PRIMED FOR THE PITCH
Christopher Williams was born in Tampa, Florida in 1994, where he spent a large part of his early life. Baseball has always been ingrained in his family, but it was his grandfather who significantly influenced Christopher’s love for the game. Ever since he was a kid, he dreamed of one day making it to the big leagues to compete with the likes of Nolan Ryan and Derek Jeter. Becoming a starting pitcher is widely regarded as one of the most difficult feats in the sports industry, because it’s the pitcher's job to perform under pressure, adapt when necessary and continuously execute with pinpoint precision. This was a challenge he was more than willing to undertake, and skills he would later utilize in his career at Freddie Mac.
Christopher’s talent became so apparent that in 2014 he was recruited to be the starting pitcher for the number one team in the country: the University of Tampa. He deeply valued his time playing in the NCAA and largely credits the sport to shaping who he is today. With careful consideration, he made the difficult decision to finish college and get his degree instead of pursuing a career as a professional athlete. Aside from baseball, Christopher has always had an interest in finance, especially in the stock market. Through strategic problem-solving of complex problems, he saw value in areas that others often overlooked. He graduated with a degree in finance, fully expecting to become an equities analyst for a large firm.
However, destiny had other plans for Christopher, as one of his former professors at the University of Tampa had taken him under his wing, leading him toward an opportunity to work for Freddie Mac. In 2018, Christopher participated in Freddie Day, a program that brings college students and recent graduates to Freddie Mac's headquarters for a tour of the campus and in-person interviews. Having rarely traveled outside the Sunshine State, Christopher was excited to see snow for the first time in his life, which also resulted in the event being cancelled. Thankfully, he was still able to complete the interview process and was offered the position as a real estate analyst.
Starting in the Multifamily Asset Management group, he quickly learned the ropes of the industry, and credits the leadership here at Freddie Mac for providing opportunities that allowed him to grow at an accelerated pace. He moved to the production team after 18 months and is currently a senior associate on the Targeted Affordable Housing (TAH) Production & Sales team. In his current role, his main priorities are to facilitate and manage our account pipelines, while co-leading the structure of credit and pricing for our quotes. Now approaching five years at Freddie Mac, he could not be happier with his decision to trust his instinct and make that initial jump.
Let’s hear from Christopher about how Freddie Mac has supported his career, and what he does to prioritize mental health in the workplace.
What do you like about working at Freddie Mac?
A: That’s easy, I love the people. Coming into the office and working with my team is really what I look forward to. I have the best mentors who are people I look up to, not just in my professional life, but also in my personal life. Having great bosses and leaders is its own form of currency. I cannot express how valuable it is to have people who will consistently go to bat for you every day. I know it sounds cliché, but at Freddie Mac, you get to work with so many amazing people who genuinely care about your growth and development, which is a rare thing to find.
April is National Stress Awareness month. Do you have any mental health tips you can share?
A: Don't take work home with you all the time. I know it can be easier said than done, and the lines often get blurred, but it's important to take time to enjoy everything life has to offer. Go on a walk, hang out with friends, get dinner with family. It's incredibly meaningful to have people in your life who you can trust and rely on. Aside from that, having a consistent routine has helped me manage my stress. I try and go to the gym every morning if I can. Exercising allows me to prepare for the day and sets the tone for success.
Christopher with friends from his baseball career on an annual trip in 2022.
Championship game is tomorrow. How are you securing the win?
A: For starters, you have to know what you're up against. I think preparation is the most important factor, not just in a championship game situation, but in your day-to-day life. Figure out what you're up against and attack it with full effort. No holding back and no stopping until the job is done. That's what I do with every single deal. I find the problems, gather the information and make sure to execute. With my team, we’re all on the same page. It doesn't matter if it's underwriting, capital markets, legal — we're all prepared and making sure the job gets done.
Action shot of Christopher pitching for the University of Tampa Spartans in 2016.
Advice for someone who just joined Freddie Mac?
A: Be a sponge, absorb as much information as you can. Make sure to understand the foundation of the business. Know your role, know your team, and be willing to take on more responsibility and opportunities. Just because you start somewhere doesn't mean there isn’t another position that's a better fit for you. If you're resilient, you'll find your way. Everyone makes mistakes now and again, so be honest with yourself, learn from them, pick yourself up and move on to the next challenge. Resilience is a valuable skill to have, not just in work, but in life.