And The 2019 Award Winners Are …

A luminary is defined as “a person who inspires or influences others.” And that type of person is exactly who PROGRESS in Lending is honoring. Right now the market is filled with uncertainty. Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, recently said of mortgage applications, “Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China led to volatile, yet declining Treasury rates. Consumers continue to act on these lower rates, but the volatility in the market is likely leading some borrowers to pause refinancing and buying decisions.”

What does this mean? The lending market will remain in flux for some time to come. But a true Lending Luminary will better handle and navigate constantly fluctuating market conditions.  These mortgage bankers, lenders, servicers, technology executives, consultants, etc. will help their companies and this industry thrive. These executives deserve to be recognized for their industry vision and leadership. The first ever Lending Luminary Award Winners are:

Evolve Mortgage Services

Paul built Evolve in a way that reflects his mission of changing how loans are bought and sold across all stages of the lending lifecycle. Over the last 12 months, the company has grown dramatically, and Evolve has had 6 straight record months, exceeding the firm’s 2018 numbers by July of this year, and 2018 was a previous record for Evolve. He leads by example and never alters his message or beliefs in how the company can improve mortgage originations, closings, and the secondary market. Evolve has made strategic decisions and some acquisitions in the last year that have put the company in a unique position to capitalize on market fluctuations. For example, when conventional volume declined, Paul anticipated this and Evolve adjusted to offer new programs.

Chief Visionary Officer and Co-Founder
Monster Lead Group

Ken’s decision to invest millions purchasing and then mining the entire U.S. residential mortgage databases was a bold move that has separated him from every other marketing company serving the industry. He then doubled down, adding a full time team of data scientists, analysts, programmers, developers and engineers to build customized algorithms that removed the many limitations of Black Knight and CoreLogic’s simple query system and transformed that data into five years’ worth of behaviors and details now accessible and rank-able by Monster’s technologies to reveal micro trends, buyer readiness models and opportunities within govy and conventional markets that his clients can exploit for a competitive edge, and drive far higher revenue.

President & CEO
20/20 Vision Your Success Coaching & Consulting

Christine has been the senior executive leader of sales organizations, lastly AnnieMac Home Mortgage where she oversaw both the sales & the technical aspects of many financial tech platforms including but not exclusive to the CRM, Pont-of-Sale and other Educational technology platforms used for training. She is at the cutting edge of all things fintech in this industry, speaking and writing for the leaders who are also developing, promoting and managing new fintech. Christine served on the Progress in Lending Fintech advisory in Washington DC and of course she is on the cutting edge of Social Media where Christine serves as an industry expert and has spoken this year for Gary Vaynerchuk, the MBA and Housing Wire on these topics.

Senior Vice President
National Credit-reporting System, Inc. (NCS)

As Senior Vice President at National Credit-reporting System, Inc.
(NCS), Lisa Binkley is leading the change for the mortgage industry to create standards that address 100% of a borrower’s employment, income, and asset attributes. In the last 12 months, Lisa has spearheaded some cornerstone initiatives and best practice procedures that supplement the current digital footprint of our lending environment for borrowers that; 1) do not receive W2 income, 2) are unwilling to allow a lender access to their bank accounts, and/or 3) have employers who do not report to a third-party repository. Lisa is promoting a cascading tool that will allow all consumer’s employment and income to be serviced in today’s digital market.

President & CEO

Amy Brandt is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and senior executive with a track record of over 20 years of success within the mortgage, software, tech, aerospace and financial services industries. Since joining the Docutech team in May 2017, Amy has driven the company’s strategic vision and leads its growth initiatives by adding new products, entering new market segments and seeking strategic acquisitions. She also provides leadership to all aspects of daily operations, including product development, sales, partner integrations, and customer satisfaction. As president and CEO, Brandt spearheaded Docutech’s continued growth, playing an instrumental role in many areas, including the expansion of its operations into an Arizona office.

Chief Strategy Officer & EVP

With 10-plus years of experience in mortgage and real estate technology, Kelcey works towards lowering lenders’ origination costs through digital point-of-sale applications and benefits the mortgage industry with engaging modern websites. in the last twelve months, he has worked diligently towards developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic inititiatives. For example, not only has he become the point of contact for all clients, but he has also spearheaded a new solution, to ultimately drive new leads to their website and point-of-sale through social media and automated messaging. He recognizes that the current millennial homebuyer, who is taking over the industry, literally lives on social media. He wants to help lenders reach these borrowers.

