Tracy Stephan, VP Innovation, Fannie Mae
Our 2020 Cultural Leader Award winner told MReport, “Building a culture that prioritizes forward thinking and continual learning is incredibly important to me, my team, and the work I lead.” Tracy Stephan added that she was “honored to be recognized as a woman in the housing industry that’s fostering innovative teams and outcomes.”
Stephan first joined Fannie Mae as a junior software developer when she graduated college. Since then, she has taken on increasing responsibility and now serves as VP of Innovation. She first gained national attention in 2015 for leading the data effort in Fannie Mae’s FUSE program, which implemented a modern enterprise data infrastructure to handle trading, operations, and accounting activities. The program earned Fannie Mae recognition within Information Week’s Elite 100 for Innovation.
One of the top lessons Stephan said she learned during her career was, “There is no task that is too big or too small.” In the face of challenges, Stephan said, “You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and do whatever needs to be done to keep moving forward.” She also added, however: “On the flip side, don’t limit yourself to what others think possible.”
Stephan named her grandmother as a key mentor and role model for both her life and her career.
“I’ve learned a lot from strong women in my life,” Stephan recalled. “My grandmother was a truly independent woman who never shied away from hard work or taking on new challenges. She taught me a lot about work ethic and not waiting for anyone else to do what needed to be done.”
She also noted the influence of her first boss, who Stephan said “showed me if I wanted something bad enough to just ‘pick up the phone’ and make it happen. Both of these women were kind, caring, and driven.”