Women are powerful agents of change, and though diversity and gender equality have made progress, women continue to be vastly under-represented in decision-making in business, and the mortgage industry. That’s why it’s important that Nationwide Mortgage Bankers has committed to placing even more women in leadership roles. For the month of March, we interviewed five female leaders at NMB in order to dive into their journey and honor our women in leadership.
We continue our women in leadership celebration with Sharon LaFaurie, SHRM-CP our Human Resources SVP from Melville, NY.
Who are your role models or people who have influenced you most throughout your life or career?
I have been influenced throughout my life and career by many people; some of whom are close to me, some famous, some unknowns, some from our history, some from the present day, and even some in politics with ideologies that I don’t necessarily agree with. For pure fortitude and moral character, I admire my husband. He has had the greatest influence on my advanced education and my professional growth, and the utmost influence on my faith. I have also been influenced by my mother for her kindness, and friendliness with everyone she meets, she’s so polite and a true Lady. Filled with shyness and quietness most of my young adulthood, and praised for my ability to listen, ironically, I am drawn to those with the ability to captivate their audiences through speech. Women like Kellyanne Conway for poise and control in speech when pressed with tough subjects, or Suze Orman for her ability to breakdown seemingly complicated financial subjects and get an entire audience to understand; Maya Angelou who expressed emotions about her own experiences so vividly and colorfully that you felt her pain and suffering. The list is indeed long with too many to list, and my influencers continue here at NMB as well.
When you aren’t working, what would your friends/family find you doing?
I love learning new things all the time or enjoying different experiences, so I let my mood dictate what I do in my spare time. It could be trying out a new recipe, reading a novel, watching a movie, enjoying a good workout, or binge-watching a show on Netflix on cold days.
Which NMB core value connects with you the most and why?
I connect with two of NMB’s core values the most. PEOPLE matter and CULTURE matters. Our culture is collaborative, positive, and team-oriented, which attracts the best and brightest in the industry to join us in building a better tomorrow. The employees at NMB are the core of the organization and their experiences within the company drive the quality of output. Positive employee experiences where they feel like they have a voice, and a purpose creates happy employees; this, in turn, drives employee performance because employees feel that their contribution positively adds to the success of the company. Positive cultures keep employees motivated and make them stay with their present company, hence why I have been here for four years now! I believe that NMB goes above and beyond to recognize employees’ contributions daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly; employees are “seen” and celebrated!
What is something that not many people know about you, something that can’t be found in your bio online, something that people can’t google about you?
On my first trip to CA, I became convinced I wanted to study viticulture and I became fascinated with the idea of winemaking. For a moment, I wanted to either become a winemaker or a sommelier. I even had a grand idea of owning my own boutique wine shop so that I can have tastings and food pairings. In the end, I chose instead to drink it. 🙂
What do you find most fulfilling about your work? How long have you been in the mortgage industry?
I enjoy interacting with employees the most. I particularly enjoy the employee relations portions of HR. Pre-pandemic, employees would come into my office, and they would discuss their current experiences with me. Often, I was able to help them through conflicts they were encountering or help them solve other issues they faced.
How and why did you decide to get into this industry?
I have been with the mortgage industry for over 7 years. Prior to the mortgage industry, I spent 20 years in textiles. I decided I wanted to try something different and thought my accounting and finance background would help me acclimate to mortgages easier than any other industry.
What are some key factors that have played a role in your development through your company, your career, and your industry?
My approach to continuous education in human resources helps to increase my knowledge base. I believe in staying on top of the latest approaches and improvements in human capital.
What sets NMB apart from other lenders?
NMB really believes in keeping a unified culture by hiring good people that share our core beliefs. Anyone that does not fit the collaborative nature and team-oriented approach of working together for the same common goals does not belong here. We like having the small company family feel even at the size that we are at. I could have chosen many different paths career-wise, but I truly enjoy working with people. I like people and I like helping people. I enjoy watching people grow and evolve in their careers and being a conduit to their advancements brings me satisfaction.