MReport September 2019

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TH E M R EP O RT | 17 FEATURE the industry has stepped up, cre- ated, and embraced initiatives that focus on the professional efforts of women in the financial industry. "Out of these efforts have come the recognition and awards for the hard work that women have long demonstrated in molding our industry," she pointed out. "There is a community of 4,000 women who have created a sister- hood in the mortgage banking industry to leverage the power and influence of women," Fercho said, explaining the basis of mPower (MBA Promoting Opportunities for Women to Extend their Reach). "We support and validate each other, grow and develop each other, and share ideas to educate the industry on the importance of empowering women and helping them lead in our industry." "Many organizations promote affinity groups for women, provid- ing a forum for open dialogue and sharing challenges in the workplace, which they can discuss in a safe environment freely and receive advice without any fear of repercussion," explained Colleen Winslow, Chief HR Officer, RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation. "Some go as far as creating formal mentorship programs for women and other diverse groups." RoundPoint, Winslow said, has a culture of diversity and has continued to develop a diverse ap- proach on many fronts. "From a talent acquisition perspective, we have scripted interviews to drive out unconscious bias," Winslow said. "We encourage diverse thinking through learning oppor- tunities, such as a specific course on unconscious bias, by sup- porting our employees to freely associate through 'Special Interest Groups,' and by having a broad employee engagement program that encourages diversity in the workplace and in our community involvement activities. We host a routine 'Women in Power Hour' to share stories and promote open discussion about development approaches." According to Winslow, these and other programs have "de- veloped and promoted women internally, formally and informally." Fannie Mae's Women's Employee Resource Group (WERG) hosts events regularly on empowering topics such as career navigation, networking, and advocating for yourself at work. Additionally, WERG creates a natural opportunity for women across the enterprise to seek and gain mentors and sponsors. The Women's Interactive Network (WIN) employee resource group at Freddie Mac is helping the GSE to strengthen its gender diversity and inclu- sion initiatives. Freddie Mac is also extending its reach beyond employees through initiatives like its Vendor Academy and #LeadingTheWay launched by Freddie Mac's Single-Family divi- sion to focus on advancing women to leadership positions in the industry. Flagstar's affinity group for women has shown remarkable results since it was introduced in the company. "Our Women's Employee Resource Group provides a support community for women to talk about their challenges and get valuable insight for growth and development," Fercho said while explaining how the organization's D&I committee evaluates the leadership's progress on metrics such as workforce demographics, hires, promotion rates, turnover, and other relevant metrics. Encouraging women to get involved in their company's D&I groups is key to enhancing their professional journey, according to Barkley. "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," she said. Coaching for Success A McKinsey report, titled, "The Future of Women at Work: Transitions in the Age of Automation," indicated that women were not acquiring skills needed for high-growth fields such as professional, scientific, and technical services. It suggested that the private sector "can invest more in training and reskilling their em- ployees within their organizations or in partnership with academic and other institutions," and that "increasingly, mid-career workers will need to refresh or develop new skills." According to Welch, it's not so much an issue of easing the way than it is not cluttering the way with obstacles. She advised that all professionals must consider three aspects to strengthen their careers. "First and foremost, hone your craft. Second, embrace and live a continuous learning mindset. Third, cultivate three pivotal relationships: coach, mentor, and sponsor," she said. Haynes suggested that women aspiring to be a leader should find a mentor that "understands your goals and can help provide sup- port and guidance." "By having a mentor, young women professionals can learn from their mentors' experiences and apply them to their career journey," she said. Gratacos also stressed on the need for mentorship, especially for women at the mid-level who aspired to grow their careers, and women in leadership roles are im- portant to fostering these relation- ships. "C-level professionals must invest by opening avenues through building and mentoring mid-level women to C-level and lower-level to mid-level," she said. "Women at "Be deliberate and intentional in supporting and empowering the mission of gender equality as well as actively participate in discussions involving diversity and inclusion." —Lisa Haynes, SVP, CFO, and Chief Diversity & Inclusion "Male colleagues can do a lot to promote their female counterparts but must become aware of their own biases. Even those who believe they are supportive of women can create barriers through the cultural "norms", such as setting after-hours expectations or associating through activities that aren't inclusive." —Colleen Winslow, Chief HR Officer, RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation "Thank you; thank you for believing in me and supporting me, and because of that, I have the confidence to recognize the type of organization I want to be a part of." —Kelly Hebert, director of sales operations, LERETA

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