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Communication is key according to Mortgage Capital Trading CSO

2020 HW Vanguard Leslie Winick discusses lessons learned over the past year

As Chief Strategy Officer at Mortgage Capital Trading, Leslie Winick has harnessed her industry experience to help lead new technology innovations and industry-leading support that allowed MCT to continue to meet client needs despite the volatility of the past year.

“Preparedness [over the past 18 months] was less about specific moments and experiences and more the aggregate of 30-years of lessons-learned: recognizing cyclicality and being comfortable with large swings and associated risks, remaining flexible and open to change, constantly communicating,” said Winick. “Were it not for the foundation we created 5-7 years ago, things could have looked different from the positive outcomes we’re seeing today.”

Last year, Winick was recognized as a HW Vanguard award winner for her strong leadership which has fueled the success of nearly 300 mortgage lenders. The HW Vanguards recognize C-level industry professionals like Winick who are leading the way in new developments within the housing industry.

We reached out to Winick to hear about how her career experience prepared her for the current housing market and how MCT is working to grow a new generation of industry leaders.

HousingWire: As you think about your career, what moments and experiences really prepared you for this current market?

Leslie Winick: Successfully navigating the past 18 months has required skills/techniques honed throughout my career. However, preparedness was less about specific moments and experiences and more the aggregate of 30-years of lessons-learned: recognizing cyclicality and being comfortable with large swings and associated risks, remaining flexible and open to change, constantly communicating – especially listening, demonstrating compassionate leadership, pursuing innovative ways to solve challenges, aligning around clients’ needs and consistently seeing the world through their eyes. What’s unique about this current market is the impact of digitization. MCT was able to transition to WFH quickly and help our clients react to/capitalize on market technicals because of our technology platform.  Were it not for the foundation we created 5-7 years ago, things could have looked different from the positive outcomes we’re seeing today.

HW: What are some of the unique challenges of leading a company right now?

LW: Many of the opportunities we’re focusing on are around human capital. We’re constantly discussing and rolling out new ways to keep our distributed teams engaged, motivated, and aligned around the company’s mission and values.  While we’re busily preparing to segue back to office life in the fall, we know WFH hasn’t been easy – each person’s situation is unique. Does a team member have kids or roommates? Is their internet connectivity stable? Are they on point to take care of an older person in their life? Are they struggling with work/life balance? How have the issues of racial and social equality affected them? Understanding the lessons during WFH are informing our soon-to-be-implemented hybrid office model. We’re focused on the “why” of coming together – ensuring it’s for collaboration, learning, team building, and client focus. 

Another opportunity area is education and communication – with our clients and team members. We’ve always prioritized information sharing and feedback loops, but over the past 18 months, MCT has put even greater emphasis on constant, open, and actionable communication.

HW: Growing new leaders is critical to any business. What is your company doing to develop the next generation of leaders?

LW: We couldn’t agree more. Human capital is what drives MCT, and we are constantly implementing ways to continue to develop our talent.  Some examples include expert, third party training (e.g., from the MBA or NAMMBA), launching an internal mentoring program, and we’re currently testing out a development planning platform that ties into our company-wide balanced scorecard.  We’re also very keen to create new paths for career development within MCT. Over the past two years, our Business Intelligence, Client Success Group, Investor Services, MSR, and Sales Operations teams have provided wonderful opportunities to cultivate new skills and capabilities, as well as deliver value to clients and MCT. Our goal is to hire for competence and potential, reward excellence and teamwork, and celebrate innovation and success.

Nominations for the 2021 Vanguards close Friday, July 23rd. Click here to nominate someone today!

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