One of First National’s points of distinction is experience. Many members of our team have been with us 10, 15, 20 and 25 years – and in a few cases since we began operations in 1988. We salute those committed individuals who are celebrating a milestone anniversary by presenting their stories in their own words. Today, we profile Heidi Laverick, Manager, Residential Underwriting.
Take us back to the beginning of your career at First National.
I had worked at HSBC for 27 years, but after a restructuring I decided to move on. First National was growing and looking for a new Team Lead. A broker that I had worked with knew Ana Inacio, and he recommended me for the role. Within a few days, I met with Kathy Lillie, the Director of Underwriting. After speaking with Kathy, I knew First National was the right fit for me. When I received the offer, I accepted enthusiastically.
What was your first year like?
At the beginning, I was really in awe of First National’s culture, team and system. I came from a paper-based banking environment, and Merlin was so efficient. There were opportunities to socialize and meet new people. I especially liked being able to specialize in one area instead of being a generalist. I had a lot of experience with mortgages, so my knowledge was valued. It was a very exciting opportunity to become part of a dynamic and growing company.
What was your “I’m in” moment?
Within the first week, I knew First National was right for me. I was really impressed with the flat organizational structure and how the culture empowered employees to share ideas. I found it really refreshing to work for a company that truly valued my suggestions.
Describe some milestones in your career.
Looking back, I am proud of two significant milestones. First, the contributions I have made to my team. I have loved watching team members grow their careers. Some employees started as Funders and are now Underwriters. I take great pride in knowing that I’ve helped them learn, develop and gain confidence to further their careers. Second, the trusted relationships I have built during the past decade. Brokers call to pick my brain and get my perspective on structuring a deal. Management respects my inputs on policy amendments or process changes. It takes time and commitment to build a reputation and be known as a reliable, trusted and credible resource for people.
What stamp have you put on the business?
With my diverse background, I have become a go-to person, whether it’s educating brokers about policies, restructuring a deal or assisting with a presentation. I am committed to the continued success of First National and I am always available to assist my Underwriting and Sales colleagues in any way they may need my support.
What are you most proud of in your career?
My staff and I share the same can-do attitude. I am extremely proud of the team, peers and managers I work with – how supportive they are and what we’ve achieved together. We work hard. We put in extra time when required. We adapt to changes when they come. Everyone’s voice is heard. In such an open environment, you can share ideas, speak your mind and provide input and perspectives.
Any favourite memories?
I have a lot of fond memories from the past 10 years and I have developed so many close relationships. You can clearly tell I have been in the industry for a long time because I have developed my own terminology. Someone on my team compiled a list of Heidi-isms with all of my sayings. When she told me about it, we had a good laugh. I didn’t realize I had my own language!
What advice would you share with people growing their careers at First National?
Be courageous. Ask questions. Think outside of the box. Push yourself. Trust your gut. Believe in yourself. My 10 years here went so fast. But it is still exciting and dynamic. Every day is different. I feel like we are continuously evolving as a team and as a company, experiencing all of the peaks, valleys, highs, lows and changes that come with that.