First National is where Doreen Walsh spread her wings, becoming regional sales manager for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, not to mention an indispensable part of the firm. She has been one of its highest-producing account managers since starting there in 2003, having never missed a target during both the good times and the bad.
“I’ve always been an advocate for clients. I’m a liaison between the broker and my company,” she said. “Knowing one deal could not only affect many lives but so many relationships and future business, I treat my brokers’ business like my own business.”
When Walsh moved to management, she was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to inspire in others her own indomitable work ethic, however, unsurprisingly, that hasn’t been the case.
“I was concerned people wouldn’t share my passion,” said Walsh, “because I wanted to make sure they knew how to sell like I did. These are the things that kept me from wanting to manage people, but I realized that I had a lot to share. Anyone who wants to be successful will do what they have to do to become successful and I’m no exception.”
One of Walsh’s crowning achievements at First National is implementing what she calls “disrupting the rate conversation,” which became especially pertinent after B-20 hit at the beginning of 2018.
“It is our job to provide the answers to the questions that our clients don’t even know to ask. Anyone can ask, ‘What’s your rate?’ but people don’t know what an interest rate differential is, or what a closed mortgage is, or that their penalty might be based on prime, or prime-plus-3%. These are all the things that people don’t talk about in mortgages, but they should because it’s our job.
Guideline B-20 has proven the most significant spanner in the works the mortgage industry has had to contend with in years, but where First National is concerned, that’s where Walsh has truly shone.
“We had to get a clear vision out about what we were doing, and then, by extension, we had to communicate that to the world,” said Walsh. “The brokers had to be clear to their clients because it’s a domino effect, and often, things were getting lost in translation. It took a long time, but we’ve absorbed the changes really well. About 14 of my account managers understood this and explained it to 3,000 of their brokers.”
According to Gary Mauris, co-founder and president of Dominion Lending Centres, Walsh is nothing short of a luminary in Canada’s mortgage industry.
“Doreen is the epitome of a strong, successful, leading woman in the Canadian mortgage space,” he said. “She is super nerd smart, as loyal as they come, and funny as hell. She is the very best.”