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Announcing Five Star’s Excellence in Mentorship Award Finalists

In a year of challenges, it’s all the more important to recognize excellence. This year, we will return to Dallas for the in-person Five Star Conference 2021, September 19-21, and at the event, will recognize the women who are making a difference in the industry, and making a mark on their colleagues and peers.

As we have in year’s past, DSNews is taking the chance to shine a spotlight on these professionals. We have already showcased the finalists for The Rising Star Executive Award, which recognizes young women leaders who, while still early in their careers, have demonstrated an outstanding capability to lead and drive progress. We have also introduced you to the nominees for the Excellence in Leadership Award, which recognizes women executives who have gone the extra mile to pass on their knowledge and “pay it forward” by helping guide the next generation of female mortgage professionals.

Stay tuned to the October issue of MReport where we will reveal which of these deserving women will take home The Excellence in Mentorship Award, and click here to view a list of all the nominees for the 2021 Women in Housing Awards.

Jenna Evans
SVP and Deputy General Counsel, Regulatory Affairs, Ocwen Financial Corporation

What others are saying …
“Jenna Evans is the Executive Sponsor of Ocwen’s Global Women’s Network (OGWN), an affinity group whose mission is to support recruitment, development, and retention initiatives for women. In addition to serving as a mentor for fellow female employees as part of OGWN’s mentorship program, Jenna also participates as a panelist in various OGWN-hosted events, most recently as part of an Executive Panel Discussion in honor of International Women’s Day, during which she and the other panelists shared advice on how to overcome career challenges and unconscious bias and how to enhance gender diversity and equality in the workplace.”

What does this nomination mean to you and what makes you a good pick for this category?
“It’s such an honor to be nominated for the Excellence in Mentorship award. This category is particularly near and dear to my heart as I’m deeply committed to championing principles of diversity and equity, as a member of Ocwen’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and as the Executive Sponsor of the Ocwen Global Women’s Network, an affinity group whose mission is to support recruitment, development, and retention initiatives for women. I’ve been so privileged to serve as a mentor at Ocwen, whether in a one-on-one setting or in a larger setting via symposia and other group discussions. It’s my belief that one of the most valuable tools that women can use to support other women is mentorship, as it’s a way to pass on not only knowledge and advice, but also inspiration and, perhaps most importantly, confidence. However, the experience is equally rewarding for the mentor, and I’ve so enjoyed having the opportunity to play even the smallest role in helping other women achieve their goals.”

Samantha Funderburg
AVP Employee Programs, First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation

What others are saying …
“Samantha has mentored many new-to-industry team members across the multiple companies that she has worked at over her 10-year career. In the past year, she helped launch the Pulse Council that creatively pairs high-potential team members with a diverse set of people across the company to ensure they are provided mentorship, executive visibility, and learning of ideation to execution. This team she shepherded saw a 55% promotion rate YOY due to her deliberate pairings of mentors.”

What does this nomination mean to you and what makes you a good pick for this category?
“I feel humbled to be nominated for this prestigious award in a category that means so much to me. Mentorship is a key part of my professional mission, and I am so grateful that FGMC prioritizes the learning and development of employees so that I can have an impact on the next generation of female mortgage industry leaders. As a co-founder of FGMC’s Pulse program, I have been able to reach people across the organization with opportunities to improve their leadership skills and industry knowledge by hearing other’s perspectives in our Speaker Series, gaining valuable leadership insights during development sessions, and having executive exposure through our Pulse Council. By providing employees with a platform for growth and demonstrating the importance of mentorship, I hope to contribute to the women at FGMC’s advancement on their career journey. It is an honor to help shape the future of the industry and show the mentors of tomorrow what is possible.”

Yvette Gilmore
SVP, Servicing Product Strategy, ServiceLink

What others are saying …
“Throughout her 20-year career, Yvette Gilmore has held senior management roles at leading Fortune 500 companies. In her current role as SVP, Servicing Product Strategy at ServiceLink, Gilmore is helping to revolutionize default portfolio management through her leadership of ServiceLink’s first of its kind, AI-powered EXOS One Marketplace platform. At Freddie Mac, Gilmore was a leader within the GSE’s employee resource group focused on expanding opportunities for women. She has carried this work over to ServiceLink, where she is active within its mentorship program and is a sought-after thought leader and speaker for industry trade publications/events (NEXT 20-Minute Mentor).”

What does this nomination mean to you and what makes you a good pick for this category?
“To be recognized as a 2021 Women in Housing award nominee is an incredible honor on its own, but to be recognized in the Excellence in Mentorship category makes it extra special. The role that mentors have played throughout my career, and their impact on my life, has been immeasurable. I believe I am a good pick for this category as I, too, have made a conscious effort to pay it forward to other emerging, women leaders through mentorship. I’ve found great fulfillment in helping others harness their “superpowers” and what makes them special and unique. To watch my mentees grow as leaders, and as human beings, has been one of the great joys of my life. I am honored and humbled to be named a 2021 nominee—congratulations to my fellow nominees!”

Reshma Goyal
VP, Customer Care Center, Ocwen Financial Corporation

What others are saying …
“With 18 years of mortgage experience and several key positions within the company, she has been presented the opportunity to mentor many talented women in the organization to further their professional skills while also helping in networking and growing together during the journey. Mentorship objectives have included helping mentees tap into the skill sets, get over their apprehensions, and make a mark as they go along. Several mentees were promoted during the course of the mentoring program. She has also been involved in informal mentoring, guiding young leaders to recognize their potential and navigate toward achieving their goals.”

What does this nomination mean to you and what makes you a good pick for this category?
“I am truly honored to be selected as a finalist for this prestigious award. It motivates and reinforces my zeal to continue nurturing young women leaders to recognize their potential and realize their goals. It is always a matter of immense pride to mentor a young leader and watch them grow in strength, both professionally and personally. Today, diversity and inclusion are the key components to an organization’s success and being able to nurture more women leaders would be my contribution to the overall success. My biggest strength is that I am approachable and like to give open and honest feedback. That makes it easier for mentees to connect, have a meaningful conversation, and discuss their ideas, thoughts, fears, and failures. ‘Moments of delight’ occur when mentees shed their inhibitions, take up projects/challenges outside their comfort zones, and come out as winners. The renewed confidence in the mentees makes the time taken to mentor worthwhile.”

Ramie Word
SVP Customer Care & Client Delivery, Mr. Cooper

What others are saying …
“Considered a top 'Great to Place to Work’ certified senior leader, Ramie Word is an approachable and driven leader with a focus on results. She is trusted within the organization, but especially by those under her oversight. She goes above and beyond to appreciate and acknowledge her staff. This includes at-home visits, SVP 1:1s, recognition, and rewards. She takes a personal interest in the staff, which drives them all to want to do better. This leads to an engaged team and high morale. Ramie is also an avid D&I supporter who engages her community via volunteerism.”

What does this nomination mean to you and what makes you a good pick for this category?
“I am honored to be nominated in this category because mentorship has been close to my heart throughout my career with Mr. Cooper. I’ve had so many meaningful leaders that have helped me develop my own leadership style and driven me further than I thought possible. It’s been important to me to pay that experience forward with our future leaders. It’s so critical to have a safe space and sounding board for our up-and-coming female leadership. I want to lead by example towards a more diverse and equitable culture within our industry. I feel a sense of responsibility as a female leader to make sure I’m supporting our future executives. From a selfish perspective, it’s extremely satisfying to see so many of the ‘mentees’ I’ve spent time with journey down their own path of success and rise to the challenge.”

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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