In July 2005, I began my career in the mortgage business. At this time, I was the only female originator at the small brokerage company where I worked. At 19 years old, I had a narrow understanding of the mortgage business, familiar with only 30 and 15-year fixed products that required a 20 percent down payment.
Despite no formal training, I quickly learned underwriting guidelines and learned to fully complete accurately the “ole” Good Faith Estimate (GFE); my learning consisted of trial and error. During those early years of my career, I faced intense struggles being so young and not having a trusted female mentor from which I could obtain advice. Fortunately, I was blessed to have a couple male mentors that helped me in the early stages of my career. Nonetheless, I felt that I was missing something in my life personally and professionally that I couldn’t put my finger on.
Fast forward to Mastermind, June 2015 in Las Vegas, where I was invited to the conference by a girlfriend in the title business. Through this connection at the Mastermind Conference, I was introduced to Cindy Ertman, industry Coach and Senior Leader at LendUS, dba RPM Mortgage, by a close friend Rick Roque, founder of Menlo Company, a leading M&A and Retail Origination mortgage firm. I’m eternally grateful for this introduction, since this was the start to a pivotal change in personal growth and the development of my business on a deeper level.
The following year in June 2016, at the Mastermind Conference, Cindy and I connected again, and I can officially say this is when she became my mentor. Still to this day, I have her voicemail saved when I decided “Yes” on choosing her as my mentor and business coach.
Now one may ask, what do you look for in a mentor? Someone who is qualified and has been highly successful in what I do. For me, my definition of a mentor is a woman who has the professional and personal characteristics that I want to model in my own life and business. Cindy’s professional accomplishments are second only to her commitment to her family and how she balances her role as a mother and the pressures of her career. She is remarkably intelligent, and has confronted the challenges that women experience in our industry. I feel like I am getting the mentoring and guidance I need in my 30’s that I really needed in my early 20’s.
As a female in what feels like a male dominated industry, I feel it’s very important to have a strong female coach/mentor who has been there before you. She has taught me the “in’s and out’s” of the business so that I can avoid making the same mistakes that others have made in my role in the business. But, having a mentor that is a woman, was very important to me.
If you are a woman in the mortgage business, look for a female mentor with these qualities:
- She is qualified – this woman has accomplished goals or traits that you desire to have in your personal life and business.
- She chooses to be vested in the relationship – Until you’re truly ready for this type of mentorship don’t sign on, since this mentor will be giving her time to you and you need to be ready for this commitment.
- Be Ready to Listen and Take Notes – When you’re with your mentor have a notepad ready. When I’m with Cindy, I’m constantly taking notes from her advice and any phone calls that we have. Pen and paper is always on hand!
When the opportunity presents itself to you for a female mentor, be ready to be inspired! Life is short and listen to your intuition. So often as women, we ignore our intuition, but we need to trust ourselves and take that leap of faith!
Vanessa Frisch, a Sr. Mortgage Consultant from St. Paul, MN. Passionate about ensuring her clients have the best mortgage experience possible and have fun! Vanessa’s first priority is her family; she has two young children (Giselle and Devan) and is married to her husband Dale. In her free time she snowboards with her children, shops until she drops and enjoys a good glass of vino.