Women want it all and are getting it

Women want it all and are getting it

Women want it all and are getting it

Sarah Makhomet
Broker/ Owner / Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Village
Mississauga, Ont.
Age:  29

Canadian Mortgage Professional: Why did you pick the mortgage industry?

Sarah Makhomet: I was working on Bay Street in Toronto in an investment firm’s compliance office and I thought that was what I wanted to do. I would take the GO train to work every day, like so many other downtown workers. One day I was sitting with a few male executives in their 60s, who were just about ready to retire and they talked about how they had been doing this commute for their entire working careers. It was then that I realized I didn’t want to be like them – I wanted to have time for myself and I didn’t want to arrive home tired every day.
 
A co-worker suggested I look into mortgage brokering. I asked, ‘what is a mortgage broker?’ When I read about it, I realized that it was something I thought I could do. I interviewed with a brokerage, applied to FSCO and became licensed.
 
CMP: What strengths do you feel women bring to the industry?
 
SM: I believe women are more patient. We encounter all types of clients and I find that we are better able, than men, to really listen to and empathize with our clients.
 
CMP: Do women work differently than men?
 
SM: Maybe. I know that some women work differently and others don’t. Some women, like me, are very ambitious, driven workaholics because we know what we want and we go after it. These are usually traits attributed to men. And there are other men who prefer a slower pace similar to some women.
 
CMP: How do you balance work/home life?
 
SM: Well, I am not married, but I am engaged fortunately to someone in the industry who understands my workload. But I balance work with a lot of physical exercise. I like to cycle, play tennis and golf and I enjoy walking and hiking. I recently went on vacation to Costa Rica where I was engaged in a lot of physical activity.
 
CMP: What do you see as your strengths?
 
SM: I’m persistent by nature. I always heard about the glass ceiling for women, but I believe where there is ability there is always a way - perhaps not in the investment industry where I worked – but maybe in another industry. I guess that’s another reason I quit the nine-to-five corporate job and started my own business. I wanted to be responsible for creating the income and lifestyle that I wanted.
 
CMP: How ambitious are you?
 
S.M: Well, as I said I am driven and I am persistent. I know what I want. I’ve been in this industry for three years; I’ve bought my own franchise; I have 15 agents working here; I have a personal assistant, so I would say I’m very ambitious.
 
CMP: What are your priorities?
 
SM: Since I am not yet married, I have no children. And right now my plans for having children are down the road a bit. Because I’m a perfectionist, I don’t think I would want to have children while I’m still growing my business. My children would deserve to have the same attention as I give to my business. Right now I love my work very much and I’m with clients into the late evening hours, so my priority is growing my brokerage.
 
CMP: Any other insights into how women work differently?
 

SM: I think we look at the client relationship in a different way. Many of my clients have become my friends. I go to their weddings; I visit the ones who have just had babies and I’ve been to retirement parties. I know that small acts like sending out birthday cards are common in this industry but I believe that women are more consistent in developing that personal relationship.

 



Alyson Thiessen
Broker/ Owner / Get Er Done Girls
Red Deer Alta.
Age:  42 

 

Canadian Mortgage Professional: Why did you pick the mortgage industry?
 
Alyson Thiessen: It was a matter of economics. Either I could work eight hours a day at $15 an hour or work four hours at $50 an hour. Also at the time, I had two small children and with the cost of child care it was hard working eight to 10 hours a day, every day. So I started to trade my time for money because I’m worth it.
 
CMP: What strengths do you feel women bring to the industry?
 
AT:  We have the ability to go after what we want without sacrificing ourselves. My brokerage is all women and the more women I brought in the better the synergy. If you look into our eyes, they are soft eyes and we talk from our hearts, which clients can sense. We tend to nurture our relationships whether with clients or within our offices. I would say that we are committed.
 
CMP: Do women work differently than men?
 
AT: Although we may have different agendas, I think we are all the same; we all speak the same language. There are both women and men who are hugely successful – you attract who you are.
 
CMP: How do you balance work/home life?
 
 AT: Finding balance makes no sense. For me it’s a journey. I don’t seek balance; I seek understanding, love and learning the next step. I have the best job ever. I’m working and at the same time I’m in my garden. I can fit things into my day that I was never able to when I had a job. It’s about learning to live moment by moment.
 
CMP: What do you see as your strengths?
 
