Honoring Women Of Mortgage Technology

Recognizing and promoting the achievements and stories of women working within mortgage technology

Women of Tech

Jay Arneja

VP, eClose Solutions
SimpleNexus, an nCino company

Jay Arneja

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

The systems and the problems you are solving are both complex and ever-changing. An undocumented history of existing solutions can add additional layers of difficulty for women in the industry, requiring you to ask many questions. You don’t need to know everything, but it’s essential to know who to talk to and to engage with technology systems to find the answers you need.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

Early in my career, I recognized how automation and technology could help remove complexity from the mortgage process. As technology evolved, I became passionate and driven to remove paper-based dependencies and address other complexities in the mortgage space.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

Stay relentlessly curious by asking questions and then to make informed decisions from the knowledge you gain.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

I was fortunate to have two mentors during my time at MERSCORP Holdings who had a significant impact on my career. They fostered a culture that included sharing knowledge, recognizing individuals’ contributions in the assembly line, continually assessing the cost of time the team spends on solutions and constant reminders that our end goal is to serve the borrower.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

I would love to see widespread technology adoption, which leads to more growth and product improvements. Proper technology adoption is the key to improving the standardization of process milestones and resolving critical issues within the mortgage industry.


Marcy Ash

Director of Strategic Projects
Down Payment Resource

Marcy Ash

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

One of the biggest challenges facing women in tech is not just a lack of representation, but a lack of community as well. It is crucial that women in tech find a community of other women - whether it’s with their company, an industry association or a local womens’ collaborative — to share professional and personal development advice and help grow each others’ careers.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

While working for Huntington Bank’s Secondary Marketing team, I noticed that too many affordable lending opportunities for first-time and low-to-moderate income borrowers were lost due to an insufficient understanding and awareness of down payment assistance programs and products.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

The best advice I can offer to women who are considering a career in tech is to find your passion and pursue opportunities to create or improve existing technology in that area.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

Early on in my career, I was lucky to have the mentorship of executive leaders and managers at Huntington Bank, who recognized my passion and encouraged me to build my expertise in affordable lending initiatives.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

Education, communication, and relationships founded on trust and respect are pivotal to expanding affordable homeownership accessibility. That is why I’d like to see more borrowers and industry professionals leverage informative solutions to overcome the most common misconceptions about down payment assistance and affordable lending products.


Sydney Bocik

Director of Product Management
AppraisalVision

Sydney Bocik

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

The barrier to entry is the single greatest challenge women in tech face. The smartest and most humbling thing you can do is admit that you don’t understand or have the answer. Learn everything you can, and start treating every task like it is worth your time until you’ve mastered it.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

I came to Jim Cutillo, my CEO, through his job posting for an executive assistant, with no experience. But what I did bring to the table was a desire to learn everything. I developed a fascination with the way data and technology can transform an industry.

What is the most important or valuable advice that can you offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

Reflect on where you’ve been and determine where you don’t want to go. There are technological advancements around today that weren’t around even a year ago. Change your career, and change it again.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

Jim Cutillo was the first person to give me a chance. The way he interprets problems, and inspires those around him to find solutions, is an art that cannot be taught. My greatest influence is my mother. Raising me as a single mom, despite not having much, she made it seem as though we had everything.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

I’d like to see everyone branch out. The white elephant in everyone’s room is that the inefficiencies your organizations face are the same problems your counterparts face, as well.


Amy Braun

Director of Product Strategy
Rocket Companies

Amy Braun

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

Outside of the implicit gender bias that is still very real in many tech roles, one of the biggest challenges we encounter is having confidence in ourselves. Some of that uncertainty comes from the times when others underestimate our abilities, but it’s vital that we trust ourselves, acknowledge what we bring to the table, and don’t self-impose our own limits.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

I started as an English major in college and originally worked in publishing. Through a series of what I call “mini careers” at a leading ed tech company, I discovered my passion for product development.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

It might be cliché — but I’d recommend finding a mentor. Beyond that, I often give advice to focus on relationships with colleagues. It’s easy in technology to focus on the project or problem you’re working on solving, but success is so often about collaboration.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

I found myself in the product management space thanks to a strong female product leader who saw in me the ability to make an impact. Thanks to that relationship, I had access to the training and advocacy I needed to set me up for a rewarding and meaningful product management career.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

I hope that the industry continues to develop programs, products, and processes that make it easier for consumers to buy a home.


