Sept./Oct. 2019 Edition

Can You Hear Me Now?

Clearly, there is no “Womens Guide to Banking” but if there was one, it would rule the world, we already know. 

In this feature, in the year of the “movement” and the continued focus that the world has given to women, who by and large and especially in our world, have been out numbered in the rankings of jobs at senior levels & upper sales ranks for many decades, we give pause to those incredible women who independently and collectively are moving the needle & redefining the future of the real estate finance world.

In fact, in the past year women who lead communities, causes, companies and change are truly making impressionable moves that are leaving marks & indelible change in the mortgage finance space and they are just getting started.   And let’s be honest, they didn’t ask to be put in this time, nor did they start this movement.  In fact, they have all been surviving, overcoming, fighting and protecting their precious little turf and now they finally are gaining ground.  Still it takes a brave person, man or women to find their voice, to speak their words, to be willing to be the example or gracefully take the stage, share their stories and help hundreds and thousands of other women finally find the confidence they’ve been waiting their whole lives to free.   They are doing incredibly brave work. 

I look around and I see so many women who are working tirelessly, for a mutual cause to fan the flames of momentum right now while a small fire is burning.  And make no mistake, behind the scenes of years and years of in the trenches work, these women have faced every imaginable obstacle, challenge and adversity.  They have individually overcome their personal quests for leadership and risen out of the crumbling old school mentality and in fact are now “Thrivers” in a new world and now they are finally sharing their stories.   They are being bold, they are captivating a world and they have grabbed the microphones and the stages and collected posses of women behind them, the power has swung in their direction and they are stronger than they have ever been. 

Yes, when I was seated in the audience at NAMMBA on the final convention day awaiting Marcia Davies, COO MBA & Founder of mPower, speech that morning, as excited as I was to hear her speak and deliver what I already knew was going to be a resounding speech, nothing prepared me for the video she ran on pay equality. 

As I sat there, tired on my 3rd day of convention and umpteen week of travel, I wasn’t ready to allow myself to face something that for so many years had been an angering process for me personally.   In this candid movie she would show several sets of children being given balls to pick up, the boys had blue ones and the girls had pink ones.  They did their jobs filling glass jars and when the very last ball was picked up, of equal amounts, they were asked to close their eyes and put their hands out for their prizes.  The boy would be handed a cup running over with prizes and the girl one half full.   They then were told to open their eyes and they both would look, innocent minds…staring back at the inequity of their efforts, the inequity of reward and interestingly the girls would try to be polite but eventually speak up and ask why, the boys would try to be cordial and defend.

The truth is, I could not contain my emotion that day.  I sat with my eyes welling up and my nose running.  I sat there and called upon every year I ever fought for pay. How angry I had felt and how hard it was for me to squash my self-worth and inner fight so not to raise bad light to myself.   Yes, I had to fight for my pay to be even close to even my lesser counterparts a few times.  I knew I had more responsibility  and nowhere near the pay of my male equal counterparts and so I realized sitting there that exactly how wrong it was and resigned to the idea that I will never get the fair pay in my lifetime until now when I became my own business owner.  No, like so many others, I will never be made right the wrongs done to me there.

I realized sitting there that Marcia was doing far more than I ever imagined.  Yes, she was doing “it”.  She had let the proverbial cat right out of the bag and there would be no putting it back in.   As I collected my composure, I would recall being thrilled to hear her speak my name to the audience, in fact the seats were lined with post cards highlighting my webinar coming on the topic of Safety.  I felt so happy to realize I had finally found my own people and I would be recognized for my talents, rewarded in fact and I would be heard. 

Yes, women are now no longer acting or speaking like they use to.  They are now addressing long silenced issues that have plagued them.  They are now finding their voices.  I will also point out that the difference between this generation of female leaders is they are at the right place, at the right time and they are the right women to truly make an impact.  The women below who have contributed to this article their words of wisdom to up and coming females truly are making a difference in a world that needs a difference to permanently be made and many of them were not given the same mentorship from female leaders or an out stretched hand like they are doing at incredible heights.   But that will now change forever starting with these women and so many more women who are now changing that evolution.  We applaud them for their work.

