In a year of challenges, it’s all the more important to recognize excellence. One way we do this at MReport is our annual September Women in Housing issue. Packed with content driven by female mortgage leaders, within this edition we also announced the 2020 Keystone Award finalists.
Throughout the next few weeks, we will be rolling out profiles on the women who were recognized as finalists in each of the five Keystone categories. Today, we start with the Rising Business Leader Award. The Rising Business Leader Award recognizes individuals who have “demonstrated an outstanding capability to lead and drive progress.”
To read the rest of the finalist profiles click here—and stay tuned to the October issue of MReport where we will reveal which of these deserving women will take home the Rising Business Leader award.
Emily Chavarriaga, Default Operations Manager, Bayview Loan Servicing LLC
Since she joined Bayview Loan Servicing nearly eight years ago, Emily Chavarriaga has worked across six different departments including foreclosure, title, asset management, modification conversions, and non-performing loan operations. In her ongoing work as the operations administrator for the company’s government loan servicing team, she is responsible for maximizing efficiency at both automated and human-interaction levels.
In a 2019 interview with MReport, Charvarriaga noted how her collaborative efforts with the company’s Enterprise Optimization Team (EOT) resulted in a significant upgrade on the department’s operations.
“Using software with artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities, the EOT team and I went on to create an additional six bots that completely changed the landscape of the government servicing claims department, ensuring lower operational risk, improved internal processes, and reduction of cost,” she said.
Chavarriaga has also gone the proverbial extra mile in building strong relationships with her colleagues, Bayview’s vendors and customers, and her peers in the industry. She serves as Chairwoman of the Bayview Events Committee and is a member of several different industry groups including mPower, Willpower, and the ALFN Marketing and Event Planning group. Last year, ALFN honored her with its Junior Professional & Executives Group Picture the Future Award.
Amanda Preaux, Director of Operations, American Destiny Real Estate LLC
Based in the Pittsburgh-area office of American Destiny Real Estate, Amanda Preaux joined the company in May 2013 after previously working in the healthcare management field. While the connection between the two industries may not seem immediately obvious, Preaux bridged this gap by presenting a vital skill set that is equally at home in both fields: a holistic-level of empathy for those in the midst of frequently stressful situations, a subtle level of communication that enables her to explain strategies with clarity and cogency, and an active and hands-on approach to taking charge of difficult tasks and ensuring they are completed without delays.
Preaux realizes that a real estate professional does not merely exist as an isolated figure but rather should be viewed as a vibrant leader within a community’s daily ebb and flow. Last year, Preaux reached out to City Mission, a nonprofit working with the Greater Pittsburgh area’s homeless population with the goal of transitioning them into stable and secure housing. Preaux represented American Destiny by presenting a check for $1,000 to help finance City Mission’s important work.
Preaux is also a Director with the Washington- Greene Association of Realtors, a regional trade group that works to strengthen the business standards of the real estate profession. Preaux serves as the association’s secretary on the executive committee, which puts her in line for the group’s presidency within the next few years.
Elizabeth Squires, Director of Client Account Management, Safeguard Properties
Elizabeth Squires joined Safeguard Properties in 2011 as an REO specialist after a career as the owner and director of a Cleveland art gallery. She quickly began to take on additional duties and responsibilities within the company, including business analyst, supervisor, and manager. “After I lost my job and small business during the Great Recession, I was fortunate to land a career within this industry," Elizabeth Squires told MReport. “The relationships I have fostered helped define me and provided stability for my family.
In her nine years with the company, Squires has repeatedly displayed the qualities that define leadership. She was a member of the inaugural Emerging Leader Program at Safeguard in 2017 and has served as a featured speaker in Safeguard’s annual webinar series and as a moderator at the National Property Preservation Conferences. Squires was among the Safeguard representatives at the Five Star PR18 Summit held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, following Hurricane Maria’s devastation, where she offered much-welcomed insight on complex considerations ranging from title issues for properties in securing FEMA assistance to improving communications between banks and impacted property owners.
“I feel privileged to work in an industry that offers so many amazing programs and services for those needing assistance, “Squires said. “I get to witness this every day through the clients I work with and see, first-hand, their commitment to their borrowers. As more and more individuals find themselves in positions of hardship due to the current pandemic, I feel honored to be working in an industry that employs so many hard-working individuals who collaborate to meet the challenges faced in our ever-changing world.”
Amber Todd, VP of Default Oversight, RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation
Amber Todd joined RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation in 2012 after holding leadership roles at a law firm where she was responsible for the strategic oversight and day-to-day operations of the foreclosure department. During her tenure at RoundPoint, she has grown her career in default servicing from a Foreclosure Specialist to a Default Program Manager and rose to become a Default Leader.
Todd is recognized as an expert in default technology and has tapped into this skill-set to transform the company’s foreclosure and bankruptcy departments. She has implemented several internal processes and controls to ensure continuous regulatory compliance in an ever-changing environment. Todd’s high-tech savvy skills came into full play when she spearheaded the effort to build robust processes within the Black Knight Financial Services’ LoanSphere technology. The result of these processes maximized efficiencies internally, as well as on the law firm side. It is an accomplishment that brought positive comments regarding RoundPoint’s approach to default automation from the company’s partners.
Todd’s willingness to “roll up her sleeves” and take charge of difficult situations has made her a servicing industry leader. Todd is also a prominent figure within the industry. She is involved in the BKFS FAC Committees, USFN Eviction and Bankruptcy Committees, and ALFN’s Women in Legal Leadership.
Marissa M. Yaker, Managing Attorney of Foreclosure, Padgett Law Group
Marissa M. Yaker has been in the default industry since 2013 and has quickly received national attention for her legal knowledge and passion in the area of foreclosure law, particularly regarding FHA/HUD Servicing Handbook 4000.1 and Regulations.
Yaker told MReport, “I have a respect for this industry, and I've always been excited to contribute to the development of the law, move our industry forward, and to leave it a better place to practice and do business."
Yaker has become a much-welcomed figure within the servicing industry through her authorship on a series of magazine articles and as an articulate guest speaker across industry webinars and trade conference panels. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including being named Top 25 Women in Law by DS News. She is also a member of the Legal League 100’s Special Working Initiatives Group, the MBA’s FHA Subcommittee, and several other key industry groups.
Yaker loves the practice of law and values industry collaboration such as attending/ conducting webinars and working with the agencies for items of clarification. She is a huge advocate of the motto that “it never hurts to ask.”
"Padgett Law Group gives me the room to pursue my academic interests, which is partly what drew me to the law in the first place, and to combine that with practical application every day for our clients. So, when our clients get alerts or I seek clarifications from HUD, it's coming from a place of genuine interest and excitement to apply what I've learned."
On December 9, 2019, Yaker achieved one of the greatest goals any attorney can pursue when she was sworn in and enabled to argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.