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Diversity & Inclusion Symposium Showcases DEI Experts

As part of this year's Five Star Conference & Expo, the American Mortgage Diversity Council helped host the latest iteration of the group's recurring Diversity & Inclusion Symposium. AMDC Advisory Chair Tai Christensen, Chief Diversity and Public Relations Officer for Arrive Home, presented opening remarks and welcomed a gathering of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion experts for a day of discussion and education.

Tai Christensen, Chief Diversity and Public Relations Officer for Arrive Home

"It was my pleasure and honor to facilitate the fireside chat with Paul Gigliotti, co-founder and CEO of Axis Lending Academy," said Christensen. "I am honored to have had such a raw and meaningful conversation with Paul about his experience as a gay man within our housing industry. As a black woman, and fellow minority, I feel it is exceedingly impactful when we share our experiences with our colleagues in the industry."

After welcoming attendees, Christensen then moderated the first panel of the day: "An External Focus on DEI—Leveraging DEI to Drive Better Business Outcomes." The panel included insights from Atila Almeida, Realtor/Past President for NAHREP, Coldwell Banker Realty; James Armstrong, III, President/CEO, Builders of Hope; Ryan Davis, Director, Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, National Association of Realtors; Frank Fuentes, National VP, Multicultural Community Lending, New American Funding; Michael Ruiz, Director, Supplier Diversity, Fannie Mae; and Diana Sifuentes, Co-Owner Regional Co-Chair, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices A Action, NAHREP.

"I am deeply committed to the work of forging a more diverse and inclusive mortgage industry, with honest dialogue and D&I certification courses that provide understanding and education," Christensen added.

Fuentes then delivered a fireside chat before the next panel, which was entitled "An Internal Focus on DEI—How a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace Leads to Growth and Success." Lola Oyewole, VP, Human Resources & Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Ocwen Financial Corporation moderated, alongside a panel that included Sharifa Anderson, SVP & Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Fannie Mae; Paul Gigliotti, CEO of AXIS Lending Academy; and Wayne Williams, Director, Affirmative Employment Division for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"As our country’s racial demographic is rapidly changing to become a majority minority country, it is imperative that we incorporate diverse individuals into our housing industry that are reflective of the communities we wish to serve," Christensen concluded. "We need to create new products and programs that can assist a new generation of homeowners and their unique familial needs. Being culturally aware and inclusive is more important now than ever before."

To read more on the 2022 Five Star Conference, speakers and more details, click here.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. He can be reached at [email protected]
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