President & Founder
Blue Sage Solutions

Carmine Cacciavillani is revolutionizing the LOS market with the Blue Sage Digital Lending Platform, a cloud-based origination technology that is used by all parties involved in the mortgage process, including borrowers. But it’s only been during the past 12 months that Carmine’s company has emerged as a breakout star amid a heavily entrenched LOS market. In fact, it was one year ago that Prime Lending, a $14.5 billion nationwide mortgage lender, left its previous LOS vendor – one of the industry’s oldest and largest – to adopt the Blue Sage platform. Since then, other organizations have followed suit, including Member First Mortgage, a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) that provides technology to more than 200 credit unions nationwide.

VP of Quality Control
Planet Home Lending

Jackie Clark, CFCS, Vice President of Quality Control for Planet Home Lending, is the architect of a data-driven, profit-preserving quality control (QC) program. The program analyzes fraud and quality defect patterns, underwriting lapses, and risks in origination practices and procedures to determine where true financial, operational and compliance risk resides. Clark believes it’s important to build partnerships with operations and sales. She maintains a transparent, seamless pre-funding process, which allows QC to support Planet’s closing date commitments. Clark is constantly re-evaluating her program to incorporate changing trends, cost efficiencies and to improve early fraud detection. In 2019, Clark’s program findings inspired change.

President & CEO
Ellie Mae

As President and CEO of the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, Jonathan Corr is a prominent figure, spearheading technological innovation in a historically analog industry. Over the past 12 months under Jonathan’s direction, Ellie Mae made significant strides that moved the residential mortgage industry forward, increasing revenue totals year-over-year from $417 million in 2017, to approximately $500 million in 2018. By navigating the company through an acquisition by Thoma Bravo in April 2019, Jonathan opened up new opportunities for Ellie Mae to achieve its mission of automating everything automatable for the residential mortgage industry and providing a true digital mortgage solution for the industry.

Chairman & Founder

Historically Sanjeev has developed collaborative technology platforms for both mortgage servicing and mortgage originations, Quality Assurance and Quality Control. Through its branded solution HLP the technology makes it possible for several new programs to enable the expansion of home ownership to underserved markets.and low-to-moderate-income borrowers. How is this possible? These groups have been enabled by its flexible multistakeholder platform. In the end, transforming the various IndiSoft platforms to a digital model, and continuously integrating new applications to streamline the affordable housing originations process will ensure future success according to Sanjeev.

Co-Founder & CEO

James Deitch has spent the last 25 years combining his mortgage banking and technology expertise to help address some of the mortgage industry’s most pressing pain points, which include: financial stability, Cybersecurity, technological transformation, digital lending, and lender profitability, which led him to create Coheus. More importantly, in the last twelve months alone, he has guided enhancements to Coheus and Coheus Connector, achieved Elite Pro Consulting Partner status with Ellie Mae, and partnered with Ellie Mae on Data Connect to provide numerous mortgage lenders a solution to visualize all their data so they can more effectively navigate profits from enterprise to loan level. He is dedicated to improving lending.

NEXT Mortgage Events

As the co-founder of NEXT Mortgage Events, Molly Dowdy has provided a platform with two summits for women executives in the mortgage industry over the past 12 months. At these summits, high-ranking women execs meet to share competitive intel on lending technology that translates to faster implementation times, higher customer engagement and faster closings. At NEXT events, women executives collaborate on time-saving solutions, compliance issues, risk mitigation and many of the challenges every lending business faces. The collaboration and intel sharing has given those execs and the companies they represent a competitive edge in the market. Molly believes that no matter what the market is doing, there are technological and process improvements to be had.

President & Founder
NexLevel Advisors

Many executives focus solely on bringing success to their individual company, which Michael Hammond has done at NexLevel Advisors, he now dedicates himself exclusively to helping other businesses achieve extraordinary levels of success. Hammond helped NexLevel Advisors clients win more than 38 industry awards including clients being published more than 115 times in leading industry publications, securing more than 20 speaking engagements, significantly increasing sales volumes and helping grow their social media presence and engagement by more than 200% in the last 12 months alone. Hammond is only one of 60 individuals to earn the prestigious Certified Mortgage Technologist designation.

Founder & CEO

Matt Hansen is the mastermind founder and developer of SimpleNexus, the wildly popular, mobile-first lending platform that brings loan officers, borrowers and realtors together to seamlessly collaborate on home purchases from any device. In 2014 while the bulk of the mortgage industry was transitioning paper-based operations to desktops, Matt was already designing enjoyable lending apps to engage lending parties on the devices they’re most intimately connected to: phones. Now, just five years later, more loan officers (LOs) use SimpleNexus than any other mortgage point-of-sale platform. Under his leadership, the firm is clocking record loan application submissions and growing at an unprecedented rate.

Chief Revenue Officer

Hassan has led the incubation, realization, revenue generation and business development for some marquee logos in the Fintech industry after having cut his teeth at Freddie Mac where he was part of the team that developed Loan Prospector. He was instrumental in leading engineering, business and sales teams at, Dorado and then brought his experience and expertise to Tavant. Hassan has been at the helm of sales and business leadership at Tavant for more than 10 years. He has created and governs the eco-system of growth for the company’s Fintech business. In the last 12 months, Hassan has successfully led Tavant’s positioning as a business solutions and products company that solves the most complex lender and borrower challenges.

