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Promoting Diversity in the Mortgage Business

On Wednesday, the Five Star Institute hosted the Five Star Diversity Symposium in Dallas, Texas. The event was a day-long event focused on advancing the conversation on diversity within the mortgage industry, and featured keynote addresses from industry leaders as well as panel discussions.

Wednesday’s Symposium featured presentations from Charmaine Brown, Director in the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at Fannie Mae; Bob McCranie, Broker and Owner of Texas Pride Realty; Lori A. Trawinski, Director, Financial Security Team at the AARP Public Policy Institute; Five Star President and CEO Ed Delgado; and many more.

Sheri Crosby Wheeler, VP Corporate Social Responsibility, Mr. Cooper, kicked off the day with a presentation titled “Disrupting Diversity & Inclusion: New Strategies, Initiatives and Technologies to Take Your Efforts to the Next Level.” Afterward, Lola Oyewole, HR Leader, U.S Operations and Global Chief Diversity Officer at Ocwen Financial Corporation moderated a panel on “Retaining and Advancing Underrepresented Talent,” featuring panel members including Caren Castle, Senior Attorney, The Wolf Firm.

"I think it is important for diversity practitioners and those for which diversity and inclusion is a strategic business objective to come together and learn from each other different and new ways to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the marketplace," Wheeler told MReport. "I hope to gain new knowledge that I can take back to Mr. Cooper and implement in our company-wide diversity and inclusion efforts."

“Raising consciousness around diversity in the workplace continues to be an important issue,” said Castle. ”I’m excited about attending the Symposium to learn from the experts about the many ways to increase diversity and decrease bias, whether conscious or unconscious, which I believe then improves not only the workplace but all of our overall lives.”

After a break, Charmaine Brown moderated a panel titled “Navigating Intersectionality.” Brown spoke on the shifting tides of diversity in business.

“There is now an expectation that leaders demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion as it has become more normalized in business,” said Brown. “The Symposium offers the opportunity to engage with leaders on relevant issues, that quite frankly are a result of the progress we’ve made, particularly in terms of diversity. I hope to go deeper, expand the conversation to recognize its broader than race, gender, etc., and to learn from participants about what’s working in their organizations and where we can do better.”

The day's keynote address, titled "Bridging Generational Gaps and Hidden Threat of Ageism," was presented by Kathy Cummings, SVP Homeownership Solutions and Affordable Housing Programs, Bank of America, joined by Dr. Lori A. Trawinski, Director, Banking and Finance, Financial Security Team, AARP Public Policy Institute. Following the keynote, Michael Ruiz, Director, Supplier Diversity, Fannie Mae moderated a panel on "Creating and Calculating A Diverse Supply Chain"

This year's event was sponsored by Fannie Mae, the America Mortgage Diversity Council, and Ocwen.

The American Mortgage Diversity Council promotes diversity and inclusion throughout the mortgage industry. The organization provides a platform for the collaboration of mortgage industry leaders for the advancement of diversity and inclusion dialogue. The organization develops and provides tools and strategies to create an understanding and appreciation of individual differences in thought, experience, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, style, sexual orientation and gender identity. Move business practices forward to embrace diversity and inclusion as essential to innovation and optimal business results.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing. He is a contributing writer for MReport. An East Texas Native, he has studied abroad in Athens, Greece and works part-time as a photographer.
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