a group or organization.” But what if I flipped the switch and said, leadership has nothing to do with the hierarchy or position of anyone in a company? Leadership could then be considered the attitude assumed by those looking for something different, and thereby turning it into a verb. Now that is more like it! How many of us have had “leaders” that never actually do anything, but hold a title that symbolizes some importance? 26

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BY DA N A WA S S O N


FOLLOW THE LE ADER

The truest of leaders are individuals that recognize that they have a responsibility to action. To not only create, but also possess an emotional intelligence. The Harvard Business Review published an article a few years back that noted emotional intelligence is twice as an important as intellect or technical skills when considering someone for a leadership position. Imagine that – the smartest people in fact may not be the best leaders! For some of us, this is no surprise. I have often

worked for exceptionally smart folks through my career some who lacked skills I would have considered for leadership like Self-awareness for example or self-regulation. It is important for leaders to be able to perform realistic self-assessments, recognize mistakes or failures with self-deprecating humor and share a sense of confidence. With self-regulation, a leader will display thoughtfulness, integrity and be able to comfort with ambiguity. I would venture to say, that leaders

TH E TRU E ST O F LE A D E RS A R E I N D I V I DUA L S TH AT R E COG N I ZE TH AT TH E Y H AV E A R E S P O N S I B I LIT Y TO

action

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FOLLOW THE LE ADER

M Y FAVO R ITE C H A R AC TE R I STI C O F A LE A D E R I S TH AT TH E Y A R E N E V E R DO N E LE A R N I N G A N D A LWAYS S E E K I N G WAYS TO I M PROV E TH E M S E LV E S A N D LI F T TH E I R PE O PLE U P.

who control their feelings create an atmosphere of fairness and trust. Leadership should not be considered a onedimensional scale. In other words, bad isn’t on a parallel line to great or to illustrate: BAD-----------GOOD----------GREAT. We could all point fingers to a bad leader. Meaning they fall short in what most would consider attributes for leaders. And while there may be varying opinions on what makes a great leader and all you must do is search “leadership” in Amazon to return dozens of books on the topic, there are generally some things that we can most likely agree on. First, leaders should be customer obsessed! Whether that is an internal client, external or both. If you don’t have a passion for the people you are serving, it’s doubtful you will find true success or be followed. Ownership also ranks high on the list for me. Leaders should be owners – they think long term and don’t sacrifice long term value for short term results. Now there is a BIG statement, especially in the mortgage business, where many leaders are solely focused on that current origination volume. Leaders should also expect and require innovation from their teams and find new ways to simplify. My favorite characteristic of a leader is that they are never done learning and always seeking ways to improve themselves and lift

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their people up. I had mentioned Amazon earlier in this article, and frankly, I think we would be hard pressed to find a more demonstrated leader in any industry as Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. I read an article back about a year ago that noted Jeff to be a “role model customer centric leader” and thought, “What a powerful statement!” If we all could strive for the principles those types of leaders make up, what remarkable things could we accomplish in our own industry? While I named a few of the leadership principles I find necessary above, I also think hiring and developing the best talent, insisting on the highest standards, thinking big, having a bias for action and delivering results are key requirements for today’s leaders. Are we embracing these principles? Are we actioning ourselves if we aren’t? Are we prepared that if we don’t, we may be end up following the leader, instead of being the leader? As I have committed myself as a leader within my company and my industry, I am challenging myself as well as each of you to take a self-assessment and then act! Remember, the saying goes, “Most people don’t leave companies, they leave managers/leaders”. Let’s all work to be the leaders of industry and be followed!

Dana is a seasoned mortgage professional with more than 25 years of mortgage lending experience. She has a deep background in mortgage compliance and consulting in all channels of the mortgage business. Dana has been involved in numerous industry initiatives collaborating with the MBA and government agencies including HUD’s liaison program and MBA’s leaders program. She is a speaker/ presenter at numerous mortgage industry events including NMI Mortgage Lender Roundtables for the last three years. Dana is actively involved with Habitat for Humanity in her local area of Montgomery County Texas and lives with her husband and daughter.


