LEARNING MY ABC'S
Christina House was born and spent her early years in the city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. When she was just a pre-teen, her parents made the difficult decision to move to the U.S. in hopes of creating a better life for her and their family. Christina recalls barely speaking “a lick of English” when moving to Fairfax, Virginia, but the language barrier did not stop her from pursuing her goals.
She became fluent in English, studied at Virginia Tech for her undergraduate and earned her MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona. Christina was convinced her bilingual skills would pave her way back to Asia for a job, but an international currency crisis halted those plans.
Christina instead packed her bags for New York City and stayed with friends until she landed her first job on Wall Street at Bear Stearns. She did subprime securitizations for single-family mortgages before eventually making her way to Freddie Mac Multifamily. Since then, her career here has been anything but ordinary — forging great relationships and seizing many opportunities along the way.
She started as a Senior on the Business Management team, running prescreens and previewing countless Multifamily deals. When the Small Balance Loan (SBL) team was being formed, she was asked to join the operations part of the business to help get it off the ground. During this time, Christina worked her way up to the SBL chief of staff and was eventually tapped to help support the Targeted Affordable Housing (TAH) team. This opened the door to her current role as a production manager for Structured TAH. Her team works on large, highly negotiated transactions that are made up of third-party originated collateral from a variety of sponsors (i.e., community banks, SFIs, and Optigo® lenders).
When Christina isn’t executing affordable housing deals, she spends her time tinkering in her greenhouse, growing sunchokes in her backyard garden, watching her son play baseball or cheering on her daughter’s crew team. Let’s hear more from Christina and her experience at Freddie Mac.
Christina’s greenhouse and her favorite vegetable that she’s currently growing, sunchokes!
Favorite part about working at Freddie Mac?
A: The people — I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. After going through three rotations at Freddie Mac, I can confidently say that my colleagues are so incredibly smart, and they’re not cutthroat — they want you to succeed. To top it all off, there is a unifying feeling in our culture here because we all work so hard to support our mission.
What trait makes a great teammate or ally?
A: Somebody who is willing to listen and have an open mind. People will naturally have different opinions or ideas within a team and that’s okay. What’s essential in that dynamic is not just having a voice, but also being able to receive and consider others.
What is one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
A: Don’t be lazy. Work hard while you’re young so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Do you have any inspirational figures in your life?
A: My parents. They left everything they knew behind to pursue the American Dream and move to a country where they didn’t even speak the language. I admire my parents for having the courage and the optimism to take such a risk. I wouldn’t be who I am without that.
Are there any cultural traditions you practice?
A: My family celebrates Chinese New Year. We gather for dinner on Lunar New Year’s Eve, where we eat tons of food and give each other red envelopes with cash in them.
Advice to others on bringing their “full self” to work?
A: Embrace honesty and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. For so much of my life, I put forth a façade of what I thought would make me come across as successful to others. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better about revealing my authentic self to those around me. So, be honest, be proud and don’t put societal perceptions on yourself.