Director of Customer Success

Mariko is a passionate, customer-centric leader, who implements a 360°comprehensive approach for leading Floify in the mortgage software industry. She believes it’s paramount to earn the trust of our clients, as well as understand their ever changing hurdles and goals, so we can work in close lockstep together. There’s a difference between a vendor and a partner, and Mariko without fail knows we must be partners with our clients to continue long term client relationships. Mariko orchestrates and executes trainings, face-to-face meetings regularly with customers, daily communication to foster continual account growth, strategic initiatives, and cooperatively creates new features and inspiration with Product/Engineering.

Founder & Managing Director
TruLoan Mortgage

As a leader of branches nationwide, Daniel traveled the country to help the sales force focus on best practices and Realtor education, resulting in a 48% increase of same branch sales year over year, while simultaneously increasing the company’s purchase money market share. In mid-2019 Daniel and two of his long-time associates formed a new venture called TruLoan Mortgage. Why did they do this? They wanted to create an elevated mortgage experience that leverages consistent best practices for efficiency and a lending experience to love. Daniel believes firmly that the future of mortgage lending will depend on utilizing technology to enhance relationships rather than replace them, on a holistic experience.

Co-Founder, CEO and Chief ROI Booster
Sales Boomerang

Alex Kutsishin is Co-Founder, CEO and Chief ROI Booster with Sales Boomerang, a provider of tracking and notification software designed to help lenders identify prospects who are ideal candidates for loans. This year alone Alex has guided Sales Boomerang in helping its clients generate over 3 billion in originations from the Sales Boomerang automated Borrower Intelligence and Retention notification system. Under Alex’s leadership Sales Boomerang has tripled its number of enterprise accounts this year alone. He has also worked to integrate with all leading CRM solutions. “No Borrower Left Behind” is our mission, said Alex. The idea came from hearing all the horror stories of borrowers who were turned down or simply couldn’t qualify for a loan when they initially applied.

Take Three Technologies

As a noted thought leader, Ruth’s unique leadership offers Take Three Technologies insight into both the current market and what lies on the next horizon. “It doesn’t take a crystal ball, rather critical self-assessment in a period of change, which, for the mortgage industry, is constant. Ask why you are doing what you are doing, what incoming changes are impacting the efficacy of your process or product, and whether you enage in self-limiting behavior.” Following Ruth’s very simple ethos, solve the problem, provide efficiency, and empower the user, the company’s flagship product, TrueRuleTool, has grown over 40% in less then a quarter. “Fintechs often try to solve everything, but that isn’t productive.”

Advantage Systems, Inc.

Twelve months ago, volumes were down, margins were being squeezed and profitability was a challenge. Over those twelve months rates came down, volumes went up and margins have improved. Brian Lynch, President of Advantage Systems, leads by working hard, and Advantage Systems focuses heavily on client support and on new product development. Last year reinforced what the company already knew – that they need to help their clients save money. Since the company’s inception Advantage Systems has focused on providing functionality that makes a difference. This year, Advantage Systems has started rolling out the second phase of the next generation of its industry leading AMB software, version 7.


As the founder and CEO of Clarifire, Jane was the brainchild behind the development of CLARIFIRE®, an application that uses intelligent business rules to automatically distribute work, critical information and documents to users for action. CLARIFIRE includes a robust underwriting engine that has all investor, GSE and government workouts, including disasters, coupled with workflow that standardizes and adds transparencies. The technology can also easily share data with existing technologies. Over the past year, Jane and her team have managed to take several steps ahead of the market by paying close attention to industry operational impediments, understanding where and how technology falls short in addressing housing industry issues.

VP of Mortgage Business Development

With a focus on Digital Mortgages, the industry can be a complex puzzle in terms of getting a consistent, systematic technological infrastructure in place. There are so many entities that need to come together for a digital closing to work. Bill directed and expanded eO’s national mortgage partner network including (industry-leading LOS, Doc Prep, MERS, Title & Settlement, eNotary and eRecording providers) and managed industry affairs, strategy and indirect revenue opportunities for eO’s Mortgage LOB while serving on industry committees for MBA, ESRA and ALTA Digital Mortgage Taskforce. These key integrations will enable many players embrace digital lending.

President & CEO
Williston Financial Group.

