Exclusive Feature

Finance of America Companies’ Culture of Opportunity

With a commitment to helping employees advance their careers and achieve their goals, Finance of America has created an environment where women can thrive, and the business can flourish.

At Finance of America Companies, we celebrate women at all stages of their careers across the mortgage industry. The accomplishments of the women featured in this issue cannot be overstated. These trailblazers have set an unmatched standard for excellence. They’ve endured, overcome, and improved our industry at every turn.

We also want to celebrate the company cultures that have empowered these women to pursue their career ambitions and make their mark in this industry. At Finance of America Companies, we believe that effective leaders and voices of influence can only emerge from a supportive environment that allows the brightest minds to shine, regardless of gender. That’s why we strive every day to offer women from across our family of companies the opportunity to learn new skills, grow their careers, take on new challenges, and influence the influencers. We’re not just celebrating women of influence today—we do it every day through our culture of opportunity.

To help women advance their careers, we provide mentorship, leadership training, skills-building opportunities, and formal and informal educational programs. We also supply what can sometimes feel like a rare commodity—encouragement. Our goal is to help all of our team members develop the careers of their dreams. For some, that may include leadership roles with an end goal of a C-suite position. Others may choose to master specific talents that are enriching to them and vital to our business’s success. Regardless, women can and do have tremendous influence at all levels of our enterprise.

“I want to provide women with the choice and opportunity to pursue the life they want to live, personally and professionally,” says Finance of America Companies’ Former CEO Patricia L. Cook. “I’m very proud of the career I’ve built, and I want to ensure that other women have the same opportunity to see how far they can go. I want that to exist not just for today but for generations to come at Finance of America. We are all women of influence here, and we’re committed to investing in women—and all our employees—so they can enjoy long, fulfilling careers with us.”

“I’m very proud of the career I’ve built, and I want to ensure that other women have the same opportunity to see how far they can go. I want that to exist not just for today but for generations to come at Finance of America.

Patricia L. Cook
Former CEO, Finance of America Companies
Illustration: © 2022 Finance of America c/o theispot

Inspiring Women at Finance of America Companies

To get perspectives from across Finance of America Companies, we spoke with women working at Finance of America Mortgage, Finance of America Reverse, Finance of America Commercial, Finance of America Home Improvement, and Incenter about how the enterprise is helping them build their careers, talents, skillsets, and leadership abilities.

Danielle Kesler Headshot

Years with the Company: 10

Quick Take: “It is such a great feeling seeing so many women in leadership [at Finance of America Companies] but also furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion within these roles. That is so important to me. I don’t necessarily feel like there are any glass ceilings or any walls.”

Career Goal: “My eye has always been on the consumer, so it is important to me to bring the customer experience to the forefront. I want to make certain that someone in the room is always speaking up for the customer.”

Business Role Model: “I am inspired by entrepreneurs, the people who have creativity and ingenuity and just go out and make it happen.”

Danielle Kesler
Client Success Manager, Boston National Title Agency
Meghan Sander Headshot

Years with the Company: 5

Quick Take: “I have been supported knowing that what I say has value, and if I have an opinion or concern, I know someone will listen to what I say about it. Being in a comfortable work environment has helped me figure out what I want my career to be.”

Career Goal: “I would love to have a role in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) space.”

Business Role Model: “My manager, Judy Anderson. She has been my manager for the last three out of my five years. She has given me the space to grow into the human being I want to be, supported and guided me, and given me a safe space to fail.”

Senior Business Analyst, Finance of America Companies
Misty Hauglund Headshot

Years with the Company: 10

Quick Take: “When I think of Finance of America, I think of a company that has done a lot of things in a relatively short amount of time. I have seen tons of growth occur within the organization, people moving into different roles and moving up.”

Career Goal: “To get more engaged in the operational parts of the business beyond accounting.”

Business Role Model: “We are so fortunate at Finance of America that we have some really sharp minds in our leadership group.”

Misty Hauglund
Vice President Divisional Financial Officer, Finance of America Companies
Stephanie Dupuis Headshot

Years with the Company: 3

Quick Take: “The unit that we have is amazing. Everybody is here to help anybody out. Everybody treats everybody as if we’re family.”

Career Goal: “Eventually, I’d like to be more in production and helping out with streamlining processes because I’m very good with details.”

Business Role Model: “Walt Disney. Talk about someone who really used his imagination and made the small world a big world that everyone can enjoy.”

Stephanie Dupuis
Channel Account Manager, Finance of America Home Improvement
Nyisha Taylor Headshot

Years with the Company: 10

Quick Take: “We have so many women in leadership, and it makes me think that, yes, I have a chance to lead, too.”

