A GUIDING HAND
Rachel Speight grew up in the small town of Penacook, New Hampshire until the age of 15, when her family moved to Virginia Beach — a place she truly considers home and where she currently lives, raising a family of her own. She has three children, two daughters and a son, and two beloved doodle dogs. Outside of work, Rachel and her family often spend time in the Outer Banks, North Carolina where they have a beach house. They enjoy hiking, camping and traveling together.
Rachel graduated from James Madison University with a degree in English and knew she wanted a career centered on writing and editing. This led to her first job at the Mortgage Asset Research Institute (now owned by LexisNexis®) where she was a copywriter supporting the company’s database for reporting mortgage fraud. Rachel worked at the company from 2006-2010, during the beginning of the subprime mortgage and financial crisis. This yielded a unique experience and deepened her interest in the mortgage industry.
In 2010, Rachel began work at Freddie Mac, where she utilized her writing and editing skills to update and refine the Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide (Guide). She worked in the Single-Family Division for 10 years before moving to Multifamily in 2020. Her deep knowledge and familiarity with both the Single-Family and Multifamily Guides allow her to add value through implementing updates that are customer focused.
Rachel has been with Freddie Mac for 13 years and worked with many people across the business. Below she shares what makes working at Freddie Mac so special and why she continues to work here for so much of her career.
Rachel and her family at a wedding in New Hampshire.
How do you promote diversity and inclusion on your team or in your life? What is the value of it?
A: I promote diversity and inclusion on my team by asking for everyone’s thoughts and opinions on matters, and then integrating each perspective into the final solution. My team supports various projects to enhance processes and customer experience related to the Guide. Before starting a project, I survey the team on what they’re interested in and foster open conversation for input. This helps utilize each team member’s unique skillsets and allocate tasks based on what each individual finds important, which tends to produce higher quality results.
What do you like most about working at Freddie Mac?
A: There are several things I love about working at Freddie Mac. I’ve been with the company for 13 years and a lot of why I’ve stayed is because of my colleagues. From working in both the Single-Family and Multifamily Divisions, I’ve met people from across the business and have always had great working relationships. Freddie Mac also makes strong efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), which leads to great people. Another very important contributor to my enjoyment working here is the mission. My work wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding if we weren’t making such an impact to make home possible and affordable for homeowners and tenants across the nation.
Advice to others on bringing your “full self” to work?
A: My advice would be: Don’t be afraid to be yourself and bring your thoughts and ideas to the office. We have a strong DEI culture and everyone at Freddie Mac is very embracing, even at the most senior levels. I’m confident that I can speak up and take initiative in my work. There will always be people to support you, so don’t hold back.
Looking back, what's one piece of advice you'd give your younger self?
A: Don’t be afraid to ask questions because there are no bad questions! Thinking back to when I first started at Freddie Mac and as I’ve trained newer employees, I’ve learned that no one will come here with all the answers. Even if you’re talking to an expert, not all perspectives may have been considered so asking your question will enrich everyone’s knowledge. Tied to this is my advice to strive for continuous learning and to take initiative. I’ve kept working on the Guide because there are always exciting changes and opportunities to learn something new. Take those opportunities to work hard and think strategically. Be mindful of how your work impacts others and how you could help improve things for your colleagues and the business.
July is French-American Heritage month. Anything to share on your French-American background?
A: Both of my great-grandparents on my dad’s side were French-Canadian and migrated to Haverhill, Massachusetts where they started a family farm. Much of my family still resides in Massachusetts or New Hampshire today.
I recently visited Yorktown, Virginia, where the last battle of the American Revolution was fought. While there, I got a greater sense of how critical the French were in helping to win the American Revolution. This was especially interesting given my French-American heritage, and something I reflected on with pride while watching the fireworks during the recent Independence Day holiday.