While Ozonian previously held executive positions at Chicago Title & Trust, Coldwell Banker, Prudential Real Estate,, Bank of America and Re/Max and also served on the boards of LendingTree, Global Mobility Solutions, Realty Mogul and RealtyTrac, he is far from slowing down. This year, Ozonian and his team launched DecisionPoint, which speeds up the mortgage lending process by providing lenders with an immediate title clearance decision. The DecisionPoint platform uses a proprietary algorithm that delivers a full, detailed pre-title report nearly instantly, alerting lenders whether the loan is “clean,” or needs some curative measure that will take longer to rectify.


Working closely with the OpenClose management and technical teams, Jason helped spearhead a technology undertaking to offer its own POS digital mortgage technology, integrating it tightly with their consumer direct portal, ConsumerAssist. Officially introduced in 2019, it enabled OpenClose to offer an end-to-end digital mortgage solution starting at the POS with key functions like 1003 capture, VOE, VOI, VOA, and tax returns — with instant validation. Credit is then pulled and the loan seamlessly and swiftly moves to underwriting for automated decisioning within OpenClose’s LenderAssist LOS. Jason was instrumental in this major technology and business decision to penetrate the digital space, which has disrupted the existing POS space.

VP of Secondary Marketing
Guaranteed Rate

Over the last year, Leora has been instrumental in bringing on new investors and products to the Guaranteed Rate Companies, and continues to find new and efficient ways to bring new products to the market. Her vast knowledge and expertise in specialty products, such as Non-QM, have helped to keep Guaranteed Rate at the forefront of product development. Leora brings over 12 years of experience in secondary and capital markets to the industry, and is well-known for her passion in developing better and safer ways of helping everyone achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Leora continues to be involved with MBA, through her volunteer efforts.

NewRez LLC

In her current role at NewRez where she is the leader for Non-QM Lending, Lisa is responsible for production, client management, and profitability, working with operations and the corporate team to ensure overall success of this line across the organization. Notable recent accomplishments include externally launching NonQM AUS LoanScorecard to bring the NonQM loan decision closer to POS, Ellie Mae’s Investor Connect to allow clients more efficient loan delivery, and LoanNex to enable a broader set of clients access to NewRez’s products, all in support of an aggressive growth strategy. Through these strategies and assembling a strong team, the correspondent division, which Lisa led, has grown.

Co-Founder & CEO

Tedd Smith, Co-founder and CEO of FirstClose, has led the team at FirstClose to provide robust technology to the settlement services aspect of the mortgage and consumer lending industry. Over the past year, Smith has played an integral part of the rollouts of products like SmartSelect and EquityIQ. SmartSelect is an AI like product offering that eliminates lenders’ title vendor selection headaches by handling vendor due diligence, but ultimately auto-selects the best title vendor on each individual loan based on turn-time, quality, price, geographic coverage, and service levels, while providing vital data and statistics to the lender in real time. Smith and the team at FirstClose also introduced EquityIQ, the only home equity lead generation tool on the market.

Founder & Executive Chairman
Williston Financial Group

Pat Stone is a leader in the mortgage industry, with several decades of experience, notably serving for eight years at Fidelity National Financial as president, chief operating officer and director. Stone is currently overseeing the Williston Financial Group family of companies, as they transform the mortgage lending process. Stone has led WFG to become a leader in national title reporting services, becoming one of only six national underwriters, in less than 9 years; a record. Earlier this year, Stone oversaw the launch of WFG’s DecisionPoint, a completely automated title decisioning system. Lenders will know almost instantly the application-to-close time, as well as any curative steps needed based on the results. This is a big improvement over the competition, which often require the borrower’s Social Security number and provide only a simple grade rather than a full report.


In 2017 LERETA released Total Tax System (TTS). TTS was a complete re-write of the technology that runs LERETA’s outsource tax business. Over the last two years LERETA has released three new versions of this solution, with a fourth scheduled for release shortly. TTS has been meaningful to the industry in three ways. First, TTS is the first significant new technology innovation in the tax service business in years. Second, TTS has allowed LERETA to significantly raise the bar for outsource tax service. Since its release, LERETA has met 99.7% of customer SLA’s for all customers. LERETA has not missed a SLA for any customer in over 5 months. Last, TTS provides customers real-time, complete visibility into LERETA’s tax service.

Director, Product Delivery, Financial & Risk Management Solutions

With over 14,000 clients including banks, credit unions and financial services providers such as independent mortgage bankers and brokers, Fiserv supports mortgage lending in multiple ways. Kim works within Fiserv and with its many partners to provide the mortgage industry with capabilities for increasing production, reducing the cost of origination and loan acquisition, and providing a better borrower experience. Over the past year Kim has managed the expansion of Fiserv’s digital mortgage transformation suite, which provides functionality to increase efficiency throughout the origination cycle including more effective workflow with the lender’s customers and business partners. Kim uses her 25 years of experience to support Fiserv.