SALES FOCUS

L E A DE RSHIP

A Love Affair

LE A D I N G A CU LTU R E O F LOYA L & TH R I V I N G PRO F E SS I O N A L S

BY C H R I S TI N E B E C K W ITH

For 21 of my 30 years in the mortgage industry I have been at the helm of some level of management in banking. I have come to discover that managing people is truly an art and a science. People are, by and large, in need of direction and leadership and welcome it. For those who seek guidance, a vision to follow with a road map, roadside assistance and even an at bay emergency responder, they will find all of that in their leader. They will also create a bond with that person, come to trust them as an advisor and ally and will undoubtedly follow that person loyally to and from the direction of necessary change and redirection of their employer’s plans. On the periphery are the people we see as outliers and one might argue the greater consumption of time, effort and patience. For me, these folks became my projects in my early years, I was determined to help them see the light, get in line and essentially right their ships. As my experience in leadership grew, I came to learn that this group could take most of your

time, deplete you of energy and motivation, while essentially derailing your focus and plan. At a nominal level in this group, I have however rendered some incredible turn around stories, helped with some “come from behind” victories for folks, very proudly. However, the cost of those small percentage of exceptional wins in this area, does not render a positive ROI in the end. Thus, now as an experienced and wise, even older executive leader I would warn managers new and growing into their leadership roles to forgo the efforts after a 1-2 trial effort if you do not see immediate self-correction with individuals that are falling short of hiring expectations within their job descriptions. So, let’s break what I’ve set down into some digestible bullets for up and coming managers. First, if you are a manager at any stage of your career I will share with you below and implore you to read more than once if necessary to retain, my tips that I consider to be five stars.

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“SYOU A L E S FCA O C UN S O N LY LE A R N F RO M M I STA K E S O N E O F T WO WAYS: YOU M A K E A M I STA K E YOU RS E LF A N D LE A R N F RO M IT, O R SO M E O N E E L S E CA LLE D A M E NTO R , M A N AG E R O R LE A D E R S H A R E S A N E X PE R I E N C E A N D LE SSO N YOU R E A D, H E A R , A B SO R B A N D A PPLY.”

MOR A L OF S T ORY: YOU C A N L E A RN F ROM SOME ONE E L SE ’S

m is tak e s!

‘ WISE E YE S- SE E YOUR WAY TO SUC C E SS’

TIPS TO MANAGING THE OUTLIERS: HOW TO STAY OUT OF THE GUTTER IN LEADERSHIP! First Steps for Correcting Faltering Employees

• •

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Assess your entire staff, find the low producing and/or challenged individuals on your team. Determine the percentage of these folks that you have overall. - If you have more than 30% you may have a problem with how you are hiring and may need to assess that part of your management. (That’s another article for another day)

BAD APPLES: Everyone gets a bad apple in the bunch. Your job is to decide if the bad apple can be saved without it corrupting the rest of the crop. Here’s some tips on quickly addressing negative or slowly decaying employees:

- If you are within the average realm of 2030 percent of people struggling to meet standards set for your company, then you at least you know you are managing a typical level of challenged employees. Build a plan with the individual that provides specific daily actions, focused prospecting time, determines distractions and prescribes remedies to those, anchors the plan with accountability check ins and tie it to an accountability partner. Set a time to review weekly progress and don’t skip it.

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• •

Determine if they are managing their struggle, strife, negative perception privately, vocally and/or professionally. Here in lies your answers to salvaging them truly. If a person can withstand redirecting from a dark place, they will likely be salvageable. Hold a “Come to me” meeting, for lack of better words, where you lay down the ground rules for helping them. This is a must for your team. Every day an individual is suffering in some way, however right or wrong they may be, you are risking the health of your entire crop. – Diagnose, Prescribe, Check In! Those are your steps. Make sure the person is clear on your expectations.

GOOD GUYS A GHOST: RECKONING DAY When you realize you have a great person who is a bad producer! Simply put, NOT FUN! When you have an employee, who is not performing as expected in a sales position and despite the fact he keeps showing up early for meetings and brings you


SALES FOCUS

a coffee every morning, the nicest guy on your team and is smiling and saying all the right things, doesn’t mean a thing if he isn’t producing. How to address the Nice Guy:

• • • • •

• •

Not Every Nice Guy is a Non-Producer. Not Every Producer is a Nice Guy. Nice Guys that aren’t producing need to be addressed. People on your team need to know that it takes more than coffee and punctuality to stay on the team. They need to see that their good to great production matters. You can have a talk with a “Nice Guy’ and make them understand, without being hurtful, that they are being measured on their production and draw their focus and eye sight to their own production and apply the plans outlined above. Make your meetings more frequent with non-producers Address production first at every meeting, making it the highest of priorities.

BAD EGG MANAGER- YOU ARE MANAGING MANAGERS AND THINK YOU HAVE A “BAD EGG” MANAGER:

• •

If employees are coming to you and sharing feedback on a manager, you must take it all in with a grain of salt, strip out the emotion, give it time to settle and then focus clearly on whether you have an issue. Don’t ignore trends. If someone says a manager is bad, he probably is. Ask questions to the employee that peel the onion layers back enough that you get to the real core of the issues. Remember there are two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle lies the truth,

but you must find the broken bones. Employees will be emotional if they don’t agree with management. People don’t like change. I’ve seen mountains of emotion over change and disagreement alone. Those are not warrantable reasons to think a manager is a bad one. You are looking for: lack of support, discrimination, verbal abuse, lack of confidentiality, sexual harassment, poor management techniques, opportunities to train your managers to be more professional.

