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The Mortgage Leadership Outlook on Wednesday, Jan. 13, featured Leora Ruzin, senior vice president of wholesale operations at Equity Prime Mortgage. Ruzin joined series' host Andrew Berman, head of engagement and outreach for National Mortgage Professional Magazine.
Together they explore her Army background, recent career focus in the wholesale channel, Mortgage Women Magazine, life-changing professional and personal moves, and more.
Ruzin serves as senior vice president of wholesale operations at EPM and as managing editor of Mortgage Women Magazine. She is also the new secretary for The Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals National's local Fresno, California chapter board of directors.
Before joining EPM, Ruzin spent time as vice president of secondary marketing for Guaranteed Rate and prior to that, she served as the vice president, director of mortgage product development for Flagstar Bank.
Highlights From The Interview
- Ruzin is an Army veteran, which makes giving back to the military important. She understands how hard it can be for veterans to transition back into civilian life. She went from holding a top-secret security clearance to working at McDonalds.
- “As I’ve grown up in the mortgage industry, I’ve understood that my position as a leader and influencer gives me the opportunity to give back,” said Ruzin. She added that being on the VAREP board of directors gives her more of an ability to help veterans, many of whom don’t know how to use their VA benefits when applying for a loan.
- Ruzin learned a lot of lessons through her service in the Army. When she was struggling to get through basic training, her Drill Sergeant actually pulled her aside to ask how she could help her succeed.
- “You don’t have to lead with an iron fist. You don’t have to give up. Failures are opportunities to grow,” said Ruzin.
- Ruzin seized the opportunity to take a higher position at a large bank with multiple mortgage channels, after working for a credit union in Virginia. She was tasked with overseeing mortgage product development but after eight months she lost her job. She felt like she had failed and felt sorry for herself for about two weeks. However, she sought council counsel from her “tribe” and also thought about all of the hurdles she had overcome to that point.
- She moved on to Guaranteed Rate where she served as vice president of secondary marketing for two years.
- “I’m always looking to grow and learn. I want to be the master of my craft,” said Ruzin. “I understood very early on that no one else is going to get me where I need to be, but me.”
- Ruzin has a degree in accounting, human resources and business management. She was hired by a mortgage company in Aurora, Colorado, to do their books just before the mortgage collapse. She wanted to further understand the mortgage business and was hooked.
- She began writing for Mortgage Women Magazine in 2015. It all started because she was a Denver Broncos fan who loved to live tweet during the games. She caught the attention of NFL Female, an NFL-sponsored beat-writing website, who was looking for a writer to cover the Broncos. That’s where she began her craft as a writer.
- “I personally feel that for women, we have to come to the table way more prepared than men do. We have to have above and beyond what should be necessary to get the same kind of salary that a man would get,” said Ruzin.
- When asked to elaborate on what she meant by going above and beyond, Ruzin feels she had to sacrifice her home life and actively say, “Look at what I am sacrificing to give you 110%.” She also had to research what a man in her position would make compared to what she was offered. Ruzin said getting her CMB and coaching (along with advocating and educating herself) were ways in which she felt she was working harder to show her worth against male counterparts.
See the full conversation between Ruzin and Berman below. Click here to check out our previous episode featuring Denise Tragale.
See all the interviews from the Mortgage Leadership Outlook series on its YouTube channel.