From isolation to collaboration: Women’s new era in mortgage

The rise of Women Empowering Women

From isolation to collaboration: Women’s new era in mortgage

Top female mortgage executives, despite their prowess, are often isolated without a platform for collaboration, according to Cristy Ward, Mortgage Connect chief strategy officer and one of MPA’s 2023 Elite Women.

This glaring gap – a lack of peer-to-peer collaboration among top female executives – sparked an idea, leading Ward to establish Women Empowering Women (WEW), a non-profit dedicated to fostering unity and mentorship among these trailblazers.

“[Mortgage] really still is a male-dominated industry, but we’ve come a long way over the past five years,” Ward said in a recent MPA TV interview. “Could we be doing more? Absolutely, yes.”

The inception of WEW was unconventional. Ward recalls organizing a dinner in Dallas, inviting top female executives from competing firms. Many doubted the idea, fearing heightened competition. However, the intended two-hour dinner stretched to seven hours, marking the beginning of WEW.

Today, this exclusive network comprises C-level and EVP-level women, with 15% venturing into entrepreneurship and another 20% identified as the industry’s rising stars.

Read more: Female Leaders in Mortgage | Elite Women 2023

What’s remarkable about WEW is its organic mentorship. Senior executives naturally guide the newer entrants, offering them a safe space and invaluable advice. “It’s been fantastic to watch organically,” Ward beamed. The results speak for themselves. Apart from the 15% who’ve embraced entrepreneurship, another 22% have seen significant career advancements since joining WEW.

Ward’s vision goes beyond just WEW. She emphasizes the broader need for women to support each other in the industry.

“It doesn’t have to be some big, planned program for empowering women,” she advised. A simple act, like a 15-minute daily conversation to uplift another woman, can create ripples of positive change. This organic support system can counteract the challenges of a still predominantly male environment.

“There’s a lot of things that we can do there, but I think starting with being aware of your circle and how you can influence and be a voice of encouragement is really important,” Ward said.

Want to get more insights and tips from Ward? Watch her full MPA TV interview here.