Where I started:
After college, I worked in retail and marketing. A friend of mine was a broker that had worked with First National, and recommended that I explore any possible opportunities to work here. In 2006, I applied for a role in funding with no mortgage experience and got the job. It was a totally different industry and career path for me, but I was very excited about the change. As I got into the role, I enjoyed the diverse aspects of it, including examining credit and dealing with lawyers.
How I grew:
I immediately sensed that I could go far at First National. There are a lot of opportunities for movement, managers are really supportive, and everyone helps everyone. In funding, I had the chance to work closely with underwriters. I knew that I wanted to advance, so I made the move to fulfillment. I diversified my skill set even more in that role, knowing that I wanted to take the next step into underwriting. I’ve been an Underwriter for the past six years. To reach that goal, I focused on progressive learning, trying to master each role and its specific pieces of the overall process. I also engaged with the professionals around me, watching what they were doing, taking notes and gaining as much knowledge as possible.
The support I received:
When I was in my fulfillment role, I received great advice from my managers. They told me to pay attention to detail, be organized and patient, stick to the process and be consistent. I was constantly encouraged to learn, whether it was a mortgage underwriting course, idea sharing with colleagues or First National’s role-focused, online courses and webinars. Our intranet, Arthur, enabled me to self manage a lot of my own learning as well, with access to tools, resources, links, explanations and definitions. I also really valued the consistent feedback from my managers. Their recognition of my progress – what was going well and what needed work – inspired my confidence in myself.
The First National difference:
First National is a really comfortable place to work. It’s a business and work environment that are always evolving. I feel a real sense of belonging here and I appreciate the team-oriented nature of the culture. When people ask me about First National, I always recommend it as a great place to work. The tools and training are available to help you further yourself and grow as a professional.
My advice and perspective:
Pay attention to detail. Grow your analytical skills. Ask a lot of questions. Be confident in your decisions. And be aware of how your role impacts the overall process. If you don’t know something, at least know where to look for answers or whom to ask. It’s also important to be consistent and organized, so your important relationships with brokers, other underwriters and your managers can be as productive as possible. And most importantly, have fun.