Maya Gardner

Director Program Management
Blue Sage Solutions

Maya Gardner

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

We often bear more family responsibilities than men, juggling household duties and child care. We are often negatively impacted in the workplace for the time we take off to have children. We must start with acknowledging the challenges women face and providing management training to better support women.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

My education was focused on finance, which led to a corporate position as a finance manager in my first job. I was fortunate and was exposed to the first iterations of corporate banking automation. The company which hired me was a technology partner building a custom platform for cash management.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

I think the most important and valuable advice I could offer other women in technology is to follow your passion. I wasted years being afraid. Women should not be intimidated to enter a field that is predominantly male.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

Terri Lynn Cardona, who was head of human resources, was a great mentor to me early in my career. She coached me through a number of challenges and helped me develop a strategy for success. Over the years, I have had other managers, colleagues, and executives help me along my path who have become lifelong friends.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

The most significant change I would like to see is more top spots filled by the qualified women in our industry.


Jennifer Henry

Managing Director, Government Credit, Housing Strategy & Capital Markets
Equifax

Jennifer Henry

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

One of the biggest challenges is the lack of female role models in senior leadership positions, which equals a lack of mentorship. I am encouraged to see an increasing number of women choosing to build their careers within our industry.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

When I first started in my career, I spent nine years working for a mortgage company. I gained valuable business skills. That experience prepared me for my role selling mortgage technology at Fannie Mae.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

Women leaders bring different skills and qualities to an organization and companies that have more diversity benefit from those differences. Women need to embrace the strengths they bring such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, empathy and a stronger ability to multitask.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

My mother was a single parent who modeled hard work and taught me that I could do anything that I put my mind to. I’d have to say that my current boss (male) and the other women on our leadership team have had the most influence on my success.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

The social climate in the country has put more focus on the area of the industry I am most passionate about: providing greater access to homeownership to minority and underserved borrowers. I would like to see continued advancements in technology that further unlock insights that can help underserved borrowers.


Katy Howell

Product Manager
Xactus

Katy Howell

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

I believe the two greatest challenges are that the industry is still predominantly male and there are not enough mentors to encourage women in professional development. I think these challenges are easily overcome by advancing your career with the support of a great company and surrounding yourself with great mentors to help you grow professionally and personally.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

When our legacy companies merged, I was serving as director of client relations. I was asked to help lead the development of our proprietary technology system. I discovered a passion I never knew I had.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

The most valuable advice I can offer is research whatever field it is that you want to work in and surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. Find out what it takes to be successful at whatever position interests you by conducting online research, taking courses, and learning what’s required.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

My success as a product manager can be attributed to the leadership team at Xactus. This includes our President Shelley Leonard and COO Jayne Kelly, who are taking the time to mentor me.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

I would like to see more automation and less hassle. I think as an industry we have accepted the status quo for the last decade and never pushed the envelope in terms of what the mortgage process could be.


Tracie Hunter

Senior Managing Director, Production Business Technology
Pennymac

Tracie Hunter

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

Women are faced with plenty of challenges - whether it be the lack of female role models and mentors, gender bias, and/or unequal growth opportunities. One critical component to assist with overcoming these challenges includes connecting with role models, mentors, and allies.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

I took several computer science courses in college as I was intrigued with the problems that could be solved with software. I landed a position within the mortgage finance division of a major bank in New York. I eventually began working on crafting business strategies that needed technical solutions to improve workflow, efficiencies, and client engagement.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

First, women shouldn’t be afraid to be themselves. The best innovations and solutions are created by diverse ideas that come together, sometimes in surprising ways and from unexpected sources. Taking risks is also greatly important.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

My parents have greatly influenced my career. Early on, they instilled a very high level of work ethic, drive, confidence, and most importantly humility. As for professional mentors, my first manager created an impression on me because of her approach, investment of time, and dynamic teaching culture.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

It’s crucial that we continue to drive diversity. We need to support and include women and underrepresented minorities, and continue to seek out individuals with varied backgrounds during the recruiting and hiring process.


