MReport October 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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26 | M R EP O RT FEATURE which opens the door for men and women to pool their skills. Using different communication approaches allow more perspec- tives and ideas to take a front seat, helping everyone better serve a diverse range of borrowers and co-workers. Embracing Unique Leadership A nytime there is a significant shift in the economy, people are challenged and pushed to change. Having more diversity in leadership helps bring to the forefront new ideas, perspectives, passions, and skills that will ulti- mately help companies adapt and grow. Having diversity of thought helps create a broader leader- ship view and women must be in the room and a part of those conversations in order to create a more comprehensive approach to managing through change. When women are left out of important leadership conversa- tions, much of the industry's workforce is not represented and therefore doesn't receive informa- tion that applies directly to them. A company cannot serve women well unless there are women involved in decisions that directly affect them. This is not only true of deci- sions that affect female employees but female customers as well. The Leadership Research Institute states that companies with more women in leadership roles tend to be more profitable. A Pepperdine University study showed that 25 Fortune 500 firms with the best record of promoting women into high positions were anywhere from 18–69% more profitable than the median firms in their industries. This is because diversity of thought helps ensure all employ- ees and customers are represented and considered when it comes to decision-making. This makes leadership more effective and can contribute to the company's over- all competitive advantage. Having different backgrounds and per- spectives on the leadership team also defends against groupthink— an action that is often detrimental to the success of a company. Companies must recognize and embrace the unique skills women bring to the table. Men can advocate for talented women with strong leadership qualities and should champion talented women in their organization. Especially for men in leadership positions, advocating for what women bring to leadership is essential to taking steps toward equality and helping the company thrive. For example, women need to be included in conversations across the organiza- tion to learn and lead effectively. Just as mentors model expected behaviors and coach thought processes, so too should leaders model inclusiveness by bringing women into discussions at all levels of the organization. Advice for Aspiring Female Leaders I t's important to identify your unique strengths and talents and how they can help lead others. Hone those skills and use them whenever possible. Take advantage of any opportunity to sharpen your skills. This will make you a stronger leader while also building your confidence in your own abilities. Keep in mind that these skills do not always have to be hard skills that pertain to your job. It might be that you are a great listener or maybe you are incred- ibly patient or a great teacher. Do not hesitate to use those skills whenever possible. Each woman has something valuable to contrib- ute to their company and while the direct effects of your teaching skills or patient listening cannot be measured, they can have pro- found effects that ripple through the organization. It is easy, as women, to sit back and think that someone else can do something better than you. A woman is often her own worst critic. Each woman's skills are unique and no one else can do what you do, how you do it. Do not let anyone, especially not yourself, keep you from using your unique gifts and skills to propel your organization, indus- try, and career. It also is easy for women to view the ride to leadership as a race, but that's not the case. When we view this as a competi- tion for specific positions, we lose sight of the true goal. Women in leadership have a voice with which they can support and advocate for other women. It's important that we all support each other on this journey and lift one another up as we make progress. This is not a race to the top, but a journey we must make hand in hand. Shifting Focus D iversity is key to creating a successful business, and women are a vital part of it. Our skills and perspectives are so valuable in housing, or any other industry—from entry-level positions all the way to the top. Instead of focusing on why we are different, we should focus on how—how each of us is unique and how those qualities can be used to continue serving borrow- ers and homeowners, while ad- vancing our individual companies as well as the housing industry. . CHERYL WIEBE is the Senior Manager, Customer Technology at Genworth Mortgage Insurance, where she leads the Customer Experience MI Site and Integrations team. She has over 20 years' experience developing and executing effective strategies to meet integrated customer and business goals and expectations. Wiebe first joined GE in 1986 as an underwriter and, following nine years of service, she held various roles in mortgage insurance operations, marketing, product management, and systems at Arch Mortgage Insurance Company, United Guaranty Corporation, Essent Guaranty, RMIC, and Freddie Mac before returning to Genworth in 2017. The statements provided are the opinions of Cheryl Wiebe and do not reflect the views of Genworth or its management. Most senior leadership teams or executive boards are not truly representative of those they're leading, which often can create a disconnect.

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