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Mortgage Industry Reps Encouraging Change on Society

From September 18-20, the Five Star Institute will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Five Star Conference & Expo, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.

During the event, Five Star will host the 12th Annual Women in Housing Leadership Awards Luncheon, recognizing the achievements of remarkable businesswomen whose contributions continue to impact the housing and mortgage servicing industry. The program will include a special keynote presentation, brought to you by Auction.com, featuring the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner, Julia R. Gordon. Following the keynote will be the highly anticipated “Inside the She-Suite” discussion led by Wells Fargo's Head of Home Loan Servicing, Ann Thorn, that features the industry’s top-ranking female executives addressing the challenges and successes of breaking through the glass ceiling and into the corner office.

We have already introduced you to the five finalists for Five Star’s 2023 Rising Star Executive Award, an honor recognizing young women leaders who, while still early in their careers, have demonstrated an outstanding capability to lead and drive progress.

You have met the candidates for the 2023 Leadership Award, a distinction that recognizes transformative women leaders who have built diverse, high-performing teams; developed business solutions that impact homeownership across the industry and nation; and have worked to empower and promote women in C-Suite and leadership positions.

And, we have highlighted the five finalists for the Keys in Hand Award, a new award presented by Five Star that spotlights industry executives working to expand homeownership in America, especially for first-time homeowners, providing a critical source of intergenerational wealth.

Today, we focus on a distinguished group of five nominated for Five Star’s 2023 Corporate Social Responsibility Award, a distinction that recognizes executives or companies who are driving charitable initiatives and helping the industry make a positive difference.

Congratulations to the following for being recognized by their peers as nominees for the 2023 Five Star Corporate Social Responsibility Award:

Michelle Garcia Gilbert
Managing Partner
Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A.
What People Are Saying
“Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A., is fully owned and operated by Michelle Garcia Gilbert, a Hispanic female. The firm is designated by the State of Florida and Hillsborough County as a certified women- and minority-owned business. Michelle places great emphasis and value on donating her time and resources to various groups and organizations. Michelle makes a difference in her community by joining efforts with her staff to select and serve at least one charity per month. Philanthropic initiatives include supply drives and collections, in-kind and monetary donations towards children’s school supplies, animal shelters, foster or misplaced youth, and veterans.”

What This Nomination Means to Her
“Being selected as a finalist for the Women in Housing Corporate Social Responsibility Award is an incredible honor that fills me with pride and gratitude. In every aspect of life, much has been given to me, so in turn, I am honored to give back. Supporting and serving my community and various industry organizations would be merely a vision if it weren’t for the efforts and unwavering commitment of my team. It is because of their dedication to driving positive change that Gilbert Garcia Group and Sapphire Title & Escrow have been able to consistently serve those in need. I am privileged, honored, and grateful to serve my community as a representative of the mortgage servicing industry and to stand amongst so many deserving women who play a vital role in shaping and defining a socially responsible industry.”

Tamara E. Gifford
Director, Community and External Relations
Ocwen Financial Corporation
What People Are Saying
“As Director of Community and External Relations, Tamara Gifford leads Ocwen’s corporate social responsibility efforts. Tamara oversees all borrower outreach efforts, which resulted in 150+ virtual outreach events across 29 states during the pandemic. In addition, Tamara manages Ocwen’s Community Advisory Council, a diverse group of national, regional, and local nonprofit housing counseling, community development, and civil rights organizations from across the country. Members include NCRC, UnidosUS, NAACP, and others.”

What This Nomination Means to Her
“I am honored to be selected as a finalist for the Five Star Institute’s Women in Housing Corporate Social Responsibility Award. It is humbling to be recognized with such an amazing group of women who are focused on the same goal of helping homeowners. At Ocwen, our philanthropic focus has always been to partner with national and local organizations that help promote positive outcomes for those who need it most. Being able to make a positive difference in someone’s life is an amazing gift, and I am blessed to work for a company that believes we should do as much as we can to help our borrowers, our homeowners, and our communities. Since 2012, Ocwen has provided more than $27 million in funding to the mortgage industry, consumer advocacy, and nonprofit organizations that serve low- to moderate-income families. We remain committed to helping homeowners and those who need it most.”