Career Goal: “I’ve always thought about underwriting. It is an important job, and in my current role, I appreciate the multi-faceted nature of the underwriting department.”

Business Role Model: “[FAR VP of Operations] April Steele is my business role model. She’s a go-getter and is always willing to do anything and everything she can to help in a situation. She’s a great person to go look up to inside and outside of work. She’s friendly, funny, and gets along with everyone.”

Nyisha Taylor
Post Closing Secondary Delivery Coordinator Lead, Finance of America Reverse
Ashley Silzer Headshot

Years with the Company: 2

Quick Take: “The company is very supportive of anything I am passionate about. Working with women in leadership makes me feel empowered and successful.”

Career Goal: “I strive to successfully guide our clients through every aspect of the appraisal process while continuing to manage our growing team of appraisal coordinators by mentoring and empowering them to achieve high standards.”

Business Role Model: “Michelle Obama is very inspiring to me. She managed to overcome many obstacles and challenges due to her race and gender and is a role model to millions of women around the world.”

Ashley Silzer
Vice President of Client Relations, Incenter Appraisal Management
Amy Ford Headshot

Years with the Company: 2

Quick Take: “I’m currently participating as a mentor in the FAR mentor program. I’ve already learned a lot as a mentor from my mentee. And it’s given me the opportunity to learn more about what happens across the family of companies.”

Career Goal: “My long-term career goals are focused on the growth of the homesharing movement, and inspiring people and organizations to think more creatively about our options for how we live as we age.”

Business Role Model: “I greatly admire [FAR president] Kristen Sieffert. She’s authentic and is very inspiring. She leads with compassion and treats people as individuals.”

Amy Ford
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development, Silvernest
Kelsey Birdseye Headshot

Years with the Company: 10

Quick Take: “I’ve had amazing opportunities at Finance of America. I started as a designer and have been able to grow into the creative I am today because of the responsibilities I’ve been given. When you are seen for your potential, the possibilities are endless.”

Career Goal: “Being a great creative means always looking for new ways to be inspired. I want to continue growing and learning in the creative space.”

Business Role Model: “Paula Scher is a creative director who does amazing strategic brand work. The way she thinks about branding, design systems, and the strategy behind them, I find powerful and inspiring.”

Kelsey Birdseye
Creative Director, Finance of America Mortgage
Deborah R. States Headshot

Years with the Company: 1

Quick Take: “I’ve always felt that I immediately had a voice even though I am a new employee. I am so grateful that I’ve been welcomed and for the team’s willingness to embrace my ideas.”

Career Goal: “I have always worked toward gaining as much knowledge about my industry to effectively make a difference in many areas such as operational growth and developing future leaders.”

Business Role Model: “Katherine Gardner [from ARC Home Loans] is impressive in the way she has built her sales team. It takes a charismatic personality to be a sales leader and have an operational mind.”

Deborah R. States
Vice President of Operations, Finance of America Commercial
Kelli Teeter Headshot

Years with the Company: 12

Quick Take: “I worked part-time for many years and raised two 20-something daughters. Now I am in a leadership position. Finance of America keeps the door wide open for lots of opportunities should you want to be promoted.”

Career Goal: “To empower the retail branches to make quicker decisions and to improve the borrower experience.”

Business Role Model: “[Finance of America Mortgage Brand Manager] Denise Montgomery is one of my business role models. She’s one of the top producing branch managers, and she is a bold decision-maker and champion for borrowers.”

Kelli Teeter
Director of Retail Channel Administration and Finance, Finance of America Companies
Nadine Conklin Headshot

Years with the Company: 10

Quick Take: “Where I was [before], the mentality was you were lucky to have a job. Here, you’re made to feel like FAR is lucky to have you. I love it here so much that I have recruited my sister, and I recruited my daughter.”

Career Goal: “My eye has always been on the consumer, so it is important to me to bring the customer experience to the forefront. I want to make certain that someone in the room is always speaking up for the customer.”

Business Role Model: “My mother because she’s the greatest woman in the world.”

Nadine Conklin
Assistant Vice President of Wholesale Sales Support, Finance of America Reverse
Denise Cuddeback Montgomery Headshot

Years with the Company: 14

Quick Take: “I believe that we design the worlds that we want. I’ve had offers to move up the ladder, but I like exactly where I am because I get to help my own employees with what they want to achieve, and I get to help my customers.”

Career Goal: “To be exactly where I am.”

Business Role Model: “My grandfather.”

Denise Cuddeback Montgomery
Producing Branch Manager, Finance of America Mortgage, NMLS #57734

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