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Fostering a More Diverse, Inclusive Mortgage Industry

Diversity and inclusion have become one of the most pressing topics in the industry. From promoting equal access to housing and creating a more diverse workforce, the mortgage industry is adapting to changing demographics in both workforce and customer base. This May The Five Star Institute welcomes the industry’s leading minds to New Orleans, Louisiana, for focused discussions and education on these topics at the 2020 Diversity Symposium, happening May 6-7, at the historic Hotel Monteleone. 

Last year’s event, held in Dallas, Texas, featured participants from Bank of America, Fannie Mae, Mr. Cooper, Ocwen Financial Corporation, the American Mortgage Diversity Council, the AARP’s Public Policy Institute, and more. This year’s event is positioned to be even more impactful, and offers the potential for industry thought leaders to showcase both their own insights and lessons taken away from their organization’s own D&I efforts.

Five Star is currently accepting speaker submissions for the Converge event. You can submit a proposal for potential speakers by clicking this link. Potential topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • generational differences
  • resolving unconscious bias
  • cultural transformation 
  • the competitive advantage of diversity
  • diversity and cultural competence
  • branding diversity and inclusion
  • cultural sensitivity in the workplace
  • prevention of sexual harassment
  • designing a diversity infrastructure 
  • ​​spirituality in the workplace
  • inclusive leadership
  • creating an inclusive, high-performance organization
  • executive self-assessment
  • the power of collaboration
  • internal diversity programs and events


Speaking to MReport during last year’s event, Sheri Crosby Wheeler, VP Corporate Social Responsibility at Mr. Cooper, said, "It is important for diversity practitioners and those for which diversity and inclusion is a strategic business objective to come together and learn from each other's differences and new ways to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the marketplace."

“There is now an expectation that leaders demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion as it has become more normalized in business,” said Charmaine Brown, Director in the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at Fannie Mae. “The Symposium offers the opportunity to engage with leaders on relevant issues, that quite frankly are a result of the progress we’ve made, particularly in terms of diversity. I hope to go deeper, expand the conversation to recognize its broader than race, gender, etc., and to learn from participants about what’s working in their organizations and where we can do better.”

Nickalene Badalamenti-Kalas, acting President of Five Brothers Asset Management Group, said the company has a significant LGBTQ and transgender population within the company, and a strong focus on ensuring that those employees need to be “treated as though they’re not different.”

“People need to feel like they belong, and so we don't dwell on it,” she continued. “We just do what we do. You come to work, you do your job, and you acknowledge the people for or who they are and what they do.”

You can learn more about Converge at the official website, or click here to register now.

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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