Jennifer Johnson

Senior Director of Product Management
Sagent

Jennifer Johnson

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

The biggest challenge is the lack of women in leadership positions, which would benefit the growth of women in our industry. And the best way to overcome these challenges is to exude confidence in the work that we produce, and how we present ourselves to our employers, employees, customers, etc.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

I’ve been involved in several important campaigns, including the launch of a brand-new website from ideation to market launch. I was given the opportunity to be in the trenches of the project, which really sparked my interest in product management and technology.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

The advice I would offer would be: just do it. Use your voice and be confident, but it’s important to understand that if you are unsure of anything, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

At my previous company, one of my managers — who was one of the few women leaders in the tech department — helped me build my confidence and supported me during a highly visible project that I was presenting to a room of upper-level executives. Shelli Girard (Sagent teammate) is an inspiration as she manages a development team (predominantly men) and does it successfully.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

As our industry continues to grow and evolve, I would love to see more women — at all levels — be recognized for their accomplishments, especially in mortgage technology.


Sara Knochel

CEO of Data & Analytics
Candor Technology

Sara Knochel

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

One of the big challenges I think women face is making themselves indispensable at the expense of their effectiveness. It’s difficult to pass up the short-term gains of always being available, always swooping in to solve problems, becoming endearing to everyone. However, I think there is a need to recognize the difference between what is urgent and what is important.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

I always enjoyed math and science in school. When I got to college, I realized computer science was a discipline that would let me work in any field, and it was a skill I could continue to build on for the rest of my life.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

You can be nice and still succeed. In fact, it’s very difficult to be successful while trying to be something different than who you are.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

I was fortunate to have many mentors, beginning with my parents who sought to expose me to teachers, coaches, classmates, and peers who would both challenge and nurture me. … I was also blessed with numerous female role models throughout my career.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

The focus on digitizing and automating the mortgage has been constrained by working within the existing siloed and linear mortgage-making process. The most beneficial technologies will disrupt and collapse the existing business processes rather than simply make the existing processes move faster.


Camelia Martin

Vice President, eMortgage Strategy & Industry Affairs
Snapdocs

Camelia Martin

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

Equal pay is a challenge for women in any industry, and tech is no different. If you want to make a difference here — start with yourself. Start by educating yourself, knowing your worth, and then advocating for yourself.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

I spent most of my career in a mortgage technology company’s legal, risk, and operations roles. Whenever there was an initiative involving tech, I raised my hand because I knew it was an area I needed more exposure to, and I was only going to learn it by doing it. The more I understood the tech, the more interested I became in its power to transform our business.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

Tech is flashy to the point where it can be blinding. Spend as much time, if not more, understanding the industry you serve and the problems you’re trying to solve as you spend on staying sharp on tech.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

Many individuals have opened doors for me, pointed me in the right direction, or cheered me on along the way. But the most influential figures in my life have been my parents. They taught me the importance of grit and hard work.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

Mortgage processes are already complex. Great mortgage tech implementations start with a deep understanding of processes and an appreciation for that complexity – before they seek to simplify them.


Rhonda McGill

Senior Director, Client Solutions
PerformLine Inc.

Rhonda McGill

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

Women who were curious about technology careers often struggled to find a female mentor. Now, women are finding one another in social spaces where they can network and share their stories. We have to keep the conversations going and continue to build networks that will encourage women of all ages to explore careers in technology.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

I work in the regulatory technology space by way of several years of working in the housing and mortgage industry, falling in love with marketing compliance. Whereas I don’t build the technology, I do have a huge input in the process as it applies to solving challenges faced by our clients who work in compliance.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

I would beg all women entering into tech careers to rethink everything and challenge others to rethink it from the lens of a woman.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

I have had several mentors throughout the years … women who have genuinely cared about community and making the world a better place. In the end, I would say my mentor was my late mother who told me that I could do and be anything that I wanted.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

I would love to see the (remote online notarization) process go from origination through closing and beyond with a 100% paperless process to help ensure a sustainable environment for future generations to come.


Stacy Mestayer

Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel
Voxtur Analytics

Stacy Mestayer

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

Securing a seat at the table is the first hurdle (to entering a traditionally male-dominated industry). Once you’re in the seat, you often (unjustifiably) have more to prove than your male counterparts. You can use this to your advantage. Let them underestimate you. This allows you to build a bigger moat around your business.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

Technology was not my intended path, but when I caught a glimpse of the impact that technology can have on business, I never looked back. I’ve found the most interesting opportunities to be at the intersection of traditionally manual business processes.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

Listen, learn, and provide value wherever you go. You can learn most of what you need to know in any setting by listening more than you talk.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most intelligent, creative people in the industry. I don’t consider any one person to be my mentor, but I do believe that you can learn something from everyone you encounter, and that is what I aim to do.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

We have the ability to make homeownership a reality for more people, as long as we’re open to creating the change necessary to do it. Incorporating more targeted data analytics to drive automation and digitization creates efficiencies that directly reduce costs.


