WOMEN IN SECURED FINANCE 2020
aving started in the banking field over 30 years ago, Haze Walker is a highly experienced financial professional whose focus has been on alternative commercial financing for the past 20 years. She specializes in providing funding solutions and solving cash flow needs for small to medium businesses. Haze has been the director of sales for FSW Funding since 2010, developing a strategic partnership with Lawrence Financial and building a strong marketplace presence for FSW Funding. She is a leader in the commercial financing arena and prides herself on building professional relationships.
HAZE WALKER FSW Funding
Haze is an active participant in the Southern California business community. She is a group leader and moderator for the Provisor Capital Markets Affinity Group; on the board of the Financing Forum; and a member of the Mergers & Acquisitions Group, LA25, Horizon, SFNet, IFA, TMA, and the ACG.
What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry? Be honest and open about what you know and don’t know. I’ve learned people are happy to share their knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Show up early to every event, it is easier to network when you’re not walking into a crowded room and when meeting someone ask them for introductions. When meeting with people, tell them you are working on building your network and ask if they know anyone they can introduce you to. Studies have shown women are reluctant to tout their accomplishments in the workplace. What advice would you give to help women be more comfortable with speaking up? As difficult as it can be to tout one’s own accomplishments, you have to become your own advocate. If you don’t tell people what you’ve accomplished, who will? It may feel awkward at first, but it will get easier. Practice with a mentor to develop a narrative that sounds confident without being boastful. Find your voice. By showcasing examples of your success and expertise you will gain credibility, allowing people will feel more confident bringing you into the deal.
THE SECURED LENDER APRIL 2020
What do you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning of your career? The most successful people do the most uncomfortable things. Showing up in a room where there is one woman to 50 men can be intimidating. Get out of your comfort zone; the more you do it, the easier it becomes, and eventually you will not notice the ratio. Also, time management is crucial and it is important to be prepared. Know the key points that will allow you to be more productive, whether you’re meeting in person or over the phone.
What is your advice about change in the workplace? Change is inevitable in the finance industry. My advice is to stay calm and don’t react until you know how the change is affecting your business. Then be diligent about what needs to happen next in order to take advantage of the situation and stay competitive. What do you enjoy most about your role? Least? What I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to work with a wide variety of companies in unique and diverse situations. There’s always something new happening and it keeps things interesting. I take pride in helping companies structure their working capital, allowing them to grow and cash flow their businesses. My least favorite is when I really connect with a client and I’m not able to help them. How do you balance work/personal time? Balance is difficult in this industry with its hectic travel, early morning networking events, business luncheons, dinner programs and social events. As a single mom of four, I have learned to be very disciplined with my time. The key to keeping your professional and family life organized is to calendar everything. How can commercial finance organizations attract and retain more women? FSW does a great job in offering internships to ASU students and exposing them to our industry. Companies mentoring the next generation allow women the opportunity to experience the excitement of working with diverse industries and complex structures in this ever-changing climate.