Earlier this month, the Spruce team attended the NEXT Mortgage Conference in Dallas, TX. NEXT is the women’s mortgage technology summit. Twice a year, dozens of C-suite and senior mortgage executives take the stage at NEXT to share how they handle the industry's most pressing issues—from compliance and audits to marketing and production.
For Spruce, a conference centered around women leaders in the industry is especially fitting. Our Real Estate Operations, Design, and Product teams are all headed by women—who are leading the charge to rethink title insurance and make mortgage transactions more delightful for everyone involved.
Spruce Kickoff Cocktail Party
This was our first year attending, and Lisa Robertson, our EVP of Real Estate Operations and her team were thrilled to sponsor the kickoff cocktail party 🥂. The event Co-Founders Molly Dowdy and Jeri Yoshida did an impressive job elevating what can be a stuffy conference experience to a truly enjoyable evening. The setup included “anti-booth” meeting lounges and high top tables, making the event feel much more like a happy hour than a traditional networking event.
The atmosphere made for an inspiring kickoff experience–facilitating and sparking conversations with women leaders across the mortgage industry spectrum.
Faith Schwartz, acting President of Form Free and Owner, Housing Finance System Strategies, LLC.
Opening Day Insights
Faith Schwartz kicked things off with her opening talk “Winning in a Transitional Market.” Faith is an industry powerhouse on all things fintech and finance-related, and she shared her secrets for growing production and leading successful companies in times of compressed margins and market contraction.
The event was chock full of insightful panels and discussion, but two stood out to us in particular:
Left to Right: Dani Hernandez, Riffat Lakhani, and Suha Zehl
Niches to Riches: Growing Production through Specialized Marketing
- Dani Hernandez, Director of Operations at NewCastle Home Loans
- Riffat Lakhani, VP of Marketing at Guidance Residential
- Suha Zehl, CIO & EVP of Technology at Guidance Residential
In this session, panelists discussed the elements of successfully marketing your niche–from products to customer interaction. The market ebbs and flows, but lenders who specialize have a greater chance at sustaining their prospects, leads, and customer bases. Developing a specialty can establish your lending institution as experts and create an emotional bond with customers—ultimately leading to not only a stickier customer, but also a strong referral source.
Left to Right: Loretta Ibanez, Sherry Graziano, Megan Darnell
Innovation and Disruption: Incubating and Accelerating Fintech Talent
- Megan Darnell, Program Manager of Fountain City Fintech at nbkc bank
- Sherry Graziano, SVP, Mortgage Transformation Officer at SunTrust
- Loretta Ibañez, Mortgage Innovation Senior Director at Freddie Mac
- Sarah Wheeler, Managing Editor, Content Solutions at HousingWire
Freddie Mac and other industry leaders discussed reimagining the financial technology space. Panelists shared stories of incubating and accelerating radical change and discussed the emerging technologies within their respective organizations.
The entire conference was engaging, immersive, and thought provoking. Our team looks forward to attending and participating in 2020!