Maria Moskver

CEO
Cloudvirga, Inc.

Maria Moskver

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

Believing in what you are trying to achieve is the most important aspect of any business. Any industry has its challenges, whether you are a man or woman shouldn’t make a difference. If you have an idea and you know where you want to take it, then don’t overthink it, put it in motion, and take it to the next level!

What led you down the path of working in technology?

I dabbled in DOS programming in the 90s and worked in the computer lab in both undergrad and grad school. I studied economics and business in undergrad. Then. … I went to law and business school. My first executive position during grad school was in tech and in the mortgage industry in 1998.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

Don’t be afraid to take positions that you may not have all of the ‘desired skills’ for - you can always learn and improve along the way. Be a student of what you are doing, keep on learning, and share your knowledge with your supporting team.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

There have been many along the way. If you seek improvement, you can learn something from everyone you encounter in your life.

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

The mortgage process needs to become much more efficient through technology and yet still be a great customer experience. The various players in the mortgage process need to come together and figure out how to share information.


Bridget Taylor

CRM Program Director
Delmar Mortgage

Bridget Taylor

What do you believe are the greatest challenges women in tech are facing today? What are your suggestions on overcoming these challenges?

The greatest challenge for women in tech is the lack of women mentors. With tech being male-dominated, women may be intimidated to enter the tech space. The lack of women mentors in tech continues to keep women from entering and advancing in this space.

What led you down the path of working in technology?

Marketing led me into technology. Having been in marketing for over 15 years, I was given the opportunity to work alongside a platform manager to provide the voice of the loan officer as advancements and integration were taking place. I then had the opportunity to work to define not only the customer journey and how to use tech to enhance that but the loan officer journey as well through the use of technology.

What is the most important or valuable advice that you can offer to women starting their careers in tech today?

Don’t stop speaking up, and don’t stop pushing and believing in yourself. Use that passion and drive in yourself to advance, be heard, and be successful.

Do you have any mentors or figures who have greatly influenced your success?

I’ve been fortunate to have two mentors. Julia Hoffman has taught me to always speak up, to hold my ground, and that it’s OK to say no when a project doesn’t fit the overall company strategy and goal. Scott Cange has taught me to lead with empathy and compassion through this tough time..

What significant changes would you like to see within the world of mortgage technology?

I like to see increased user engagement in the mortgage industry. I think all mortgage companies struggle with this.

This article was originally published in the Mortgage Women Magazine January 2023 issue.
Published on
Jan 27, 2023
MORTGAGE WOMEN MAGAZINE
Irene the Machine

Bronx Born, Business Bound

Sarah Wolak
MORTGAGE WOMEN MAGAZINE
Sold On Social

How to sell a personal brand on social media

Jack Dunn
MORTGAGE WOMEN MAGAZINE
A Seat At The Table

The newly-formed Mortgage Women Leadership Council offers women in the industry support to navigate challenges and achieve work-life balance

Sarah Wolak
MORTGAGE WOMEN MAGAZINE
Inclusion Matters

Working towards a common goal unites employees and promotes inclusivity

Erica Restich
MORTGAGE WOMEN MAGAZINE
Take The Risk, Or Lose The Chance

Taking control of your life starts now

Tina Asher
MORTGAGE WOMEN MAGAZINE
The New Frontier

In a modern lending landscape, be on high alert to safeguard against appraisal bias

Allison Schilz and Daniella Casseres

Webinars

Build Your Personal Brand (And Close More Loans) By Optimizing Credit Scores

Description In a competitive market, originators are constantly on the hunt for something that will give th...

Webinar
Jun 27, 2024
Investor Confidence in Today’s Non-QM And Why Originators Are Paying Attention... A Virtual Town Hall

We host Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions for a special 2021 edition of their virtual town hall series they ran fro...

Webinar
Apr 08, 2021
How to Help Real Estate Pros in a Post-Refi World

Hear from Melissa Merriman, REALTOR® with The Melissa Merriman Team at Keller Williams, on what real estate pr...

Webinar
Mar 18, 2021
Editor’s Picks
Connect with your local mortgage community.

Meet your your colleagues, both national and local, by attending an event in your area.