Women In Housing-2015

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34 | Th e M Rep o RT Power Players Special Section A successful career does not necessarily mean a straight trajectory upward," Kathleen Malone mused to the MReport as she thought back on the path that led her to her current role at Wells Fargo Home Lending. But her steps were always chosen carefully, even a few that most would consider "back," to keep her steadily moving forward toward her "true north." Each career move allowed her to gain experience and brought her closer to the place today where she not only excels but truly loves what she does. "I'm passionate about customer excellence, leading change, and seeing the tangible results of those changes; tackling complex problems and building new business and technology capabilities that are not just band- aid solutions, but ones that truly address root causes of customer concerns." Kathleen explained. As SVP of Business Architecture for Customer Excellence at Wells Fargo Home Lending, Kathleen and her team strive to improve the everyday mortgage experience for the customer—and considering that with millions of customers Wells Fargo is the nation's largest mort- gage lender, this is no small feat. Wells Fargo Home Lending's Customer Excellence Division established Kathleen's team two years ago to focus solely on the customer experience—but she began preparing for her role as a leader long before that, first at West Point and then later serving as an Army military intelligence officer. "West Point's philosophy is that to be a good leader, you have to know how to be a good follow- er and a team player. So for the first year, they create a challenging environment that makes it nearly impossible to survive without rely- ing on your classmates and work- ing closely as a team. Then during the course of the next three years, they build you back up to teach you to be the best leader that you can be. It taught me how to be a servant leader—always remember- ing that as leaders, we are here for our teams, not the other way around," Kathleen recalled. The concept of being a "ser- vant leader" is one that has served Kathleen well at Wells Fargo, where her job is all about meeting and ex- ceeding customer expectations. "We truly put customers at the center of all we do. And we continuously use their "voice" and relevant data to ensure that we are working to improve areas that are causing the most dissatisfaction in our custom- ers' eyes," she explained. In order to improve the customer experience, Kathleen and her team build and implement the technol- ogy solutions that target the issues customers are most concerned with. "My team is responsible for building capabilities and associated operating models that enable excellence in the way we interact and communicate with our customers on a daily basis. From the insights gained through voice-of-the-customer feedback and related data analytics, we work with business and technology leaders across Wells Fargo Home Lending by taking a holistic ap- proach to transform the way we work," Kathleen said. Based on the experiences that have led to her success, Kathleen advises other women working in the housing and mortgage industries to focus on building strong mentoring relationships. "This industry is complex—by having a seasoned mentor, there is a lot you can learn from their experience. They can also help you identify learning opportunities that can broaden your knowledge tremendously. Understanding as much about your business, your culture, your organization, and the people you serve is important, so I recommend having more than one mentor," she advised. Kathleen has found that there is growth on the other side of the mentor-mentee relationship as well, noting that "I find I often get more from my mentees than they do from me!" While Kathleen has had many strong mentors and influences throughout her life, one of the great- est lessons she has learned has been listening to her own voice. "I found my true north by frequent and brutally honest self-reflection—un- derstanding what I value, what mo- tivates me, what I am good at, but more importantly what I am not so good at, along with sage advice from some wonderful mentors." Kathleen Malone "I found my true north by frequent and brutally honest self-reflection—understanding what I value, what motivates me, what I am good at, but more importantly what I am not so good at, along with sage advice from some wonderful mentors." SVP of BuSineSS Architecture for cuStoMer excellence, WellS fArgo hoMe lending "

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