Director of Western Canada, Third Party Residential Underwriting
Where I started:
I began my career at First National 15 years ago. I was 20 years old. I had no idea where it would lead, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I began as a Funder and worked my way through various roles including Fulfillment, Internal Account Manager, Underwriter, Manager, and now, Director. In my latest role, I’m working in the third party division and I’m responsible for provinces from British Columbia to Manitoba. Prior to this role, my focus was BC only, so this transition offered an exciting new challenge – different provinces and new relationships to build with brokers and sales reps. When I became Director five years ago, I felt like it was the first day of school in a company where I had been working for 10 years.
How I grew:
My success at First National can be attributed to two things – hard work and open communication about how I wanted to progress in my career. I was very fortunate to have people who believed in me and were willing to teach me. My managers and directors were incredibly supportive and very open to helping me develop at First National. For me, it was important to show initiative that I wanted to cross train. While I was in one role, I was cross training for the next one – learning and mastering the basics, so I could build from that foundation and prove that I was ready to take on the extra responsibility.
The support I received:
My managers have always cared about me as a person, both professionally and personally. They have been invested in me staying with the company and growing at First National. And they continuously appreciated my initiative to want to learn and take on more and more responsibility. Beyond my professional life, I have also had immense and ongoing support in my personal life as well. Since I’ve been at First National, I’ve gotten married and had a baby. My First National family celebrated both of those special milestones with me.
The First National difference:
We are like a family at First National. Some of my best friends are people that I have met here. First National has had a huge influence on my life, both inside and outside of work. It’s a unique culture. We have fun, work hard, enjoy ourselves and everyone genuinely cares for each other and wants to help each other succeed. I know that what we experience here as employees is not the norm at most corporations. In 15 years, I’ve had so many amazing opportunities to grow my career, and I plan to stay at least another 15 if they’ll let me.
My advice and perspective:
Show that you are willing to do anything. For me, no task was too small. Taking initiative to do the things that others don’t want to do or may be unglamorous doesn’t go unnoticed. Putting your hand up and volunteering makes you stand out and puts you top of mind when there are opportunities to advance. If you want the promotion, step up and show that you want it. Take initiative. Ask to be cross-trained. Share your five-year vision for your career.