Getting Back Out There – NMP

Christy Soukhamneut

Chief of Staff and Director of Mortgage Strategic Initiatives, Flagstar Bank

Because we haven’t been gathering at conferences, I’ve stepped up the different ways I can connect with customers via social media, emails and video conferencing and taking advantage of opportunities to share information. I’ve also looked for alternative ways to stimulate my mind and feed my soul. It turned out to be the perfect time to get my CMB, find some online art classes, snuggle up with some great books, and dive into the MasterClass by David Rogier and The Great Courses from the Teaching Company. While these classes aren’t directly related to the mortgage industry, they do get me thinking about innovation and ways I can better serve my customers. Still, if the past year has taught me anything, it’s that nothing replaces face-to-face interaction. I’m cautiously optimistic about clinking glasses with friends and colleagues again very soon.

Laura Martell

Executive Vice President, Mountain West Financial, Inc.

The “new normal” … how many times have you heard that phrase in the last year? Normal sounds like such a mundane moment in time, when in reality, we’re living in a future chapter of a history book. We are still forging new paths and those who adapt will benefit for years to come. Moving forward, I believe we will network, connect and interact with people using the same methodology as we do when examining our customer experiences. We will meet and work with people in the ways in which they are comfortable and using the methods and technology that align with it. Whether face-to-face, 6 feet apart, screen-to-screen, or some hybrid variation, we need to continue focusing on creating and fostering genuine connections – authenticity is the new normal.

Jelaire Grillo

Customer Relationship Manager, National Sales Support Team, Prosperity Home Mortgage LLC

I remember my last trip in 2020. I flew out to Connecticut to train a group of Mortgage Consultants and I remember sitting in the airport – it was quiet, some people were wearing masks, and I remember thinking – I wonder if this is my list trip? Turns out it was, and I had no idea how much I would miss it. Now that we are a year in, I have not been back out in the field yet, but I am hearing rumblings that we are starting back up and I could not be more excited! There is nothing I love more than being in person with people – talking, training and getting to know them. I love everything about it and if this year has taught me anything, it is the value of human connection. Now don’t get me wrong – I have been connecting with people – maybe even more so than I was pre-pandemic and even though it is not the same as in person – I have managed to build some amazing relationships with people during this virtual time. Going virtual has forced us to get creative with how we interact with our peers, our partners and our clients. Which requires people to take a step outside their comfort zones and I have to say, I have loved watching this transformation. At PHM, we saw so many people move from the mindset of “I am not comfortable with using video” to “I love video and it has helped me to bridge the gap with my partners and clients”. So as we move into some sort of normalcy, my hope is that we will continue to get creative in how we build and maintain relationships while getting the opportunity to be back in person again.

Rio Herbik

Director of Digital Content, OVM Financial

At OVM Financial, the business has not stopped. Instead, it kept moving at lightning speed. 2020 was a record year for our company, and we’ve had to shift, adjust, and refocus without missing a beat. There was (and there still is) an on-going learning curve. However, no matter the challenge, we put our heads together, problem-solve to pull through for our clients and partners. Our office implemented COVID-friendly protocols and working from home became a reality. Our annual awards ceremony went virtual this year, and we’ve created a #TeamOVM Facebook group with weekly challenges and prizes to keep the remote team connected and engaged. Conferences have also shifted to the virtual space, which has been fantastic because they are more accessible to team members who would like to attend but do not have the flexibility to travel at a whim. Overall, it has been a whirlwind of a year, and I wouldn’t have wanted to go through it with any other team.

Coleen Bogle

Vice President of Marketing, Draper and Kramer Mortgage

I travel frequently in a non-pandemic world, so it’s been challenging not seeing my marketing crew, leadership team friends and industry colleagues. Virtual conferences keep my attention span if they’re interactive, but I’m eager to get back to in-person events. I’ve traveled three times over the last year, taking many precautions, including lots of hand sanitizer, N-95 masks and limiting physical contact. I don’t regret it as nothing compares to face-to-face interaction. Microsoft Teams has been a gamechanger – I’ve gotten to know my pandemic hires, meet new LOs and connect with my CEO with ease. I host regular team “hangouts” where we play games and share personal stories which allows us to take a break from the daily grind. As far as getting fully “back to business,” I can’t wait until normalcy returns. This has been an incredible and challenging learning experience that has made me a better manager.

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