Honoring Lending Luminaries

A luminary is defined as “a person who inspires or influences others.” And that type of person is exactly who PROGRESS in Lending is looking to honor. Right now the market is filled with uncertainty.Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, recently said of mortgage applications, “Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China led to volatile, yet declining Treasury rates. Despite lower borrowing costs, refinances were down from their recent peak two weeks ago, but still remained over 150 percent higher than last August, when rates were almost a percentage point higher. Purchase applications increased 1 percent last week and were 5 percent higher than a year ago. Consumers continue to act on these lower rates, but the volatility in the market is likely leading some borrowers to pause refinancing and buying decisions.”

What does this mean? The lending market will remain in flux for some time to come. But a true Lending Luminary will better handle and navigate constantly fluctuating market conditions.  These mortgage bankers, lenders, servicers, technology executives, consultants, etc. will help their companies and this industry thrive.  In exchange for their tireless effort, we at PROGRESS in Lending are launching our first ever Lending Luminary Award.  These executives deserve to be recognized for their industry vision and leadership.  So, apply now


Fill out the information below on behalf of yourself or the person you are nominating for this honor. Note: If you are entering yourself for this honor you will have to enter some information twice. Please make sure that all fields are completed.

Your Full Name

Your Company Name

Your Title

Your E-Mail

Please provide the full name of the person applying

Please provide the full work title of the person applying

Please provide the full company name of the person applying

Describe how the applicant has lead the industry and their company to success over the past 12 months.

Describe how the applicant plans to navigate the current changes in the mortgage industry to ensure future success for their company and the industry as a whole.

After you have completed Step One by 1.) filling in every field and 2.) hitting the Send Button move on to Step Two in order to make payment.


Click the Buy Now Button to pay the small processing fee of $125.

Once you have 1.) filled in every field in Step One, 2.) hit the Send Button in Step One and 3.) made payment in Step Two your application is completed. All three tasks must be completed in order for us to consider your application. Further, all applications must be received on or before Friday, October 4. Winners will be announced at the 9th Annual ENGAGE Event to be held at the MBA Annual in Austin, Texas. 

And The 2019 Award Winners Are …

Sales, marketing and public relations executives are blazing a trail that is determining the biggest winners in financial services. On the sales side, research from the University of Pennsylvania shows that more than 50% of buyers still seek advice when making a purchase. As a result, educated and engaged sales associates who can meet buyers’ needs—especially who have knowledge about a specific product—ring up sales that on average bring in 69% more money. Similarly on the marketing side, a savvy business owner realizes that in order to grow, they need to make more people aware of their product or service. This means engaging with a marketing professional to help promote the business, bring in new clientele, and ensure that current customers are aware of all the products and services. Lastly, everyone wants to become the go-to organization in your field, right? For that to happen, you need to build your credibility and bring your expertise and knowledge into the limelight. That’s exactly what public relations executives bring to the table.

These executives work tirelessly to ensure their company/client is a true leader, but they themselves don’t always get recognized. That ends today. PROGRESS in Lending is recognizing the Top 20 Sales, Marketing and Public Relations Executives that are making the biggest impact.  Our winners in alphabetical order are:

Linda Aparo

National Director of Sales & Business Development

reQuire Real Estate Solutions, a Covius Solution

As National Director of Sales & Business Development at reQuire Real Estate Solutions, a Covius Solution, Linda is responsible for overseeing reQuire’s national sales and product development. Linda is a seasoned executive with a passion for developing new and inventive ways to make the industry more understandable and compliant. Linda has an outstanding record of success in identifying business opportunities, developing strategies and implementing actions to boost business performance.  

As the head of sales for reQuire over the past 5 years, Linda has played a crucial role in the growth and development of the company and its product suite. Since she has joined the company, reQuire has grown to be one the leading providers of lien releases nationwide and is used by more than a thousand leading title companies. 

Some of Linda’s recent accomplishments include:

>>The successful development and rollout of reQuire’s Release Tracking Plus product, that ensures more compliance around releases. Since its launch, the company has seen a steady increase of customers choosing the solution over their legacy release tracking system and are now using release tracking plus.

>>Development of reQuire’s Title Retrieval Program which is designed for lenders that are unable to resell loans on the secondary market due to outstanding trailing documents, one being the title insurance policy. The program obtains the outstanding title policies so they can be resold on the secondary market. 

Over the past 12 months, Linda has been working with the American Land Title Association (ALTA), educating their members on the impacts of lien defects. Today, about 15-20% of all payoffs have either a missing release or a defective release, and this is not a new problem. In 2005, ALTA reported that more than a third of all residential real estate transactions had title problems. For years, there has been a debate between lenders and the title industry as to whose responsibility it is to assure that a release is recorded on the land records. Linda, in conjunction with ALTA, has developed a playbook for the entire lending community to educate the industry and consumers on the lifecycle of a loan.