WHY I FELL IN LOVE WITH LEADERSHIP: THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, COME TO FIND OUT! This feels like a college essay, “Write Why You Love Leadership” in 200 words. I digress. I wrote a book on this, that is how much I love leadership. In short, when you truly find a passion for mentoring, leading, motivating and lifting others, there are few things you will replace that with, that gives you the same return on your investment. Sure, people will tell you Leadership is exhausting, that it will draw off your energy, deplete you, disappoint you and challenge you. But on the other side of that “rite of passage to true leadership” lie the stories of victory. The Rudy stories, where your guy runs onto the field, no longer afraid, no longer on the bench, with all his glory will bring you to your feet and you will find yourself running pace with a smile, with your heart beating out of your chest like watching your kid taking their first pedals of their learning to ride a bike and you will beam. You will reflect on all you taught them. You will watch, inspired, in awe of what you have done. Because as we all know as leaders when you help someone else take flight, watching them soar is truly a love affair with leadership.

Christine Beckwith is a 30-year mortgage industry veteran who has broken many glass ceilings and blazed a trail for many female professional generations to come. This year she was featured in the 2017 Mortgage Professional America magazine as one of the top 75 women in the mortgage industry.

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ASK THE E XPERTS

Some are born leaders, some achieve leadership, and others have leadership thrust upon them…isn’t that how the saying goes? Although this is a bad rip-off of a great quote from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”, it sure seems to ring true for many leaders I know. Having been in the mortgage industry for my entire adult life, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with some truly amazing managers and leaders. And one thing I found they all have in common? They are stu-

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dents of other great leaders. So whether you are an aspiring, inspiring, or just plain perspiring leader right now – you’ll benefit from this collection of guidance from some of the very best in the business. My challenge to YOU is not only apply this wisdom to your own path, but also share this article with a few others who possess intellectual curiosity, spark, and desire to lead!


ASK THE E XPERTS

Lori Day | SVP Director, Alerus Mortgage: I have had the good fortune to lead and develop people for the majority of my career. I focus on hiring and retaining top talent and then provide them with support, training and technology to do their job at the highest level. If you currently lead others or aspire to lead, see the good in every person and know that they come to work each day wanting to do their best work. Work to help them achieve success in whatever way you can. Words of encouragement or coaching suggestions can lift employees to the next level. At the end of the day, humbly remember that you don’t create success, your team does. Lesley Springfield | VP Marketing Manager, Fidelity Bank: I believe that to be a successful leader you must follow 2 steps. First, you must have confidence within yourself and your ability to lead. Yes, there will always be times when you do not have every answer or you have your own questions, but that is okay. Leadership is accepting your strengths and also knowing when to ask for help from those around you. Second, you must respect your co-workers. People cannot operate successfully if the work environment is toxic. Encouragement and respect are key factors for building positive relationships with those around you. Through the combination of self-confidence and respect for others, you will be able to lead and manage your team and business successfully.

TH RO UG H TH E CO M B I N ATI O N O F S E LF CO N FI D E N C E A N D R E S PEC T F O R OTH E RS , YO U W I LL B E A B LE TO LE A D A N D M A N AG E YO U R TE A M A N D B US I N E S S SUCC E S S FU LLY. Kristin Brabants | VP Retail Marketing, LoanDepot: I manage teams located in offices across the country which can sometimes be tricky due to time zones and lack of face-to-face interaction every day. To better connect with them, I’ve aimed for weekly meetings with the teams, as well as weekly one-on-ones with my directors and managers. It helps me communicate important info and updates to everyone all at once and ensures they’re all hearing the same message straight from the source. My teams have also used these meetings as opportunities to keep each other in the loop on what they are working on, what they are learning and what they have questions on. Beth Keckley | VP Marketing, Bemortgage: I believe that effective leadership consists of following a few best practices, starting with hiring. When you are building a team, it’s important to hire people who excel in areas where you are weak, so that collectively the team is stronger. Then, once hired, be sure to provide your team with overall goals, context and direction for each project, help them to establish priorities and then stay out of the way so they can execute. I have found that if you develop trust in your team, they will develop trust in you.

