Tricia Migliazzo has garnered great success at Lenders One helping others
Tricia Migliazzo (right) at the 2022 Ladies in Lending anniversary event with Sue Meitner, CMB, President and Founder of Centennial Lending Group.
This month I have the honor of speaking with Tricia Migliazzo. Tricia is the senior vice president of origination sales with Lenders One. Tricia lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri.
Tricia came into the mortgage industry through personal contact with someone who recognized her talents and invited her to join a journey to grow a small company into a national one. She accepted the challenge and succeeded.
“Price is only an issue in the absence of value.”
– Tricia Migliazzo
How did you get your start in the mortgage industry?
TM: I came into the industry through a friend of my dad’s. He was the CEO of a mid-sized independent mortgage bank in St. Louis. This gentleman had a dream of growing his business to a national level, and he needed someone to help him.
I took a leap of faith because I was looking for a challenge and this certainly fit the bill. I joined the company working as the operations director overseeing mortgage operations, human resources, licensing, and investor relations for a national consumer direct platform.
During my tenure, the company grew in annual volume from 100 million to a billion and we were licensed in every state. It was a huge accomplishment, and I am so proud to say I was a part of that successful endeavor.
What does being a trailblazer mean to you?
TM: A trailblazer is a woman who is ready to take the road less traveled. She takes chances with no guarantee of success but only the knowledge that she will be paving the way for others to follow.
For a woman in a leadership role, being a trailblazer means keeping your own goals and aspirations firmly in front of you. You need to learn to listen to your own instincts and to be confident in the decisions you make every day that move you and your organization forward.
I am the first woman to hold this senior vice president position at Lenders One. I understand that, along with the responsibilities of the role, I need to be mindful of how my actions and decisions I make will be viewed by other women with their own career goals and aspirations. I want to be sure that I present a positive and encouraging portrait of female leadership.
Where do you see yourself and women in general in our industry over the next five years?
TM: I envision the mortgage business being led by more women in the coming years. We are arising from our previously assumed place to take a seat at boardroom tables across many industries. Ours is no exception.
Women are changing the face of the upper levels of the business world, and it is a welcome and long overdue change for the better. This change is intentional and purposeful for the women who pursue higher-level positions, and they are making a difference for all of those who come after while honoring the struggles of those who came before.
These changes have been wrought through the rise of organizations that support women in their bid to have an equal place at the table. It is a continuing dialogue that raises awareness about the role women can and should play in business leadership and how that can be achieved. The sky’s the limit for all women in all stages of their careers.
What is your professional superpower?
TM: My superpower is being able to read personalities and sense the unique traits of another, then adjusting my approach to relate to them. I find this to be an indispensable part of developing and nurturing relationships both personally and professionally.
Finding common ground and understanding how another person thinks and feels can be invaluable to working in a collaboration. A comfortable personal relationship provides a smoother path to a productive and lasting professional partnership. I find that my ability to tune in to the personal traits of another person and use that ability to find common ground has more than once led to a long-term and fruitful business relationship.
Tell us something about your career in the mortgage industry that was pivotal to your achievements up to today?
TM: I believe that my position as vice president of membership at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) was pivotal for my next career advancement as senior vice president of origination sales at Lenders One.
I was recruited into the role at the MBA by the current chairman at that time. The association was looking to increase and diversify their membership roster. As vice president of membership, I created a strategy to increase and expand member engagement for our community lenders. During my tenure, I was able to grow membership by over 750 new members by creating an awareness of MBA membership benefits and socializing the importance of industry policy and advocacy.
One of my key accomplishments was changing the perception of who the MBA served. My mission accomplished was growing and adding community lenders — small to mid-sized, independent mortgage banks, community banks and credit unions — to the membership base, which ultimately comprised 80% of the residential membership roster.
What advice would you give to a woman entering or trying to move up in their career in our industry?
TM: The most important advice I can offer is to have a passion for what you do. Surround yourself with people who can offer sound advice and support you when you need to make critical decisions and who share that passion, giving you a common ground for collaboration and a good base of productive professional relationships.
I also advise educating yourself. Never stop learning and asking questions of your peers and colleagues. There are so many educational opportunities available through professional development programs and educational offerings within your organization and in the industry.
Create your own brand and work hard at progressing toward your goals. Following through on your commitments and promises is vital to establishing a reputation for reliability and a solid work ethic.
