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HW Women of Influence share their secrets to success

The HousingWire award spotlight series highlights the individuals who have been previously recognized by the HW Editors’ Choice Awards. Nominations for HousingWire’s Women of Influence award are open now through Friday, May 19, 2023.  Click here to nominate a female leader in the industry — a client, colleague, boss or friend — it can even be you!


Real estate and mortgage have been traditionally male-dominated industries. But in the last few years, women in housing have taken the lead. These female leaders are making outstanding contributions to both their businesses and to the industry at-large. Their energy, ideas, achievements, as well as commitment to excellence and progress, give us a look at the future of the industry.

That’s what the Women of Influence award is all about. Each year, HousingWire honors the women in housing who are moving markets forward each and every day.

We asked a few Women of Influence to tell us their secret to success and here’s what they shared:

“Be real, be authentic and always assume you can do it! Mary O’Donnell, CEO and president of Westcor Land Title Insurance Company

“Don’t let fear keep you from taking risks. Risk can be scary but it helps you grow. When I started in the mortgage space I don’t think I could have even imagined founding/owning my own business and look at me now, a founder of a mortgage brokerage.” — Valerie Sheeley, co-founder and chief operating officer, Aslan Home Lending

“Listen, learn, and apply. I’ve had invaluable mentors give me advice throughout my career to help me get better and to reach my goals. I always take the feedback to heart. I make sure to take the time to reflect so I can be the best version of myself.” — AJ Barkley, head of neighborhood and community lending at Bank of America

“The secret to my success has always been execution.  I am ultra responsive, available , provide solutions and get the task or job done with a sense of urgency.  Even as an SVP of sales at UWM, I am one of the most responsive and available leaders.  No matter who asks for help or a favor, I do it immediately and make them feel as if they are just as important as our CEO. — Kristina Bennett, senior vice president of UWM Sales, United Wholesale Mortgage

Nominations for the 2023 Women of Influence award open now through Friday, May 19th. Don’t miss the chance to recognize a female leader from your organization!

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