Elizabeth Hillestad | VP, Director of Marketing, Eagle Home Mortgage: Trust. People have placed their trust in you. Show them you have their backs. Put the team before yourself. When you’re wrong, take responsibility. When you win, give credit to the team. Stability. Your team is looking to you for cues of how they should react to fear and uncertainty. What you do will have far greater impact than what you say: When everyone is stressed, be calm. When they’re out of gas, you inject the fuel. When they’re complaining, be a force of positivity. Compassion. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. People need to feel heard, understood, recognized and appreciated, especially during rough patches. Encouragement. A word of encouragement during failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. Hope. Communicate often and honestly. Honesty is sometimes imperfectly expressed. Strive for authenticity over perfection. Be the kind of leader that you would follow.

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ASK THE E XPERTS

Janet Orozco Feller | Director of Marketing, Franklin First Financial, Ltd.: One of the most important things I’ve learned about effective leadership is to follow my intuition. In this high-tech world where data and information abound, the intuition is often ignored or pushed down as unreliable. I know from experience though, that when I’ve failed to listen to my gut, I’ve usually regretted it. When faced with a tough decision and especially in periods of high stress, I tap into my intuition by quieting my mind. The best way I’ve found to do this is to practice regular meditation. If I meditate, then bring the problem to mind, I usually get a gut feeling one way or the other. This doesn’t mean I ignore the data and the information, but I count the intuition as just as important a factor. Of course, like everyone else, I’m a work in progress and by no means the expert on tapping into my intuition. I have learned, however, that the more I respect this process and follow my instincts, the easier the process becomes and the better my outcomes.

Coleen Bogle | Director of Marketing and Communications, Draper and Kramer: Celebrating a decade in management this December, I’ve worked incredibly hard and have overcome my share of challenges as both a female manager and working mom. I have stayed true to myself and pushed to make sure my voice has always been heard. As a manager, I empower my team members to be their best, encourage collaboration and promote cross training to ensure they are well rounded and support one another. I lead by example, exude passion and energy, use humor, exercise empathy and above all, over-communicate. A true leader must be an expert communicator, and I have continually mentored my teams and peers to communicate more effectively by picking up the phone and talking through both the good and the bad so there are no uncertainties. Email/ text/IM are great, but nothing should replace verbal communication which strengthens relationships and inspires new ideas.

B U I LD I N G A TE A M O F S M A RT A N D M OTI VATE D PEO PLE CO M E S FRO M M O R E TH A N J US T A G R E AT H I R E . IT CO M E S FRO M FI N D I N G PEO PLE W H O H AV E TH E A B I LIT Y TO AC H I E V E G R E ATN E SS A N D TH E N LE A D I N G TH E M TO IT.

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Maria Boladian | VP Marketing, iServe Residential Lending: My greatest success as a leader has been my ability to recognize a person’s inner strength. Finding that inner strength can be challenging, but once it’s identified, focusing on it and pushing for more, inevitably makes a person feel empowered. Ultimately a happy, motivated and loyal team member is gained. That person becomes someone who strives every day to achieve for themselves and for their job. Building a team of smart and motivated people comes from more than just a great hire. It comes from finding people who have the ability to achieve greatness and then leading them to it. Michelle Galvez | Director of Marketing and Communications, Lend US: It’s important to me to find a balance between serving my company and its employees – always favoring one over the other really does both a disservice. In most situations, I can figure out the right approach by identifying the company’s desired results, then putting myself in the employee’s shoes. Which is easy because I’ve been in their shoes! So I manage the way I’d want to be managed. I set expectations, trust, guide, critique and praise. If I were to find myself thinking, “I would hate if my manager did/said that to me,” then chances are my team members would think the same. And that’s not likely to get the results we’re looking for.


ASK THE E XPERTS

Marie Gayo | President, Trident Mortgage: Recently, a senior member of my management team forwarded me an article on the experience and how to create that indelible memory. On the topic of your teams, how do you create the experience for them? True leadership is about defining a level of expectation but also creating an experience when it comes to engagement and interaction. What amount of time do you spend interacting with your staff? When walking through the floor, how many people can you greet by name? When engaging, do you meet them eye-to-eye? Do you know what they do? Do you generate conversation asking how things are going? Are you able to incorporate a personal inquiry (i.e., how's your daughter's soccer season shaping up?). Connection is paramount to building rapport, trust, and simply - getting to know people. You won't always capture every employee. There are those that are un-engageable and are skeptical of their leaders... at times being disengaged is a safe haven for them. But as leaders, take the time to find ways to connect in a personal way. Take the time to find methods to be approachable and promote engagement. Even if you aren't able to connect as you walk the floor, keep your door open and allow them to approach you. As a leader, it will help you identify those staff members who are committed to this business and the company they serve. The personal interaction will also help you identify those emerging leaders beyond the resume and notable accomplishments. It starts with YOU.