Craig Austin

SVP, Sales & Business Development


As senior vice president of sales and business development at ClosingCorp, Craig Austin is responsible for leading the sales organization, developing customer acquisition strategies, and building and maintaining relationships with leading loan origination systems, point-of-sale solutions, and industry settlement service portals.

Craig has played a pivotal role in helping ClosingCorp become the nation’s leading third-party fee provider. Since he joined the company in late 2016, ClosingCorp’s client base has increased 60 percent and the company’s volume has increased nearly 80 percent. Today, 19 of the top 25 lenders nationwide as well as 9 of the top 10 wholesale lenders use ClosingCorp technology.

Throughout the past year, Craig has closed more than a dozen high-impact deals with large lenders, including Freedom Mortgage Corporation, Movement Mortgage, Plaza Home Mortgage, Stearns Lending, Fifth Third, Union Bank and loanDepot. Those deals have resulted not only in 1.5 million purchase transactions going through ClosingCorp’s fee platform last year, but also increased efficiency and productivity for the entire mortgage ecosystem. By delivering a solution with accurate, real-time fee data, Craig helps lender partners streamline the loan estimate and closing disclosure generation process and confidently originate compliant loans. 

Prior to joining ClosingCorp, Craig was vice president of sales at RealEC® Technologies a division of Black Knight Financial Services, a provider of web-based technology solutions designed to support lenders’ loan quality programs, minimize loan repurchase risk and drive efficiencies in the mortgage transaction process. During his six-year tenure at RealEC, the company achieved its highest sales and client retention rate.

Rosalie Berg

President And CEO

Strategic Vantage

Over the past 12 months, Rosalie Berg, a nationally recognized marketing and public relations strategist with over 20 years of specialization in the mortgage industry, has led highly successful B2B and B2C campaigns that have helped over 30 companies in the mortgage industry gain recognition, recruit talented employees and grow their businesses. 

As the founder and CEO of Strategic Vantage, one of the nation’s largest marketing, public relations and social media agencies focused on the mortgage industry, Rosalie provides strategic direction and oversight in the creation and execution of all client marketing, public relations and social media campaigns, and is actively involved in all agency accounts. Since 2002, more than 100 companies have trusted Rosalie and her team to meet their needs, from lenders, service providers, technology companies, start-ups, and more.

Rosalie doesn’t believe in just going with the status quo. She seeks to help companies improve, do more and perform more cost-efficiently marketing, always seeking out the best way to reach their goals. Clients often come with challenges and their own ideas for solutions, and Rosalie often comes up with alternative, innovative ways to address those challenges—often in a way that is unexpected by clients.

Joe Bowerbank


Profundity Communications, Inc.

Joe Bowerbank possesses an extensive background in marketing communications, public relations and branding with a unique blend of experience working for multiple mortgage technology providers at an in-house marketing capacity and also as an outside consultant.He has a passion for helping launch technology companies, expand existing organizations, take new products to market, and create positive industry-wide awareness for enterprise-class fintech software solutions.
In the last year, Bowerbank has assisted in successfully rolling out and growing the mortgage industry’s first single-source LOS and POS digital mortgage solution with OpenClose; DocMagic’s end-to-end, fully paperless eClosing platform; MCT’s browser-based capital markets and digital loan trading software, Global DMS’ next-generation commercial valuation management system, and Quandis’ cloud-based default management technology services.  

Joe has more than 20 years of marketing, communications, branding, and strategy experience in the financial services and technology sectors helping grow organizations and build market share.  He is a company building marketing professional who understands what it takes to catapult companies to the next level and quickly increase revenue.

Joe established Profundity Communications, Inc. to utilize his experience and skill sets to help clients achieve above-and-beyond results.  He has successfully operated at an in-house marketing capacity where he managed functions such as marketing strategy, communications plans, go-to-market launches, public relations, branding, digital marketing, advertising, trade shows and events, corporate identity, websites, collateral, budgeting, competitive analysis, and essentially most facets of marketing.

Bob Brandt

VP of Marketing & Strategic Alliances

Optimal Blue

Bob Brandt has been fundamental in bridging the gap between sales, marketing, and strategic alliances at Optimal Blue.  With more than 20 years of experience leading successful, high-performing sales and marketing teams in the financial services industry, Bob has observed many of the pain points that lenders have experienced in the past.  He believes that a lack of collaboration and integration between mortgage technology vendors has historically held the industry back, leaving lenders in a difficult position as they tried to unsuccessfully maneuver and connect different components of their mortgage technology stack.  Bob’s leadership and experience brought a unique perspective to Optimal Blue, where he recognized the opportunity to leverage Optimal Blue, its content, and advanced technology to bring the modern mortgage tech stack together in an entirely new way.

