2019 started as a year of change and uncertainty – and we appreciate that these twists and turns were a challenge for all of you, too. But our agility served us well, and now that the fog has lifted, we have a clear strategy forward. Our annual conference gave us all a chance to hit the reset button and start thinking about the future. I appreciate all of you who were able to attend and want to reflect on a few things that stood out to me.
To start, we renamed the conference Optigo® 2019, highlighting the new brand for our lender network and offerings. It’s been great seeing our lender network embrace this new name – hard to believe we only launched it this past February. And we purposely had a smaller crowd this year: we listened to your feedback and pulled back on the number of non-Freddie Mac attendees so you could get more quality time with us. I hope you saw this as a positive change; I know I was able to have some in-depth conversations with many of you and found this very worthwhile and reminiscent of years when the conference was just getting its footing.
Speaking of footing, I certainly got my steps in as I moved around the spacious Gaylord to talk with so many of you. It was great seeing Debby Jenkins lead her first general session as head of Multifamily as she laid out our strategy for moving forward. She also announced that yours truly has been promoted to Senior Vice President, where I will lead Production for all multifamily product lines: Conventional, Targeted Affordable, Small Balance, and Seniors Housing. I’m excited to take on this role and appreciate all the well wishes I received from so many of you.
Our keynote speakers – Jesse Itzler and Ted Leonsis – also continued the message of moving forward as they gave attendees assignments to do just that in our own lives by writing a personal mission statement and 100-item bucket list, respectively, because, as Mr. Itzler so delicately (smile) put it, "We didn’t come this far to only come this far." Whether for personal or professional purpose, the advice of having goals and a clear purpose resonates.
I’ve been with Freddie Mac for quite a while and the conference is something I look forward to each year. There is nothing like seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones that epitomizes how so many different people come together to work toward one goal. The resilient and agile spirit of this organization, and those of our partners, is what makes our businesses run and our relationships grow year after year. I’m proud of how far we’ve come and excited about where we will go.
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