MReport September 2019

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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16 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE their daily work, long-term career goals, and personal life choices." "Ultimately, it takes women seeing other women in posi- tions of power to inspire them to break through the glass ceiling. While we still have a historically prevalent disparate weighting of one gender or another in various roles, I've noticed a shift toward more parity in the last five years or so," said Brenda Jarvis, EVP Business Development at TruLoan Mortgage. "We're seeing more women in other positions of power in all areas of our society as we evolve." Freddie Mac is also driving initiatives towards equality by building an infrastructure that sup- ports a culture where all people can do their best work. "One way we do this is by diversify- ing our talent pipeline—widening our talent pools and investing time and money with targeted partners to increase the representa- tion of underrepresented groups," said Jacqueline Welch, Chief HR Officer and Chief Diversity Officer, Freddie Mac. An example of this effort is the GSE's partnership with iRelaunch, an organization that was founded to help women and men who have off-ramped their career integrate back into the workplace. Welch explained that Freddie Mac continuously works to ad- dress potentially biased systems such as pay structure. "At Freddie Mac, we've done away with the practice of asking for salary history at all the locations where we do business," Welch said. "The salary history question is no longer part of our online employment ap- plication, and we have upskilled our talent acquisition advisors and hiring managers accordingly. Further, we deemphasize the current compensation for internal candidates." Looking back to the time when she began her career in the 1980s, Tammy Richards, COO, loanDe- pot said that career advancement at that time was determined more by who-you-know rather than what-you-know, and leadership positions were predominately held by men. "A lot of progress has been made to change that as our industry embraces gender equal- ity—including fair pay based on role, equal opportunity and access to career advancement, mentor- ing, career pathing, training, and education—but it starts with us as women to help drive the effort." "In general, there is an uptick of training offered by the industry that focuses on gender equality as well as broader inclusion efforts," said Lisa J. Haynes, SVP, CFO, and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, MBA. "But more can be done to push gender equality to the forefront." According to Fercho, mortgage banking is a male-dominated industry. "While women are making great strides, all too often I am still the only woman in the room," she said. "It can be a lonely place, so it makes a world of difference when someone reaches out to be inclusive." One way that many organiza- tions are leaning towards inclusive- ness is by starting affinity groups or encouraging their women pro- fessionals to join industry-specific, women-centric networking groups. Empowering Through Networking A ccording to Suzy Lindblom, COO, Planet Home Lending, SAGE ADVICE Here's some advice from women leaders to their male colleagues on fostering a more gender-equal environment. "By participating in an employee resource group, women entering the workforce will learn about opportunities and resources available to them, connect with mentors and colleagues who can become advocates, as well as feel a sense of community with other members." —A J Barkley, SVP Neighborhood Lending Executive, Consumer Lending at Bank of America "Include other women in activities just as you would other men. It takes a conscious effort— breaking away from the tried-and-true—to move the needle." —Kristy Fercho, EVP, President of Mortgage, Flagstar Bank "We tend to focus on leadership roles, but I'm personally really excited about the new generation of young women that are entering the workforce. Let's find ways to make our industry attractive to these women." —Caroline Reaves, CEO, MCS "Continuing to work together is really the only way we can eliminate gender bias because embracing our differences is the key to equality." —Tammy Richards, COO, loanDepot

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