Over the last two years, Bob has led the effort to establish a successful partner ecosystem that is based on real-time connections with the industry’s leading mortgage technology providers.  Today, more than 50 best-of-breed vendors are heavily integrated with Optimal Blue and millions of transactions are conducted across the platform through an advanced set of APIs.  Vendors from all disciplines of the mortgage loan process are participating today – from lead aggregation, realtor and MLS, CRM and marketing, consumer direct, point-of-sale, mobile, and beyond.

Dona DeZube

Director of Communications Strategy

Planet Home Lending

With three decades of experience in the mortgage industry, Dona gained tremendous knowledge and know-how as a communications specialist. During her career, she has helped some of the best-known industry, government, and trade association players strategically brand themselves through thought leadership communications. 

As Director of Communications Strategy for Planet Home Lending, she parlays that industry expertise and insight into company branding efforts. Over the past year, her valuable counsel raised personal and corporate brand recognition for Planet Home Lending and its leadership team. Dona’s strategies generated countless bylined articles, award nominations, and earned media quotes on trade and consumer websites and in publications. Her social media and website strategies supporting sales, recruiting, and corporate messaging led to significant increases in engagement and traffic.

Sam Garcia

Mortgage Media Specialist

Strategic Vantage

During the year since he transitioned from a mortgage news publisher to a public relations professional at Strategic Vantage, Sam Garcia has deepened his relationships with an extensive network of financial and real estate journalists, editors and producers — enabling his clients to reach a variety of news outlets. His success with media outreach on behalf of mortgage firms and service providers is his forte. With the knowledge gained in his two decades as an editor and publisher, Sam has helped clients deliver compelling stories that capture the interest of the editorial community.

The typical company Sam works with is a successful business with brilliant leaders who are often connected with an emerging process or technology. He doesn’t see that profile changing much even as real estate finance ebbs and flows. However, given current bond market volatility amid an ongoing trade war, a period with lower mortgage rates could see a greater number of companies self actualize. In addition, any reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could create opportunities for a new sector of players to engage in raising their profiles.

Rick Grant


Gallardo Grant Corp. d/b/a RGA Public Relations

Rick developed the LinkedIn for Leaders program this year, through which he works with industry thought leaders to increase their visibility on the world’s no. 1 social media platform for business, LinkedIn. The program helps busy executives develop their most important stories, create an editorial calendar so they can be developed, posted and promoted effectively, and then works with the client’s marketing department to help create content that mirrors and extends the thought leadership coming down from the c-suite.

Rick believes firmly that sales, marketing and public relations are beginning to merge into a single set of disciplines. In response, companies are changing the way they manage these departments, with some large companies actually doing away with the Chief Marketing Officer position (if you can imagine that). This means that external support teams, whether they are advertising agencies, marketing or PR firms are being asked to create content that will work well for the company wherever it is used. PR firms are writing more marketing copy and marketing firms are relying heavily on content that was once only found in the PR or company’s advertising. We may be approaching a time when companies just hire a Communications Czar who has managers for the various disciplines but that handles the development of all key company stories from one centralized office

Michael Hammond

Founder & President

NexLevel Advisors

Before NexLevel Advisors, Hammond’s sole focus was applying his sales, marketing, and PR expertise to the one company for whom he was working. Now, he applies all of those lessons learned to the benefit of many tech companies that are looking to gain awareness and grow their companies. So while he might not be the person in the headlines getting the credit for driving growth for that one company, he receives much greater satisfaction knowing that he has added significant value to a host of mortgage providers. Hammond truly believes that has a much greater impact on the mortgage industry as a whole.

He helps these technology providers bring their innovative solutions to market by moving audiences, generating leads, driving sales and igniting brand stories.

By working with numerous providers he has the benefit of identifying trends earlier on, providing best practices, and strategies so that these companies can more successfully bring innovation to the housing market.

Hammond has helped numerous companies bring innovation to market within the housing market helping drive growth, increases in market share, position for capital infusion, or acquisition.  

“Michael Hammond is a results-driven professional executive who excels at making organizations stand out in the crowd. His vast knowledge, experience, and expertise to propel companies forward in all facets of the mortgage banking industry are unparalleled. I highly recommend any entity that is looking to make its mark in the industry both externally and internally for gained efficiencies of scale to engage Michael. The results are amazing.”  Kathleen Mantych Sr. Director, AsurityDocs, Asurity Technologies

Laila Khan

Marketing and Communications Lead

Guidance Residential, LLC

Over the past 12 months, Guidance Residential has been focused on one thing: improving the customer journey. Every initiative, every project, and every decision had to align with that goal. To better understand the customer journey and the value that Guidance Residential offers, it’s important to have an intrinsic comprehension of the customer engagement experience, complete understanding of our product suite and how we can server our customers, full awareness of our niche audience and diverse client base, and knowledge of our process from the operational to customer insight. 