AT:  Trusting my gut instincts. I’ve been able to put together the best team of women based on those instincts. I also have a training program that I’ve developed and I expect the highest standards. For example, out of the last 250 deals we have had no arrears. And I have an effective marketing plan. My strength is really knowing how to build a business.
 
CMP: How ambitious are you?
 
AT: Well, not as ambitious as I once was. I have been driven to succeed most of my life but I lost my marriage and I lost touch with my children. I would never show up at any school events. Now I’ve found a kinder, gentler way and am still successful.
 
CMP: What are your priorities?
 
AT:  My priority is more of a mission for the industry. We should honour the old school because they got us here but we need to move forward with new energy. Today, it’s about love, loving this industry enough to fight for it. We need more collaboration and everyone needs to be treated care.
 
CMP: Any other insights into how women work differently?
 
AT: This is an incredible industry to work in, especially for women. Just by virtue of being women gives us a different spin on the work we do.
 

Kristi Sharpe
Business Development Manager/Home Trust Company
Toronto, Ont.
Age:  25
 
Canadian Mortgage Professional: Why did you pick the mortgage industry?
 
Kristi Sharpe: I fell into it. I was 18 years old and working at McDonald's and hating it. I was taking some business courses when I decided to submit my resume for a part-time teller at Home Trust. I got a bit more ambitious and eventually became a personal account manager. At 22, I bought my own home and had to get a mortgage. That was a big deal for me because there was this whole other side to the financial world I didn’t know about. I applied for a job as an internal account manager at First National then branched out into business development and reaching out to brokers. Eventually I ended up at Home Trust.
 
CMP: What strengths do you feel women bring to the industry?
 
KS:  I can only speak for myself but I believe it’s my personality. I am approachable with a go-with-the-flow attitude. When I was starting out in personal account management, I had to deal with a lot of resistance because of my age so I had to be sure of myself and my products.
 
CMP: Do women work differently than men?
 
KS: I don’t really know. Once upon a time it was difficult for women to work in this industry but today I don’t think there are serious issues or differences. As long as we (women) know our stuff, we’re treated with a lot more respect.
 
CMP: How do you balance work/home life?
 
 KS: I do have a fiancé and he understands my job and when the BlackBerry goes off when I’m away from work, it’s not a problem for him. And I do take time for me.
 
CMP: What do you see as your strengths?
 
KS:  Again, my personality and my approachability.
 
CMP: How ambitious are you?
 
KS:   I would consider myself quite ambitious. I’m always looking for ways to improve myself. I’m so happy here at Home Trust right now and I’m only 25 years old so there’s nowhere I can’t go – I want it all.
 
CMP: What are your priorities?
 
KS:  My No. 1 priority is myself and my fiancé. Second is my work. Having balance between the two is important because I don’t want to resent my job for taking me away from my family. And also at work I want to answer brokers' questions as quickly as possible
 

CEO / Owner
Meridian West Coast Mortgages, Coquitlam, B.C. 
Age:  35

 

Canadian Mortgage Professional: Why did you pick the mortgage industry?

Diane Zitko: I started my career selling real estate 15 years ago and did that for five years. I was looking for a change but wanted to stay in the industry and an opportunity came up for me to be a licensed assistant and within a week I knew it was a perfect fit for me!  After two years of being an assistant I branched out on my own and then franchised six years ago. I have been a mortgage professional now for 10 years.
 
CMP: What strengths do you feel women bring to the industry?
 
DZ: I feel women bring compassion and patience to the industry. I also feel we are more caring and bring that to the table.
 
CMP: Do women work differently than men?
 
DZ: Yes, I believe women work more from their hearts than their heads. This is where the caring and compassion comes in, not that men are incapable. I think we just tend to do it naturally.
 
CMP: How do you balance work/home life?
 
 DZ: I’m still working on that one! Although, I do now schedule ‘me’ time and time for my friends and family and I make sure I stick to it. A healthy balance between the two is important so I make sure I stick to my other priorities outside of work.
 
CMP: What do you see as your strengths?
 
DZ: I believe my strengths to be my ambition and perseverance, my high sales abilities and social skills and, of course, knowing and loving the industry I work in.
 
CMP: How ambitious are you?
 
DS: I think I am very ambitious - on a scale from one to 10, I would say 100! Going from working in real estate and moving into the mortgage industry I was able to learn and grow; opening doors that eventually led me to branch out on my own is one example.
 
CMP: What are your priorities?
 
DZ: My priorities are my family, friends, career and doing charity work. Making sure I make time for my friends and family is a priority as well and one I intend to stick with.
 
