Verico executives on giving a platform to women in the industry
With the mortgage industry sometimes perceived as a male-dominated sector, the importance of listening up and hearing the perspective of women has arguably never been greater.
This year, to coincide with International Women’s Day in March, Verico executives Kristy-Lynn Maxwell (Western Canada director, business relationships) and Kate Arviko (AVP, business and network development) launched a webinar, “A Woman’s Perspective,” aimed at amplifying the voices of women in the industry and celebrating their contribution through an in-depth panel discussion.
That webinar was initially intended to be a one-off. Yet it proved such an unqualified success among viewers and participants that it’s evolved into a series, with Maxwell and Arviko hosting quarterly one-hour instalments that bring together some of the most well-respected women in the Verico network to discuss a range of pressing topics.
The series has been a breath of fresh air for many in the industry, offering an opportunity to hear valuable perspectives and insights that sometimes go unheralded.
We’ve received a lot of feedback from attendees saying that they love hearing from other women,” said Arviko. “Many of the women who have been on the panels have been in the industry for decades and have said, ‘We’ve had 30 years of listening to a man’s perspective in a historically male-dominated industry, so this is a great opportunity for us to share how we’ve grown and our methods of conducting business.’”
Maxwell and Arviko made a concerted effort to put together panels of women with different backgrounds to generate as diverse a conversation as possible, with a focus on including voices from across the country and not solely having specific markets represented.
The webinars are also available outside the Verico network, with each instalment accessible for free by anybody who wishes to tune in. Maxwell said that was important to amplify discussions that many viewers found highly relatable.
The audience seems to like that they can relate to our panelists,” she said. “They like to know that others have gone through the same challenges that they have, and how to come out the other side of them.
“For example, our last webinar was on the smoke and mirrors behind success. That was because one of our panelists reminded us that we shouldn’t just talk all about the rosiness and cheeriness in business.
“There are challenges, true challenges, that you have to overcome in order to be successful. Let’s talk about those so people know that not only are they not alone – there are people out there that are both willing and able to help them through it.”
That instalment – the third in the series to date – convened a national line-up of women who shared their own experiences and insights on life in the mortgage industry, with participants discussing a number of topics, including dealing with difficult clients and advice for converting leads to deals.
Throughout the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, the webinars have also offered the chance for women in the industry to connect and come together during a time of work-from-home restrictions and workplace shutdowns.
We haven’t been in offices or seen people in person as much over the last 18 months, so it’s been a good connector for us all,” Arviko said. “It ties into that idea of not being alone in the struggles of this business; the challenges that you go to bed thinking about are the same challenges everybody else in the industry experiences.”
With the next webinar in the series set to take place in early 2022, Maxwell expressed the hope that a wider audience would begin to listen in to gain a better understanding of women’s views and the challenges and opportunities of the mortgage industry.
ldquo;I think we could all learn a lot from these webinars, and not just women,” she said. “We all have our own perspectives but being able to learn from one that differs from your own, I find, can be very eye-opening and allows us to learn, expand our minds and grow. Personally, I’d like to see more men take the time to be in attendance.”
That’s been reinforced in the webinars to date, with a discussion point being the different qualities that women bring to the role of the mortgage professional – from a more nurturing mindset to greater emotional intelligence when dealing with clients.
Ultimately, the series’ main focus is on fostering an environment of support and guidance for women in the mortgage industry by elevating and amplifying voices that may not have been given the platform they deserve until now.
It’s about promoting female entrepreneurs and giving them a voice, because in the past we haven’t been given as many opportunities to be heard,” Arviko said. “Our message is, ‘Let’s support each other in the industry and help each other grow.’”