Kristina Morrison: Why mentors matter: finding one as you grow and being one to others

First National Financial LP Mar 26, 2024   mins

Kristina Morrison shares why things really came together for her when she was in underwriting and why she’s most proud of her team.

Take us back to the beginning of your career at First National.

KM: I started in 2004. I was studying for my real estate license, and someone mentioned First National to me. I ended up meeting with Marion Klien, who was the Director at the time, and I left with a job. The industry and the job felt more aligned with who I was than real estate. During a two-year span, I had roles in funding, broker pay, fulfillment and underwriting. In 2006/7, I moved into sales. I’ve been in sales ever since and became Director in 2019. 

What was your first year like?

KM: It was inspiring. A lot of people started at the same time because the company was growing rapidly in BC. There was a lot of opportunity if you were willing to work hard. It was an energized environment of learning and growth. 

What was your “I’m in” moment?

KM: I have always felt that my thoughts and opinions were heard and valued. That’s what’s kept me going. I felt like I was part of something bigger. 

Describe some milestones in your career.

KM: Things really came together for me when I was in underwriting. I got into the guts and mechanics of deals. When I went to sales, I was well rounded from having the experience of doing every job. I knew how First National worked front to back. It was empowering to be a woman in my 20’s showing up as a subject matter expert and breaking through perceptions.  

What stamp have you put on the business?

KM: Brokers always say to me, “when we think of First National, we think of you.” I’ve been an example of First National’s values to brokers in how I show up, my expertise and what I contribute to relationships. 

What are you most proud of in your career?

KM: My team. I run the sales team in BC and I love how we work together. Our team is all about sharing ideas, supporting each other and collaborating. We’ve come together to put on training webinars for brokers, create training documentation and develop presentations, so brokers have the best resources possible. 

Any favourite memories?

KM: I have always loved getting together with colleagues from across the country at our sales conferences. As an Account Manager, I always found the conferences especially motivating. In my current role, I also value these times and the sharing of best practices. 

Which one of First National’s values resonates with you most and why?

KM: We earn trust. I am a trusted source of information for brokers. They know if I promise an answer, I’ll get the answer. Trust is the foundation of our broker relationships. They have to feel 100% confident entrusting their clients to us and that we have their best interests at heart. 

As a woman, what’s it like to work at First National and what inspires you?

KM: Many people talk about the challenges for women in our industry. I have never felt that at First National. I have always felt like any and every opportunity is possible. There have been many strong female mentors and colleagues that have helped guide my success within the company. For example, Jenna Dreyer and I started at the same time and have supported each other’s careers over the years. Scott McKenzie has also been an incredibly supportive person who exemplifies the culture of First National. It’s very inspiring to continue grow with so many amazing people within the company. 

From your experience, how does the First National culture value diversity and elevate the voices and perspectives of all team members?

KM: Ideas are ideas. Everyone is heard, regardless of the position you hold. Everyone’s contributions are valued. 

What advice would you share with people growing their careers at First National?

KM: Be open to learning from everybody because you never know where you’re going to want to grow your career. Take all opportunities that come your way. Ask questions. Find a mentor. Make your career aspirations known. Take the initiative to learn. Help outside of your job. Look for opportunities to immerse yourself into where you want to go, not just where you are. Be active on your team and embrace being a real team player. 

Any final thoughts?

KM: I still have at least 20 more years. There is more to be done, and I’m looking forward to whatever is next. This industry is forever changing. I’m excited to continually adapt to those changes and keep growing. 

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