MBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative and Programs

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Throughout my career, and especially as the President and CEO of MBA, assembling a diverse and inclusive team has been one of my priorities. I firmly believe that to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s customers, organizations must empower women and minorities to achieve their full potential and break down any barriers to success. We need to build and sustain a diverse industry and workforce so we can best meet the needs of our nation’s diverse communities. I am proud that MBA has made it a priority to promote a diverse and inclusive industry, and I want to highlight a few of our endeavors.

We will present our first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Residential Leadership Awards to MBA member companies during our Annual Convention & Expo, October 23-26 in Boston.  The idea was developed by MBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, a board-level committee of senior managers currently chaired by MBA Chairman-Elect Rodrigo López of Northmarq Capital. Companies will be recognized for programs that foster diversity and inclusion, and it’s our goal to use these awards to help raise awareness of the most innovative and effective programs with the hope that more organizations implement programs going forward. We have received many applications since we announced the program and the deadline for nominations is fast approaching — August 8th.

I invite MBA members to join the conversation on November 16-17 here in Washington, DC, for MBA’s 2016 Summit on Diversity and Inclusion. You’ll hear from experts who have implemented strong diversity and inclusion programs who will make the business case for diversity, the “diversity dividend”. This is a great summit for top executives in residential and commercial/multifamily companies, as well as human resources professionals on your team. MBA is also proud to foster diverse leadership in our industry by offering the Path to Diversity & Inclusion Professional Development Scholarship, to help women, minorities, and members of the LGBT community cover the costs of career-advancing MBA Education programs and courses.

Additionally, we have made it a priority to create venues and events for women in our industry to network and learn about issues important to their success.  At several MBA conventions we have been hosting events and featured speakers geared toward women.  In fact, our recent event during the MBA Secondary Conference drew rave reviews from HousingWire’s Brena Swanson calling it a “room filled with hundreds of the top women in real estate finance.”

So it’s no surprise that many MBA member leaders were honored as part of this year’s 2016 HousingWire Women of Influence, including Jamie Korus, Kim Alexander, Nancy Alley, Kim Hoffman, Mary Ann McGarry, Susan Chenoweth, Sarah Valentini, Cheryl Travis-Johnson, Donna DeMaio and many others. We’re especially proud that our own Marina Walsh, Vice President of Industry Analysis at MBA, made this year’s list of influential women, following on the heels of MBA’s Chief Operating Officer, Marcia Davies, who was among HousingWire’s 2015 honorees.

Today’s landscape for real estate finance looks very different from a generation ago.  Many leaders in our industry are adapting to meet that newer, more diverse customer base. But we all need to do more to make sure our organizations and the industry reflect the vibrant communities we serve to understand their housing finance needs.  At MBA, we’re excited to build on that progress and take the mortgage banking business even further, and much faster.