CMP: Any other insights into how women work differently?
 
DZ: We are sincere, considerate of others and also great communicators.   I think we instinctively nurture people and take them under our wing. We are highly equipped to multitask and do it inherently. This is not at all to discredit men in the workforce; however with experience in an all-women team, I must say that the team spirit, the high morale and the need to bond and take care of each other and our clients is what sets us apart.
 

Yousra  M.Jomha 
Broker/Owner
Western Mortgage Services Inc, High River, Alta.
Age:  29
 
 
Canadian Mortgage Professional: Why did you pick the mortgage industry?
 
Yousra  M.Jomha : I came into the mortgage industry via the property management route for a  company in Calgary. The owner wanted to sell all his units, back in 1997, and I had to perform basic pre-qualifications on all potential clients who were interested in purchasing. It was then when I became passionate about the industry and that’s why I am here today.
 
CMP: What strengths do you feel women bring to the industry?
 
YJ: I feel that women bring compassion, determination and understanding. It may be interpreted as women having the gift of maternal instincts combined with basic intelligence and that leads us to climbing the ladders of success.
 
 CMP: Do women work differently than men?
 
 YJ:Women mortgage broker entrepreneurs differ a bit from the male mortgage brokers -- sorry guy friends, but it’s true. Women do not forget their clients' families or their values. Many of my referrals come on handwritten thank you cards. This creates a mutual respect on both sides and it also seals a binding referral friendship. Women also educate young adults about the importance of credit. I am sure anyone can find a high school in their community and use the power of giving back by education! 
 
 
CMP: How do you balance work/home life?
 
 YJ:Even though I am in a suit or in a meeting with my valued lenders, I never forget that I have a responsibility of being a mother. How I manage my home life will reflect on my four daughters. I leave work at work and come home to being a full-time mom.
 
CMP: What do you see as your strengths?
 
YJ: I am a proud member of this beautiful industry and a part of the community. I stay in touch by attending industry functions and events and develop lifelong friendships across this beautiful country. I’ve being nominated four times for the CMP Best Customer Service Award, as well as the BBB Ethics Awards. Would I change a thing, Never!
 
 
CMP: How ambitious are you?
 
YJ: My ambition is to see others females succeed in every aspect of their lives. I am a true believer of giving people chances. Every November, I hold an open house night where other small business women can display and sell their products, such as gift baskets, flower engagements, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, jewelery, etc. I take personal pride in helping them to launch their businesses.
 
 
CMP: What are your priorities?
 
YJ: My priorities are my family. I plan weekly dinner menus, which my daughters prep for me and we all cook dinner together. Dinners are extremely special because we all talk, laugh and cry. I also make myself a priority. My personal time is spent rejuvenating at places like Banff, Alta., where I go almost every weekend to enjoy the mountains, spend time in spiritual reflection and enjoy the my spa.
 
 
CMP: Any other insights into how women work differently?
 
YJ: When I look back in my 13 years as a mortgage broker, my profession has given me, not only a sense of accomplishment and pride to help me complete my good deeds for the day, but has allowed me to meet real families and help them to purchase their a home where they can start their own memories. I get to drive by that home and see those families and know that I was a part of it.
 
 
 
 
5 Ways to Balance Your Work/Personal Life

 

1. Decide what really matters to you in life
Ask yourself these questions:
1. If my life could focus on one thing and one thing only, what would that be?
2. If I could add a second thing, what would that be?
3. A third?
4. A fourth?
5. A fifth?


2. Learn to say no
Drop any commitments and pursuits that don't make your top five list.

3. Respect your private time
That means turning off cellphones, too.

4. Accept help to balance your life
Let family members help with babysitting, house chores, etc.

5. Schedule fun and relaxation
And stick to it.
 

Female versus Male Mortgage Agents
Okay, this is the battle of the sexes question, but with the growing numbers of women entering the mortgage industry, I would say that women out there do some things, some of the time, better than men. Gina Monaco, editor of CMP offers her own, decidedly biased, observations.

Women:
1.      Better listeners
2.      Are more patient
3.      Understand families and children better
4.      Have more customer service backgrounds
5.      Can be more detail-oriented
6.      Can be much better organized
7.      Can have better verbal and writing skills
8.      Can express feelings better than a man
9.      Can handle the emotional side of a transaction better than men
10.    Aren’t afraid to ask questions and are very good at trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.