Advice for up and coming women professionals in the mortgage finance & real estate space.

Marcia Davies, COO of the MBA & Founder of mPower,

“I encourage women who want to advance in their careers to take a risk. It can be a big risk or small one.  By doing so, you move out of your comfort zone and expand your experience. Opportunities will follow.”

Marcia is right.  You must get out of your comfort zone.  I took this advice a year ago when I leaped into coaching recognizing a need and a void for female leadership coaches.  It was far scarier a first step than I ever imagined it would be.  But man, I am liberated.  What first step do you need to take to come out?  I believe that your greatest existence lay on the other side of that first step.

Marcia will go down in history as having created the largest movement in our business with her incredible, polished, poignant, timely and welcomed society of female professionals through mPower.  She has brought celebrities to her stages, elevated women and made moves that no other women have made by truly being the beacon that first shined it’s light calling upon all women who have been searching for leadership in ways never before seen by the likes of Marcia.  She has helped liberate a generation.

Laura Brandao, President of AFR

“Be true to yourself and follow your instincts”

I’ve watched Laura on stage this past year in many different places, all over the country, coast to coast and she has left people in aww in her wake.  Seriously, I have seen her speak and she literally will leave men and women inspired in her raw and authentic speaking, her keen knowledge of this industry and a clear and incredible passion & love for our business.  She is the real deal, earned every bit of her leadership spot in the senior rankings and is exactly the kind of woman I look up to, like so many women AND men.   She is right, you must forge forward following your instincts.   They will take you the distance.

Ginger Bell, Edumarketer & Industry Influencer, Speaker

“Be generous with your laughter, considerate with your reprimands, thoughtful with your praise and passionate about your work.  People will forget the work you’ve done but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

I have had the chance to see Ginger speak on many national platforms, including Gary Vaynerchuk Agent 2021 in January and she is the real deal voice of our future.  She has revolutionized our industry by creating a list of events that the entire industry follows, and she is on the edge of state-of-the-art social media and marketing techniques sought after by the elite.   Her word is a good one and she so poignantly speaks as an expert leading professional where this industry is going.  Listen up!

Chelsea Pietz, Social Media Coach, Podcaster & Industry Influencer

One of the most important pieces of advice I can share with anyone in today’s marketplace is to become very clear about your personal brand. Today’s consumer as well as your company will demand that your personal brand serve the needs of the end user. Start by defining your ‘UVP’ or Unique Value Proposition with this simple formula: I do what + for whom = that results in. Then, share it everywhere”

Chelsea is also a sought-after speaker and voice on many stages including Vaynerchuk Agent 2021 & Housing Wire ‘Engage’ recently to name only a couple.   Chelsea is on point, well-spoken and results driven.  She does not mince words and when she speaks, she comes from a place of pure experience but in areas we seek knowledge and need real advice, in this new world we find ourselves in.  So now more than ever people like Chelsea stand to help us all position ourselves for a future we only hoped to imagine long ago.   She will tell you, that time has come.

Desiree Patno, CEO NAWRB, Industry Leading Executive

“Get ready for change. Industries, logistics, and our personal and professional lives are evolving faster than ever. While it is easy to be distracted by this, it is important for women leaders to focus on the fundamental problems that are inhibiting greater inclusion and social impact.

We need to prioritize connecting with like-minded people in the industry, collaborate and share our resources, and act on these relationships to help create opportunities for future generations with a gender lens perspective.  “

Desiree has made a mark forever in the communities of women in the “real estate ecosystem” in so many fundamental ways.  By removing the silos and connecting industry leaders within their companies and departments, departments within agencies and providing a platform of professional development to know the rules of the game. And by giving women a voice.  By giving women a place, a sense of community.  Through her recognition, women have been elevated & have receive awards that are incredible and long over-due.  She has brought reward to their incredible roles that quite frankly has not been doled out for most of these women’s careers.  No, most of these women have worked tirelessly without the accolades and especially at the heights of the executives she awards.  That in and of itself is incredible.  Desiree work, in a chartable and community sense has filled a void that existed prior to the inception of NAWRB.  Her contributions are historical and will make a difference and leave an impression for generations of female professionals coming up! 

