Senior Director, Structured Underwriting for Freddie Mac
Being able to contribute to creating housing for women, minorities and disabled is a good reminder of the incredible value and opportunity Freddie Mac brings to the housing market.— Charlotte Lindell
How do you describe yourself?
A: I’ve been with Freddie Mac since 2002, celebrating my 17th year in April. Before that I was a real estate finance attorney in Washington and San Francisco. I live in the McLean/Vienna area with my family and we are active in the community; when I'm not at the office, I'm often on the sidelines of my kids’ sporting events.
What is your business role?
A: I head up the Structured Underwriting team, consisting of 14 amazing people. We get the opportunity every day to work on the largest variety of loan products offered by Multifamily. We not only work on conventional but also affordable loan products.
How did you get started in the Multifamily Industry?
A: I’m a lawyer by trade. I was working as a real estate finance attorney at a firm that represented Fannie Mae, among others. I liked working in lending. At some point we decided to move back to the D.C. area to be near family and that’s when I started looking at Freddie. Later, after a number of years at Freddie, I decided I wanted to do something different. I had spent years working with my current boss, Mike Patterson, as well as Debby Jenkins, and that helped when I wanted to change my role.
What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
A: I’m proud of my families – the one I have at home and my Freddie Mac family too. This company continues to contribute to the betterment of our society and economy.
One of my biggest accomplishments was helping to launch and build out our Single Family Rental platform. Every property inspection we conducted enabled us to better understand how we were directly contributing to helping to provide housing to working families, especially single parent households. So many of these tenants really loved renting a home rather than an apartment unit and they would tell us their stories. They enjoyed the extra space for their kids and pets, the yard, the driveway or garage—tenants can’t really get these benefits with an apartment building.
We also helped further our Single Family Rental Special Needs (or Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)) housing. It’s personally meaningful to me as my daughter was disabled and I understand the stress and worry about how to care for your child when you know she will never be able to care for herself. It can be an overwhelming situation. Being able to contribute to creating housing for women, minorities and disabled is a good reminder of the incredible value and opportunity Freddie Mac brings to the housing market.
Have you experienced any challenges as a woman in a predominately male industry?
A: While it is great that there is more diversity in the industry, it can still be challenging to address issues that may have a greater impact on working parents, women and minorities.
I think the expanded use of teleworking, part-time and job sharing allow women and men to achieve better work life balance and continue to grow their careers, their personal development and continue to be promoted.
What's the best part of your job?
A: I really enjoy working with my colleagues to solve issues. In Structured, we focus on out of the box deals and solutions, so it requires creativity as well as practicality. We’re grateful we get to work on deals that constantly test our abilities and provide for a challenging workplace. I’m also glad that I have a larger platform to speak up for working parents, women and minorities.
Did you have anyone who influenced or inspired you?
A: Growing up in the Midwest, I did experience some difficulties with gender and racial issues. Later I was fortunate to work with people who had experienced similar challenges, and I am grateful to them for serving as examples, supporters and mentors.
How do you in turn help other women who are coming up behind you to succeed?
A: I regularly recruit and speak with people, women in particular, who need more flexibility and are trying to achieve better work life balance. We discuss alternatives other than opting out or stalling their careers.
Any advice to share?
A: Women still often have to battle stereotypes, and when they do they’re still sometimes criticized as coming off too strong or aggressive. We still see this in many aspects of our society. The tightrope is too narrow for most of us. We have to work to change that perception when we experience it. It’s great that more people are listening and paying attention.
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