Melissa D Stewart | Vice President, Marketing/Communications Group Manager, US BANK: Bring your whole self to you work every day. If you think of your job as part of your life, and share yourself with the team you work with, not only will you be happier every day, but everyone around you will work in a more open, trusting, and collaborative environment. My team understands my strengths, and my weaknesses, both professionally and personally - and because they see all of me, we have a deeper level of trust which allows me to lead the team forward. Melody Warren | Senior Marketing Manager, Envoy Mortgage: I thought about the greatest leaders I’ve encountered in my life and naturally I don’t just like them, I love them. Why is that? What makes you value a person, boss or a mentor? Chances are, it’s because they took an interest in us, spent time developing our careers or lives and made us feel loved, valued and important – at least that’s true in my experience. There are several attributes that are fundamental in all effective leaders: self-discipline, perseverance, character and vision - but I believe one of the greatest qualities successful leaders can learn and develop is ‘how to love’. Leadership is not about how to be the best, it’s about how to pull out the best in others. How do you do that? By loving them first. If you want to be effectual in leading people, be intentional about loving them. You can love them or you can lose them! “If I comprehend all the mysteries and have the strength to move mountains but have not love, I am nothing.”

LE A D E RS H I P I S N OT A BOUT H OW TO B E TH E B E S T, IT ’ S A BOUT H OW TO PU LL OUT TH E B E S T I N OTH E RS . Zoya Farooqui | Operations Manager, Guaranteed Rate: An effective leader is conscious of their influence on others. Managing a team can be challenging if you are not willing to learn about the people you hope to inspire toward a collaborative goal.

That’s it for this time – but we’re already collecting questions for the next edition, so please submit to kristin@mortgagewomenmagazine.com, sue.woodard@totalexpert.com, or via social media to either of us on Facebook or LinkedIn. Sue Woodard brings over 25 years of mortgage industry experience, strategic vision and leadership to her role as Chief Customer Officer at Total Expert. Her focus is on helping lenders achieve greater productivity and long-term success. Sue started her career as a processor, became a top originator, then leveraged her knowledge to become a highly acclaimed industry speaker, subject matter expert and technology executive.

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CAUSE OF THE MONTH

C AUSE OF T HE MON T H https://rebuildingtogether.org/ WHO THEY ARE Rebuilding Together is a 30-year-old national US non-profit organization working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods by providing free home repairs and modifications for neighbors in need. VISION Their hope is to create safe homes and communities for everyone. W H AT TH E Y D O Rebuilding Together helps people and communities in need by bringing together their national network of local Rebuilding Together affiliates, corporate and individual donors, skilled trades individuals and associations and almost 100,000 volunteers each year. Together, they improve the safety and health of individuals by providing critical repair and renovation services for nearly 10,000 homes and community spaces annually. With a national network of 39 states and the District of Columbia, Rebuilding Together is changing lives: one home, one community at a time. Check out this video of Mortgage Women Magazine Managing Editor, Kristin Messerli, talking with Amy Seusing, VP of Development for Rebuilding Together.

W H AT YO U C A N D O • Donate a gift or pledge securely online here. • Visit AmazonSmile to select Rebuilding Together as the recipient of Amazon's charitable program. Every time you shop through Amazon Smile, they will donate a portion of the purchase price to Rebuilding Together. Search "Rebuilding Together, Inc." and select that as your organization. Every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation to Rebuilding Together! 36

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BOOK OF THE MONTH

BOOK OF T HE MON T H This is How We Rise: Reach Your Highest Potential, Empower Women, Lead Change in the World BY C L AU D I A C H A N

From an inspiring voice in the movement for gender equality, a practical guide to achieving success through a new kind of leadership--rooted in purpose and activism for social change.

Our November/December book pick comes at the timely anniversary of the #metoo movement to inspire leadership and empowerment among women. We live in a time of unprecedented opportunity for women. Yet despite centuries of progress, true equality remains out of reach. What will it take to bring us to a tipping point? To leadership expert and social entrepreneur Claudia Chan, the key is shifting to a "me for we" mindset, where individuals root their effort in a mission far bigger than personal success, and getting everyone--women and men--to work together for social change. By lifting others, we not only make the world better, but we can also discover our greatest meaning and achieve lasting fulfillment. In This Is How We Rise, Claudia encourages readers to join a new breed of leaders and become change makers for gender equality. Distilling wisdom and insights from her own personal and professional journey, she shares key lessons learned and offers a toolbox of thirteen foundational habits. Claudia shows how to define and develop your own purpose, vision, and pathway to becoming a thriving agent for good. Whether you own your own business or are part of the corporate world, whether you're at the top of your field or are just starting out in your career, you have the power to lead change and achieve extraordinary success in all areas of your life. This Is How We Rise will show you how to unleash it.