Jane Larkin
VP, Default Servicing
Colonial Savings
What People Are Saying
“Jane has been a staple in the default industry for decades and has always shown great compassion for the borrowers and her field representatives. She has also been involved in educating and improving the members of our industry for decades. She raised my professionalism and knowledge while having opposite sides collaborate and work together for the betterment of all. Her care, compassion, and respect for her employees, vendors, and executives are treated equally. She has made a difference in a very difficult industry, as most of your membership and committee will all acknowledge and know her name and humble presence for decades, while constantly improving and bettering our industry.”

What This Nomination Means to Her
“I am humbled by the honor of being nominated as a finalist for the 2023 Corporate Social Responsibility Award, standing alongside an inspiring cohort of accomplished women leaders who have also been recognized. My sincere gratitude extends to the Five Star Institute for emphasizing the significance of making a positive impact. I’ve been privileged to participate in various industry gatherings, where I’ve shared my fervor and insights concerning default management, customer experience, and leadership advancement. I am steadfast in my belief that our commitment to giving back to the communities we serve is of profound importance. I take pride in being associated with an organization like Colonial that genuinely values the well-being of the individuals and families we are honored to assist.”

Jennifer Palmberg
VP Default Recovery & Litigation Operations
U.S. Bank
What People Are Saying
“Jenny Palmberg and U.S. Bank have been tirelessly working on fundraising efforts to support veterans and their families in their housing and transportation needs. Working alongside wonderful charitable institutions like Freedom Alliance and Operation Homefront, they help provide mortgage-free homes and payment-free vehicles to deserving heroes and their families.”

What This Nomination Means to Her
“In my role at U.S. Bank, I have had the privilege to lead our Veteran and Community donation initiatives for the last four years and have seen firsthand the impact a home can have in our communities, not only for our veterans who have served our nation but also for LGBTQ+ youth who would otherwise be facing housing instability. I am honored to be in a position that allows me to contribute my leadership skills and passion to help those who have already given and experienced so much. To be considered a finalist for the 2023 Women in Housing Leadership Award for Corporate Social Responsibility is meaningful to me because it recognizes the significant, lasting impact these different donation initiatives have had in our communities. Welcoming a veteran and their family to their first home or coming alongside LGBTQ+ youth to provide better housing and job opportunities is truly rewarding. To be nominated for this award in the company of other amazing women who are also making a difference is inspiring, and I am grateful to be considered.”

Carrie Tackett
Director, Business Development
Safeguard Properties
What People Are Saying
“Carrie has been a member of the AMDC since 2019, promoting diversity within the mortgage industry. She is a member of the VFSAC committee, which addresses the needs of veterans in relation to housing and critical services. She also cultivated a relationship between Safeguard Properties and the Military Warrior Support Foundation, where the Safeguard vendor network is used to renovate homes to be gifted to wounded veterans.”

What This Nomination Means to Her
“It is truly an honor to be recognized again for the efforts our organization has made to foster a positive impact on society. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) nomination holds significant meaning to me as it is a reminder of purpose-driven business. CSR recognition is an acknowledgment of our dedication to making a positive impact beyond profit generation. This CSR nomination represents Safeguard’s commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen and serves as a powerful testament to our core values. This includes initiatives such as minimizing carbon emissions, adopting sustainable practices, promoting diversity and inclusion, supporting local communities, and ethical sourcing. This nomination signifies that we value long-term sustainability over short-term gains. It also reflects our dedication to fostering strong relationships with our stakeholders, including employees, clients, suppliers, and the wider community. Moreover, this CSR nomination holds personal significance as it aligns with my own beliefs and values and serves as a testament to the collective impact we have made.”

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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