Residential Magazine

Overcome That ‘Only Woman in the Room’ Feeling

These tips will help you take your mortgage career to the next level

By Mandi Feely

Somewhere out there is a woman who just started a mortgage processing job and has no idea what FHA stands for (Federal Housing Administration, by the way). She’ll comb through her first 1003 application with thoughts of dismay. 

As with anyone who aspires to be successful in business — whether it be a mortgage originator or entrepreneur — there are many challenges along the way. Being a woman in the industry only compounds that. Although women have long held more jobs as real estate agents than men, the opposite is true on the financing side of the business. That’s slowly changing, but only 40% of originators are women, according to a 2018 Stratmor Group study.

This makes trying to adjust to the already- complex mortgage industry all the more difficult. You may be that woman trying to make sense of all the mortgage acronyms and jargon while managing the pressures that you’ve dealt with your entire life. You may feel like a deer caught in the headlights. You can overcome this and take your mortgage career to the next level.

Be genuine

Many women have walked into a meeting or networking event to discover they are either the only woman or one of the few women in the room. In these moments, when you have an opinion to express, you might have second thoughts about voicing it because of preconceived notions of societal expectations. 

Ignore that. 

You also may feel as though you need to be on one end of the extreme when it comes to aggressiveness. Either you should be overly assertive or defer constantly based on how you think society feels you should fit in among many of your male counterparts. 

Ignore that as well.

Instead, be your own person and approach these situations as opportunities to show people who you really are on a professional level. More often than not, you will find people ultimately respect authenticity. 

Many of the insecurities that women deal with stem from negative self-talk. It’s easy to say you should ignore that, but it is true. You should do what you can to fight this by associating yourself with mentors who learned how to overcome it. Read books, listen to podcasts, follow leaders on social media, etc., who can help teach you to defeat the fears that lead to this self-doubt. Take what you learn from these resources and morph that into your own style.

Accept help

From the moment you begin your career up until you retire, you will always have opportunities to network and meet new people. Always take advantage of that. It may be tempting to say you are too tired to attend that evening mixer, or you may not get along with everyone who is attending that luncheon, but do your best to put yourself in a position to meet new people. 

You never know where the next referral may come from. If you follow the tip about being genuine in how you speak to people, the more chances you have to meet people who are likely to help you land new business next week, next month or even next year. 

If someone is willing to offer you help, take them up on it if you think it is a good fit. Don’t be shy about accepting help. No one gets where they want to go by going alone. 

Banish self-doubt

Don’t be afraid to fail. Self-doubt plays a factor here, too. To reach big goals, you need to dream big and work hard to accomplish them. Every successful businessperson has failed — every single one. Failure is a great learning opportunity. 

Many get caught up in trying to perfect everything before making a leap. Perfection is a crutch that holds us back. There is no perfect way to go about reaching the goals you want to achieve. It simply takes work — a lot of it. It also takes guts and staring failure in the face while saying, “Bring it on.” 

Fear is at the root of self-doubt, and fear is never completely overcome because it is a natural human emotion. There is a way to channel it, however, and refocus your thoughts on the emotions that will take you to amazing heights. 

Support others

Treat people kindly while also being transparent. Here’s an example: If you are worried about a loan and you don’t make a call to an agent or borrower because you fear telling them bad news, you are only going to end up hurting the relationship. Instead, be transparent and explain to them that they can’t purchase a home now, but what they can do is put a plan in place to get to the point where they are able to complete the purchase. 

You should always be willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. You never know when that person you helped is going to do the same for you, or even become a client or referral partner. You will earn the position you are striving for among your peers, clients and community when others trust and respect you.

Finally, wake up tomorrow, look in the mirror and tell yourself you are great. If you want something, the only things holding you back from achieving it are your abilities and spirit. ●


  • Mandi Feely

    Mandi Feely is the branch manager of Premier Mortgage Resources in Meridian, Idaho, and is the leader of Team Mandi (her origination team). Feely has more than 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry, including positions as a loan processor, originator and manager. She landed among the top producers in the nation this year in Scotsman Guide’s Top Women Originators rankings. She was born and raised in Idaho, and graduated from Boise State University. She lives with her husband Cory and two kids, Aly and Blake.

You might also like...