MORTGAGE WOMEN MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018

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HOLISTIC WELLNESS

IT'S THAT TIME OF YE AR

BY C I N DY S M ITH

As the Fall leaves are turning rich hues of red and gold, I find myself already humming some of my favorite holiday tunes and my thoughts beginning to turn toward “the most wonderful time of the 38

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year”. Along with the beautiful colors of Fall and visions of sugar plums, however, comes cold and flu season, the stresses of holiday preparations, and dramatic changes in climate. The dark

side of the season can make it difficult to enjoy all the joy and cheer we look so forward to each year. Here are some easy tips to help you have a “holly jolly” holiday season and “a happy New Year”.


HOLISTIC WELLNESS

I t ’s dif f icul t to enjoy t his t ime of year if your head is s tu f f y, your b o d y is aching, you’re exhau s te d, s t resse d to t he max and all you want to do is go to b e d. To ke ep your immune s ys tem at it s b es t :

G ET PLE NT Y O F S LE E P When our lists grow longer, our sleep tends to suffer. Each night before going to bed, write down all the things swirling in your head. Then you can dream of sugar plums instead of tossing and turning trying to remember to do what you forgot the day before.

WA S H YOU R H A N DS Often germs can be passed through a handshake or contact with anything that has been touched by someone who is ill, like doorknobs, the back of a chair, tops of counters and restaurant tables. Then when you scratch your nose or rub your eye, the germ can pass to you. Washing your hands often or using a hand sanitizer can reduce the risk of getting sick.

D R I N K PLE NT Y O F WATE R A N D H E R BA L TE A S I have more difficulty drinking water in the cold months because it makes me colder. Drinking herbal teas and warm lemon water are a great way to get the fluids you need to keep toxins flushed out and tissues hydrated. With colder months, heaters come on and dry out the air making it even more important to get plenty of healthy fluids.

E AT H E A LTH Y 8 0% O F TH E TI M E Beginning with Halloween all the way through New Year’s Day, there is an abundance of opportunity to splurge on foods we wouldn’t dream of (ok maybe we would dream about it), but we wouldn’t dare put in our mouths any other time of the year. Sugar, rich foods, and alcohol attack the immune system. Be sure to eat regular, light meals with lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Save your splurges for things you really care about. Moderation is key. Savoring a few bites is much more satisfying than feeling bloated and guilty from overeating. You can still enjoy all the flavors of the holidays without the traditional holiday weight gain.

E SS E NTI A L O I L S A R E E SS E NTI A L Diffusing essential oils not only helps reduce stress, but will kill airborne germs and viruses. Some of my favorite oils to blend for the holidays are: pine, cinnamon, clove, and cedarwood. If you are feeling run down, stuffy, or achy, rub Thieves, On Guard, or any blend of clove, cinnamon, or eucalyptus essential oils on the bottoms of your feet. These are great for killing viruses and boosting your immune system. Peppermint oil is great for headaches.

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HOLISTIC WELLNESS

TA K E F I V E Stress is one of the leading causes of illness and disease. Here are some ways to reduce stress in just five minutes: Meditate Just five minutes of meditation is proven to reduce stress by calming the mind, increasing focus and mindfulness.

Take a five-minute walk For a triple benefit, take a few deep breaths and think of all you are grateful for while you walk!

Journal Processing and releasing emotions help reduce stress. Emotions that are not dealt with can have a direct effect on our physical health and cause depression and anxiety. Journaling doesn’t have to be just negative emotion, it is a great way to express any emotion.

Call a friend Spending even just a few minutes with someone you care about reduces stress and keeps stresses in perspective. It will amaze you how much better you feel after just a quick five-minute chat.

Gratitude Write down or just spend five minutes thinking of everything you are grateful for, then spend time feeling grateful. Take a few deep breaths Deep breathing not only reduces stress, but our lungs are also one of our largest detoxing organs. Get some fresh air When the weather turns cold, we stay inside more. Fresh air helps clear your lungs and your head.

Read an inspirational quote or a funny joke Laughter really is the best medicine. Stand up and stretch You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again, sitting is the new smoking. Just standing up and stretching not only engages your core muscles, gets blood flowing, and increases metabolism, it will also release feel good endorphins needed to reduce stress.