You need to learn to listen to your own instincts and to be confident in the decisions you make every day that move you and your organization forward.
What is your opinion about mentors and how do you recommend finding one?
TM: I think having mentors is an incredibly important facet of a successful career. For young women coming into our industry — one that has been largely paternal for generations — having someone you can trust to advise and guide you is critical.
Finding the right mentor starts with finding a strong connection. Attending networking events and meeting new industry peers is key. When you find someone that you feel comfortable with, be confident and ask them if they would consider offering you their guidance as a mentor.
Being proactive will not only boost your confidence but can also lead to more professional relationships that will even further help you as you move along your career path. Taking the initiative will garner you respect from your peers and those you reach out to for advice.
Mentors are a vital part of a successful career. If you can be confident in asking for the guidance you need, it will be of benefit to you in more ways than one.
What does success mean to you?
TM: For me, success means having a productive, thriving, energetic team. When my team is successful and fulfilled, I am successful and fulfilled. I then feel I have succeeded beyond my own goals and provided an environment for amazing people to realize their own dreams and ambitions. Ultimately, I find great satisfaction in helping our members realize their business success as a result of their membership utilization.
What do you want to be remembered for in our business?
TM: The saying, “Help me, help you” is my mantra.
I want to be remembered for my willingness and passion to serve with my heart as well as my professional skills. I have spent the past 20 years working in an industry I love precisely because it allows me the honor of serving members in the amazing mortgage industry. It is immensely gratifying and is something I will be proud to be remembered for by my colleagues and those who come to the industry after me.
How do you find your voice?
TM: Finding your own voice means getting out of your own way. It means finding the courage within you to shake off doubts and speak up when you know it is important to do so.
Surround yourself with good people who support you and give you the confidence to step out of your comfort zone. Take the risk of speaking up and find the courage to make your opinion heard. You must find the ability to believe in yourself enough to take that leap. Once you have done that, every other time will seem easier until you begin to feel assured in your capacity to share your thoughts with confidence.
I recently met up with a great friend, and we spent a lot of time talking about our lives and careers. We literally wrote on a napkin all the things we wanted to achieve. This friend had just taken a huge career leap and accepted an executive position she aspired for. It was a massive success for her, and I gained confidence by listening to her story.
It is important to understand your own value and worth when you negotiate. Speaking with my friend reminded me of this. And it is the advice I would give to anyone who is struggling to speak up and be heard. Understand your value by talking to those who have taken their own leap of faith. It will inspire you and make finding your courage that much easier.
Where is your happy place outside of work?
TM: The place I go to recharge is the beach. It is the place where I feel peace and happiness.
When I was a child, we spent time on the beach at Marco Island. Those fond memories come back to me now whenever I am sitting in the warm sand, feeling the salty breeze in my face and listening to the waves. At the beach I let go of everything and I am present in the moment.
How do we propel more women into leadership roles within our industry?
TM: Mentoring and being intentional about fostering women with skills, and the qualities that we need in our industry leadership, will be key to promoting more women into those roles in the coming years.
The goal must be clear, and our actions must be decisive in this matter. We need to create spaces for women that offer them the path forward to their seats in the boardroom. And along with offering the opportunities, we must also give them the support, educational tools, and mentoring they need to move upwards with confidence.
Women’s voices are vital to the continued growth and success of the mortgage industry. By assuring the pathway is there to be taken should a woman have the passion, commitment, and drive to walk it, we will give them the chance, not only to attain their goals, but to shine!
Thank you for sharing your insights, Tricia. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
TM: I have been in the mortgage industry for many years. Beginning my career with a mortgage lender helped to foster my passion for, and the importance of membership advocacy in, the association and cooperative sector.
I will never forget the importance of the service we provide to our members at Lenders One. One of the greatest joys for me is helping members attain their business goals. I am grateful for the opportunity to work in this industry, and I am committed to working every day to help our team be successful and providing value to our membership.
I am also devoted to empowering women in all roles in this respected industry and supporting this vital industry initiative in any way I can. Women play a great role in the future of mortgage banking, using their strength, diversity, and drive to further grow the ultimate mission of our industry: helping Americans achieve and maintain the dream of homeownership. Let’s work together to help them shine!
This article was originally published in the Mortgage Women Magazine January 2023 issue.