On Wednesday, the Five Star Conference and Expo culminated its three-day celebration of the mortgage industry with the Women in Housing Leadership Forum, recognizing the strength, leadership, and dignity of the female trailblazers impacting the industry.
Every year, MReport magazine publishes a list honoring women of distinction that make this industry great. The Five Star President and CEO, Ed Delgado, commenced the forum by discussing the many struggles that women have endured to get to where they are today.
“There was once a time when I felt a little bit uncomfortable speaking at this event,” said Delgado. “The struggles that women have endured to get to where they are today are not a part of my story.”
“But over time my opinion changed,” Delgado continued. “I came to realize that while the struggles of women may not be a part of my personal experience, they are a part of the collective history that binds us all. They are a part of the American story.”
During the forum, some of the industry’s most accomplished women shared their individual challenges, successes, and journeys that lead them to the positions they are in today.
Kimberly Neff, Principal – Financial Services of Ernst and Young  said she felt humbled and excited all at the same time, as seeing the number of her mentors and colleagues on stage made her feel as if she was a smaller part of a larger movement.
“It’s a topic that is so near and dear to me—promoting women leadership roles and helping drive this industry and shape where it goes—I’m really excited to be a part of it,” Neff said.
In her speech, Caroline Patane, VP of Customer Compliance and Evaluations at Fannie Mae , explained the long journey she went through in her tenure in the mortgage industry. She said she has been fortunate to work under the mentorship of women, while periodically working for men, and that experience has provided her with a well-rounded understanding of intricacies of the business.
“I had a really strong foundation of leadership, and recognizing the fact that as a woman, I could always have a seat at the table,” said Patane.
So, what is one aspect that should keep women progressing forward? According to Patane, understanding that when met with adversity women need resiliency, authentic relationships, and progressive skill development to see the path forward.
“When faced with crossroads in my career, I can tell you that it is through the process of self-evaluation of what I can contribute that gave me the opportunity to see my way forward,” Patane said. “I think that has lead to great learning opportunities as well as the ability to grow.”
The Women in Housing Leadership Forum presented the many women that impact mortgage and finance, while celebrating the continued strides the industry is taking to promote gender diversity and inclusion.