B E PR E S E NT For those of us who make endless lists and organize our organization, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but there have been times I have been so stressed and exhausted, I just wanted the holidays to be over. This is a time for deepening relationships and embracing childhood traditions. Each day set aside time to go over lists, make plans, and focus on details. Schedule time in your calendar for to-do’s and errands. And then, be present. Embrace the music, the smells, the parties, family time, cooking, wrapping presents, all of it. Let all the joys of the holidays be joyful and not diminished to something you mark off your list. As “Jack Frost begins nipping at your nose”, be proactive, take steps to insure you have a “holly jolly” time and set yourself up for all your “new year dreams to come true”. Then when the clock strikes 12:00 on New Year’s Day, you will be healthy, fulfilled with deepened relationships, and ready to embrace the new year with excitement and anticipation for all it has to offer.

Cindy is a Certified Integrative Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer for professional women. She has been helping women achieve their health and fitness goals local and abroad for the past 15 years. For a free consultation, contact Cindy at cindy@whollydesigned.com. 40

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MORTGAGE MOMS

MORTGAGE MOMS BY J E S S I C A N AG ATA N I

You don’t get bathroom breaks, water cooler gossip or do not disturb. You may get an occasional timeout but there are no sick days. There are no board meetings, only babies on board. They tell you not to cry at work, but there are a lot of tears on this job. For some of us, being the CMO, Chief Mom Officer, aka stay-at-home mom, comes natural, you wear the title with patience and grace. For others, we go to work everyday, because it is easier than learning how to be a stay-at-home mom. You don’t need to identify with either one of these proclamations. If you manage to do both with grace and patience, hats-off and I imagine you are a master compartmentalizer. What if you can’t relate to either statement? You haven’t perfected the art of being a stay-at-home mom, in fact you don’t care to and your career has become less fulfilling. You no longer find the same value in defining yourself by what you do as a profession. You are navigating unfamiliar waters. I can relate. I am navigating these waters, or should I say, navigated these waters over the last couple of months. I knew who I wanted to be and what I admired in others but realized, I was not that person nor was I going to become that person if I stayed the course I was on. Between managing a team of sales professionals and keeping up with my children’s weekly social schedules and sporting

“SECURE YOUR FACE MASK BEFORE ASSISTING OTHERS”. activities, I was exhausted, with little to no time for personal health and growth. I needed a chance to recalibrate. So I quit my job about two months ago for a chance to focus on me. An opportunity to right the course. Whether you’re a mom who stays at home or a mom who works full- time, you probably put your needs last, losing pieces of you along the way! As moms, we often put others first. We feel guilty and find it necessary to justify doing something for ourselves, as if we need an excuse to be selfish. When we do this, we can forget who we are and what brings us joy. We no longer have hobbies and our weekends revolve around our kids’ activities and their social lives. I am not saying it is not rewarding to experience our kids growth. Rather, it is not healthy to compromise our health and personal growth in the process. We are no good to those around us if we are not able to be the best versions of ourselves. So go ahead, be selfish, or as my girlfriend put it, “secure your face mask before assisting others”. I challenge you not to get lost in

the day-to-day family needs that you can no longer focus on your needs and wants. Fight for YOU or the person you want to be. If we are not setting this example for our kids, who will? How can we tell them to be all they can be and chase their dreams if we are not doing the same. Being a good mom is truly the hardest job in the world and it takes both energy and stamina to push through. Make sure you are giving yourself what you need to keep up the hard work. You deserve it!! Jessica’s mortgage career started in 2004 at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (WFHM) where, during her 10 years there, she received national achievements and, in 2013, was named as one of Honolulu Magazine’s Best in Real Estate. Currently, Jessica is spending some downtime with her two children before she starts her new adventure in the mortgage industry. Jessica lives in Kailua with her husband, children and three dogs.

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WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES

Samar Nohra

Women owned Appraisal Management Company providing professional, accurate and quality reports on all residential appraisal products performed by certified appraisers and fast turn-times throughout the US. You’ll receive quick updates on orders and 24-hour on-line access to order information. When you’re ready to receive the attention you deserve, contact AAA-AMC.

Kristin Messerli

Cultural Outreach supports lenders with modernizing their business practices and reaching underserved markets through speaking engagements, social media content, and training at betterloanofficer.com. Through this engaging and modern enterprise training and tools, companies are experiencing proven growth with Millennials and untapped market segments.

AAA Appraisal Management Company

Cultural Outreach

Deb Jensen

Deborahkjensen.com

Deborahkjensen.com, LLC is a training company for real estate professionals. Beyond Results Coaching is the core product and trains lenders on how to identify, approach, and meet with key referral sources. I have twenty-five years of experience in mortgage lending and have trained both new and seasoned lenders.