Jennifer Du Plessis, CEO of Jen Du Plessis LLC, Coach, Speaker, Podcaster, Industry Influencer

The shift from Success in business, after breaking through so many glass ceilings; to Significance in life, is personal for every women.

Some of us want a quieter life to seek our life’s purpose, give back and make an impact in a more subtle manor; while others continue the pursuit of significance by joining Boards or changing lanes to solopreneural activities such as consulting.
Either way, today’s woman is not finished yet! She is yearning for greater fulfillment after so many years of grinding to reach her own expectations for success, all the while   raising her family. It’s her time now to reach for the impactful fulfillment she so desires. You haven’t seen anything yet— watch her “roar!”

Jen is so right.  There are women coming out of every direction showing up in ways we have never seen. They are seeking their dreams and goals in ways that may vary but clearly represents a shift in success as she states to “Significance” in life and THAT is personal for every woman.   I think Jen makes a truly valuable point.  It is up to each of us to decide what that means and to know that whatever that fulfillment is, it’s about personal happiness first and by owning that, true happiness can be found independently. 

I have watched Jen for years, met her on the back side of Caesars palace stage in Atlantic City NJ about to walk on to speak, she was mesmerizing and every time since I have been equally as impressed.  She is so sharp, so experienced, so pointed in her ability to give professionals directions that truly make an impact and she has changed the lives of so many people it’s beyond measure.  She is still doing incredible work and I truly admire her, her family and her entire life as an example of what all of us hopes and aspires to have.  Love, Happiness, Success & Legacy.

Kristin Messerli, Chief Editor Mortgage Women Magazine, Founder Cultural Outreach

“My advice for women in 2019 is to find more ways to voice your perspective and bring leadership to your networks. There are many platforms today (publications, company meetings/events, social media, conferences, etc.) that need women’s leadership and are making it easier than ever to speak up. So, I encourage you to move beyond fear and share your message.”

Kristin Messerli may be the youngest of the women featured in this article, but she is a mega game changer with stature well past her tender age and represents power and leadership of incredible magnitudes.  She has turned her magazine, the first ever all woman dedicated monthly feature into an incredible success.  Her work in the trenches of our field with Cultural Outreach have been incredible.  She has used her own voice to free the voices of many others, fought personal public battles in doing so and arose the victor, shining a light on discriminations, liberations and helped thousands of women find their way.  Her work as a professional, a journalist, an editor and a thought leader is undeniably some of the most talented amongst her age group.   A leader amongst us all with the power to live long past her generations of women who she will one day succeed.   She is amongst us, young but powerful and in many ways showing us that we are heard, that we matter and that she won’t let the up and comers let go of our momentum. 

All of these women are incredible, I reflect on how fortunate I am in this past year to get so many incredible women in my network support and I could not feel more at home than I do today writing this article.  I joke to everyone that I have felt like Ray Ramone character in Ice Age 2 when he sees the other wooly mammoth for the first time and realizes he is not alone.   Yeah.  I feel like that.  No longer alone.  

There is power in this community and I would argue respect.  Women are making a powerful difference.  They are giving courage to more women to seek promotions, to seek more platforms to speak on and to seek more vital roles.  Due to the women like those I have quoted here in this article as a small sample of the incredible list of women leaders I am surrounded by, I can tell you that doors have swung open and other doors have closed, fires have been started and other fires extinguished.  Love has been spread, encouragement increased, confidence corralled, and voices heard. 

Yes, the truth is, this article doesn’t highlight the work these women do in banking or the collective work they’ve done in the trenches for decades as mortgage professionals, it simply tells you through their words what women should continue to do, their best advice and I believe the secret to catapulting the girls in banking over the proverbial hill to heights we have yet to see!

Can you hear us now?