Dana Dillard told MReport that this award carries great personal significance, as she was close friends with the woman who gave it her name. With a career that spanned over several decades, Laurie A. Maggiano was a well-respected industry leader who served as Servicing and Secondary Markets Program Manager at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She passed away in January 2018.
“We shared meals, panel presentations, and many conferences together, and while we sometimes disagreed on the method, we never disagreed on the objective of doing right by our customers,” Dillard recalled. “She was fun to be around, always authentic to herself, and she was tough. I can think of no greater champion for the consumer than Laurie.”
Dillard told MReport that one of the most critical lessons she has learned from her career in mortgage is that “you can be yourself and be successful. You don’t have to act one way at the office and another way with your friends.”
Dillard continued, adding, “I appreciate authenticity and feeling like people are shooting straight with who they are, day in and day out.”
Dillard also shared one important corollary to this truth: “You don’t have to be difficult to get along with to be effective.”
Dillard said that she encourages people to become familiar with their strengths and to seek out environments where those strengths are celebrated.
“You want a company that builds you up and doesn’t bring you down—and co-workers who do the same.” When it comes to important mentors in her life, Dillard names Ralene Ruyle, President of EMC Mortgage when Dillard was with that company, as “the first woman leader that had an impact on me.”
Dillard described Ruyle as someone who had “mastered the art of leading and dealing with our New York leaders with grace and kindness, and yet, she ran a tight ship and an efficient and profitable business.”
Dillard said that it was apparent that Ruyle truly cared about building relationships with her employees.
“That was the first time I had seen a leader at that level have such personal connections at work,” Dillard continued. “She taught me to be prepared, be creative, push back when you need to, and to ask people about their families. Looking back, I can really appreciate her position and all the stress she must have dealt with that she never shared with us.”