MReport May 2020

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22 | M R EP O RT COVER STORY else was decoration, we would have much more diversity just by virtue of wanting the best hearts and brains." Alexander added that the tendency for group-think is high, especially if the group looks and acts the same. Alexander said that groups wanting to embrace inclusive programs need to be asked, "Are you ready to grow?" "It's less about who you want sitting there," she said. Instead, it's that, whoever you bring in, you want them to be different so that you get a fresh perspective," she said. "That's the real philosophical business challenge you want to change." Ryan said it is important to remember that diversity is about the people, not the process. He added that while it is important for diversity issues to be driven top-down, it is also vital to include everyone, across all levels of the organization, so diversity is "naturally blended and accepted" as company culture. "In Aspen, we have developed a 'Community of Practice' program whereby some of our seasoned team members are meeting with targeted groups to actively mentor and share information on a one to one basis—we are seeing very positive results from this program with both mentors and team members benefiting from the inter- actions," Ryan said. Brown said Fannie Mae is also creating intervention strategies that focus on multicultural women and looking at convening community- based dialogues in under-resourced communities with business and community leaders to increase understanding and build partner- ships across racial and cultural differences. Escobar said 60% of Eagle's workforce is female and 57% of its management team is also female. "We believe in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce that reflects the incredible diversity of the customers we serve," Escobar said. Escobar added that Lennar runs a National Inclusion & Diversity Series, which recently featured a panel of women in leadership, as well as a panel for women in construction. While noting that progress with diversity and inclusion is evident, Escobar added, "I'm driven to accelerate it." "Diversity inclusion is the right thing to do. It's good for business … I'm going to continue driving that bus." "The future looks really promis- ing for young professional women in America. The road to the board room has been paved for you. If you work hard, you're passionate about what you do, and you're authentic, go claim your seat." . A graduate of the University of Alabama, MIKE ALBANESE has worked for news publica- tions since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, and sports and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the Pilot Point Post-Signal and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the Dallas Morning News and the Denton Record- Chronicle over the past several years. "We are dealing with people—and, by their nature, people have many differences. While that can be challenging, it is also very exciting." —Sean Ryan, CEO, Aspen Grove Solutions "I believe all strong leaders and successful companies must embrace diversity in every aspect of their business. By listening and seeking to understand the many challenges and obstacles our diverse team members and vendor partners face, and leveraging their contributions to make our industry even better, we then become true industry thought leaders." —Denia Ray, SVP, MSI, an Insight One Solutions Company "One of the biggest challenges that we have faced was establishing a sense of normality regarding the topic of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Our solution was to simply challenge the 'norm' and to not spotlight the matter, but to carry- on our community outreach as we normally would. For us, this is just the beginning." —Santa Sorrentino, Marketing Director, Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc.

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