Moira Studio: Today we are here with Rachel Lake from Fairway Mortgage–an awesome woman and an awesome client. So Rachel, tell us a little bit about what you do.
Rachel Lake: I’m a mortgage loan officer, which means I help people finance homes from purchasing and refinancing residential properties.
MS: Mortgage is not a super female-dominated industry. What do you feel is a nice piece of advice for other women trying to get into male-dominated industries?
RL: I think my number one piece of advice is to find other women within those fields that have been successful or have some tenure, and just find a way to get in with them, get in front of them. Women want to support other women, I find. Don’t just jump in. Really look for that support network of women–whether they’re in that specific industry or another like industry they can be a support for you. It’s not easy, but it’s a lot of fun with the right tribe around you.
MS: What do you think, nowadays, is the most empowering thing about being a woman?
RL: I think it’s a really exciting time to be a woman, just with the kinds of conversations that are finally happening. I think one of the things I like most about being a woman in my field is my ability to really bring my strong, feminine power and presence into what I do. There are these stereotypes about people like myself and what it’s supposed to look like, but I feel like I’ve been able to shed that and just bring my strengths that complement being a woman into what I do. Holding space for people to really feel comfortable and relaxed and bring that more nurturing vibe into what I do is very different than the expectation. Especially from the sales perspective.
MS: We’re super thankful that you chose us to work with you, and we love working with other women. How do you think it’s important that us women in business support each other?
RL: Well, I heard a quote once that said women don’t just want to buy from other women– women want to buy from the best. What I find is, when you’re working with female entrepreneurs, in general, there seems to be just a higher level of excellence in my experience, because we just care more about the detail. We spend too much time attacking each other as women and breaking each other down. I’m sick of it. I’m over it. We have almost been as bad towards one another as men have been, or “others” have been towards us. So I think that just the conversation of that coming together and supporting one another as sisters, when we do that we have so much power because of how we tend come together in that tribe mentality. The sky’s the limit. There’s a power there that comes from just the way we are as women when we interact and come together and support one another.
MS: What was your journey to your position as a mortgage agent, and how did you decide you wanted to get involved in it?
RL: Well, I did not grow up as a little girl dreaming about being a mortgage loan officer, for sure. I’ve always loved real estate since high school. I’ve always known that I wanted to be a real estate investor and that’s always kind of been my dream. I literally fell into it. I could not find a job after college, I was just sending out resumes, I got a call back from a mortgage company, and literally the rest is history. That was 13 years ago. I got into sales not knowing that I would love it as much as I do, and not knowing I would like taking care of people as much as I actually do. And so once I kind of started to realize, “Oh I can actually make some money doing this?” and I can actually really fulfill that side of me that wants to serve and take care of people and be an asset to them. And then I learned the business and just kind of developed over the years, and here we are.
MS: What is the most challenging part of being a woman in this field?
RL: I think for one, it’s the prejudgement. Especially being judged by what you look like, and being expected to not have the authority or the knowledge or the wisdom just because of the stereotype. The average loan officer in my business is a 52-year-old white man. That’s the average age and the average demographic. So when they see a younger woman who’s not in a pantsuit, sometimes there’s an expectation that I won’t be able to hold my own. The second thing is really just feeling a little drowned out sometimes, because of all the noise and the loud talkers in the room. And always being expected to be the emotional one, so you have to almost gauge what you say when you’re in a room full of men because God forbid you speak with passion about anything–you’re just labelled as an emotional woman. Or if you do have a reaction to something, for whatever reason, again “emotional” is thrown around and you’re just sort of disregarded. So I guess the biggest challenge is really being able to communicate my truth and speak with power and authority in a way that can be received.
MS: What achievement are you most proud of?
RL: I have, for 3 years in a row, been a recipient of the 5-star Professional Award. It’s based on anonymous client reviews, and it’s a service award. Anyone who knows me knows that I care passionately about the experience that my clients have with me, and so having that acknowledged and really come through in what my clients have to say about me has been really gratifying.
MS: Do you have a woman in your field who inspires you?
RL: There are a lot of women in my field who inspire me. I have a great network of loan officers across the country, men and women, but there are some really amazing women who are really good at owning their power as women and creating businesses that really fit with what they want for their lives and how they want to serve. But my real sort of heroes, would be Sheryl Sandberg obviously, Sallie Krawcheck, so these women who have broken through the glass ceiling and are willing to have those conversations. When Sheryl Sandberg wrote her book 10 years ago, it was revolutionary because she really took the “we have to be like men” conversation to the next level. And I think that even just a few years later that book almost doesn’t apply so much anymore because we have made so much progress. But the women who have made themselves bold and put themselves on the butcher block and put themselves out there really paved the way for us to have conversations and own our femininity in the workplace.
MS: What led you to work with an all-female advertising team?
RL: Women want to work with the best, and it just so happens that you guys are the best in your field! Plain and simple! But more than that, it’s that understanding of my point of view. I feel like you guys have the ability to communicate that in a unique way, because I do have a passion for working with other women. And so, I think it’s just a natural fit to work with people who are aligned with my vision who can communicate that.