Director, Multifamily Structured Finance for Freddie Mac
I'm always focused on making more options available to customers.— Lauren Dupuis
What is your business role?
A: I'm the Director of Structured Transactions at Freddie Mac. I lead a group of five that focuses on selling and structuring custom financing for large transactions. A lot of the role is being open-minded. We come up with ideas but also respond to requests which spark new products.
How did you get started in the Multifamily Industry?
A: I got my Masters in Real Estate and Finance and joined a multifamily developer in Houston right after the recession where I worked on debt and equity. It was great to learn Multifamily from an owner's perspective; this has helped me in every role I've had since then.
As a child, I was always interested in buildings and structures and layouts. I'd doodle, but instead of flowers I'd doodle house plans. I was really interested in how people use space. I initially thought about getting into architecture, but I'm more business-minded so finance seemed like the right direction.
What is your biggest business accomplishment so far?
A: I'm always focused on making more options available to customers. Borrowers come to us with unique deals they need loans for, and we make it a point to never say no as our first reaction. We work with them to figure out how to make a product work to meet their needs.
Have you experienced any challenges as a woman in a predominately male industry?
A: Historically I've been the only woman in the room when it comes to the investment and finance side, but I'd say that's worked in my favor because it made me stand out.
I've never had a problem getting a seat at the table, but I've had to prove that I should be able to keep that seat. Men are assumed to have the skills to be there – being analytical, having negotiation and leadership skills. Women also have these skills as well as a different skillset that should also be appreciated. We're highly collaborative and get other people's buy-in and opinions. We're more likely to give credit to the group rather than an individual.
What's the best part of your job?
A: No deal is ever the same and no day is ever the same. I get to work with teams who are all very smart and who have out-of-the-box solutions. That's unique in the industry.
The focus from senior leadership to all departments is to be creative and think differently to come up with solutions. That's what sets Freddie apart.
Did you have any role models who influenced or inspired you?
A: My first boss supported me in learning all aspects of multifamily – not just finance, but also design, operations and asset management. He urged me to understand a deal from all angles.
My mom has an MBA and always been a successful business woman. So, I never felt held back. Both my parents just assumed that I would be successful and that gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams.
I wasn't scared to pursue an industry that didn't typically include women.
How do you in turn help other women who are coming up behind you to succeed?
A: I'm drawn to junior employees in the industry, and I work to expand the number of women in this industry. I try to bring my employees up and give them confidence. Knowing that your boss believes in you and trusts you provides the freedom to do a great job. You're starting from a point of confidence, rather than fear.
Any advice to share?
A: As with anything, positive feedback helps. But it goes both ways – giving and receiving.
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