Robin Auerbach EdgeMac

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Since 2008, EdgeMAC has been a provider of Due Diligence, Document Management, and Business Process Outsourcing services to the financial services industry.


WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES

Tammy Butler Mortgage Currentcy

Mortgage Currentcy is a content subscription company used by mortgage originators, underwriters, and processors. Subscribers receive reference guides, monthly interpretations of agency guidelines in plain English, and field experts in the areas of underwriting and compliance that answer loan scenario questions. Thousands of mortgage practitioners rely on this information daily to make originating a mortgage easier.

MortgageGirlfriends.com – The only membership site excluKaren Deis sively for women in the mortgage industry. Women conduct their MortgageGrilfriends.com mortgage practice differently so we provide one-on-one business coaching. Sales & marketing strategies. Articles. Interviews. Loan referrals between members. And Mastermind Retreats. Request a free, virtual tour Karen@MortgageGirlfriends.com. Karen Deis & Jenna Lindseth, Co-Founders.

Nuria Rivera

We believe in making an impact and having purpose within our community. Whether we are protecting Real Estate investments, giving back to our surroundings, or creating opportunity and growth for others. We are here to redefine the experience.

Rosalie Berg

Strategic Vantage is a leading public relations, marketing, and social media agency. The company has served over 100 lenders and vendors in the mortgage industry.

Novation Title Insurance Agency

Strategic Vantage

Adriana Luchechko The Quality Control Center

The Quality Control Center provides secondary mortgage market lending services, delivering Quality Control and Compliance outsource solutions to lenders and financial institutions. Our services include QC Audits for Post-Closing, Pre-Funding, Home Equity, Adverse Action, Appraisals, and AVM products. We also assist in QC Policy Development, Repurchase Negotiation, WorkFlow Analysis and Streamlining, Training, Consulting, and more.

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WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES

Carolyn Calhoun

Mortgage Broker in Michigan. Most closings in 15 days or less and low rates!

Calhoun Mortgage, INC

Ebony Murphy Blessed Budgets LLC

Jillayne Schlicke

CE Forward, Inc. DBA NAMF

Tamala Stewart

100% woman-owned business specializing in LIVE, interactive, high-energy delivery of education for the mortgage lending industry including on-board training for new hires, LO Pre-licensing, Exam Prep, and live Loan Originator CE. - Continuing Education Classes for Realtors - Instructor Development: Train the Trainer - Ethics and Compliance Consulting- Expert Witness: License defense, wrongful termination, fraud - Keynote speaker for your event- 30+ years experience - NMLS Approved Course Provider C-1400068

New Season Mortgage, LLC

New Season Mortgage offers Nationwide Commercial loans and Wholesale Residential Loans in Colorado. The President, Tamala Stewart, has worked in the industry for 15 years.

Donna Schmidt

Loss Mitigation, Servicing Consulting, WaterfallCalc.com, Training, Procedures, Audit Prep & Answer

DLS Servicing Consultants, LLC

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Financial planning organization that works with individuals, couples and/or current or pursuing business owners to examine current financial health based on each individual goal. Creating financial forecasts, budgets and showing cash flow for analysis.

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WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES

Debbie Hoffman

Symmetry Blockchain Advisors, Inc.

Sandra Gainsforth

Symmetry Blockchain Advisors, Inc. is leading the way in collaborating with companies in the establishment, strategy, and implementation of blockchain, crypto-currency and initial coin offering (ICO) ecosystems. One of the primary goals of the company is to revolutionize the mortgage loan lifecycle utilizing blockchain. The variety of experts at Symmetry have the depth of knowledge and expertise to help navigate the way in a space which is revolutionizing industries across the globe.

Advanced software for Lien Release and Assignment preparation, and document management and tracking.

Rekon Technologies

Karen Geisel

Designer of exclusive jewelry line for women of influence in real estate, home staging, and mortgage lending.

Tiana Uribe

Boutique mortgage company with over 15 years in the mortgage and real estate industry with competitive wholesale loan programs and pricing to serve our customers.

Atrina Kouroshnia

Independent Mortgage Broker providing clients with their best financing solutions. Part of Dominion Lending Centres- City Wide Mortgage Services

MESA Jewelry

TRU Financial Services

Mortgage By Atrina

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HERWORDS

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Mortgage Women Magazine - Nov/Dec 2018  

Paving the Way for Workplace Equality: Inside the FHFA sexual harassment scandal with exclusive comments from Simone Grimes

Mortgage Women Magazine - Nov/Dec 2018  

Paving the Way for Workplace Equality: Inside the FHFA sexual harassment scandal with exclusive comments from Simone Grimes