Underwriting Director for Target Affordable Loans for Freddie Mac
We have to be gracious to ourselves. We all want to do everything well. But when you try to do that you end up doing nothing well.— April Moreland
How do you describe yourself?
A: It’s so hard to describe yourself so I asked some of my team members how they’d describe me. They said I’m assertive, a go-getter, action-oriented, passionate and that I don’t have a poker face. I agree with all of that.
What is your business role?
A: I’m an Underwriting Director for Targeted Affordable Loans at Freddie Mac. My main responsibilities are reviewing and approving loans. I have nine direct reports.
On any given day I may be helping underwriters with difficult credit questions and solving problems for internal and external clients or training them on our credit box.
How did you get started in the Multifamily Industry?
A: My true start in this industry was when I was in undergrad getting my degree in finance. I was working as a property manager to help pay for my classes and books. I then started my own company. I got a real estate license and real estate broker license and was buying, fixing up and managing properties at 21 years old. Being out there on my own, I realized how much I didn’t know so I decided to finish school and then go to graduate school. I wanted all the knowledge I could get. I liked the business from the beginning but realized I didn’t want to be in it at the tenant level.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
A: I’d say obtaining both my undergraduate and graduate degrees is my biggest accomplishment. It took 10 years but I did it. And statistically I’m an anomaly for that. My mom had a sixth-grade education and my father only graduated from high school. In my family, only my sister and I have finished college, and we both have advanced degrees.
Have you experienced any challenges as a woman in the industry?
A: I’ve noticed that sometimes women in this industry are overlooked, talked over, or ignored so that may play into why I’m a little more assertive.
Sometimes I don’t even think people notice they’re doing it or it’s subconscious. One great example was when two guys came to ask me to explain something to them. They asked me for my thoughts but every time I answered they’d end up talking over me. It will keep happening unless we women speak up.
What's the best part of your job?
A: The people. I don’t think I could come here every day if I didn’t love the people I work with. We went from six on this team, when I started, to having 30 people now and I love them all. I don’t know if it’s the Freddie Mac culture or what, but we seem to hire great people.
Did you have any role models who influenced or inspired you?
A: My mother was really hard on us but she taught me that I always have to be responsible for myself. I have a husband and son to think about but in the back of my mind I know that I also have to take care of myself. And when you can take care of yourself people want to take care of you.
My other role model has been Edward Green; he’s my immediate manager. He’s pushed me to be the best version of myself. He’s a person who is great at identifying your weaknesses and your strengths. He’s helped me to focus on my strengths instead of trying to turn my weaknesses into strengths. Everyone can bring something to the table and we should focus on that instead of trying to bring everyone to the same level.
How do you in turn help other women who are coming up behind you to succeed?
A: I try to be involved but not just with women. I like to push people to be the best they can be. I had a direct report who knew the answers but would shrink away. I think giving people the confidence to put their voice out there is crucial. I don’t like seeing people shrink away, especially when I know they know the answer. So I push them to speak up. And I do probably push the women a little harder in that aspect.
Any last thoughts?
A: I think we have to be gracious to ourselves. We all want to do everything well. But when you try to do that you end up doing nothing well. I know we, especially as moms, have so much guilt. But I can’t be a supermom, super career woman, daughter, wife, auntie etcetera all at the same time. We should be more forgiving to ourselves.
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