Prior to May 2018, Laila Khan was the Preprocessing Lead and transitioned into an Account Manager. She was entrenched in day-to-day customer interactions and developed a deep understanding of the customer journey. In May 2018, Laila was selected by the company’s leadership to transition to the Marketing and Communications Lead role, given her roots in the community and the expertise she had amassed as an integral part of the Operations team.

Over the past 12 months, Laila Khan has been able to identify, and successfully implement strategic areas of improvement with regards to the company’s previous lack of brand awareness, within and outside its niche market. Her efforts have increased the company’s social media presence, successfully connected the organization with B2B industry leaders, dramatically improved the customer journey, and coordinated all efforts to get Guidance Residential recognized.

Riffat Lakhani

Vice President, Marketing

Guidance Residential, LLC

In order to provide outstanding communication to customers—the kind that makes them feel informed and treasured, and the kind that makes them seek out further engagement—you have to care about them, understand them and provide solutions to address their pain points. That is where Riffat Lakhani and her team come in and that’s how they’ve increased online leads an astonishing 33% YOY from 2018 to 2019, and 86% since Riffat’s leadership of the marketing department. Riffat is Vice President of Marketing at Guidance Residential, a specialty home financing organization that prides itself on providing top-notch service to a previously under-served segment of the market – those who need interest-free financing for faith-related reasons.

Riffat’s small but nimble team supports a growing nationwide sales team of more than 75 sales professionals while caring for customers in a more direct capacity online as well. 

Purchasing a home is a complicated process; add on top of that faith-based nuances and you are bound to lose even savvy homebuyers. Riffat’s team educates customers about our program and the home financing process through every avenue available – chat, text, email, webinars, social media, apps, and video. 

But producing material is not enough. According to Marketo, on average, 50% of leads in any system are not yet ready to buy. And almost 80% of new leads never become sales because of lack of lead nurturing (Marketing Sherpa). This past year, Riffat developed the strategy to nurture leads through an automated nurturing system that allows customers to receive timely and relevant information specific to their needs. The emails address issues that are preventing prospective homeowners from moving forward and guide them through the steps toward achieving their dream. 
The ultimate effect is a customer experience that stands out even among industry leaders. And the proof is in the numbers: Under Riffat’s leadership this past year, Guidance Residential increased its online leads by 33%.

Charlyne H. McWilliams

Account Supervisor/Regional Sales Director

William Mills Agency

Charlyne’s in depth knowledge of key industry issues and many of the game changing trends has made her the go-to source for mortgage and fintech information at the William Mills Agency. With more than 20 years of public relations experience on top of her 10-year career in business journalism, Charlyne is able to offer her multiple clients the counsel they need to successfully garner positive exposure for their company and their brand. 

She has worked with more than 50 agency clients touching all aspects of the industry. Herstrong communications skills enable her to bring innovative strategies for success to her clients. In the last year, she spearheaded a very effective campaign to help LERETA share the news of its new relationship with Black Knight. In addition to that campaign, she has successfully placed many feature articles (some of which she ghost wrote) in leading industry publications. She has crafted nominations that have resulted in several awards for her clients as well. She has become a trusted source and reliable counsel to all of her clients. 

Raj Menon

Chief Marketing Officer


Raj Menon is the Chief Marketing Officer for Tavant, a Silicon Valley-based provider of AI-powered digital lending technologies. In this position Menon leads the company’s efforts and innovation in marketing, branding and building alliances. He is known for developing world-class marketing teams that transform how a company showcases its offering and positions to the global market.

Menon has been instrumental in ensuring success through his comprehensive and big picture thinking in his work in the financial services, technology and corporate services industries. Prior to joining Tavant, Menon worked at Cognizant for nearly 14 years where he successfully increased sales, expanded marketing efforts and further streamlined operations for North America-based clients.

Most recently, Menon was charged with leading the Lending unit at Cognizant, which became an industry-leading practice under his vision and leadership. Additionally, Menon has worked at Tata AID as the Head of Information Technology and TCS in various leadership positions. He leverages his experience to implement complex business solutions and is skilled at advising organizations piloting transformation strategies or creating business and technology goals. 

Sara Nakae

Director of Marketing


Sara has over 15 years of experience in FinTech serving the financial services sector in realtor and agency marketing for banks and credit unions, and extensive experience in the mortgage industry working with banks, credit unions and mortgage companies to deliver award winning technology solutions and services. She has been a keynote presenter at leading industry events and conferences discussing FinTech and its impact on lenders businesses.  Sara has deep industry knowledge in the financial digital space.

Most recently she has worked on the development and launch of new Equity IQ Solution. EquityIQ is the first and only home equity lead generation tool and application management system fully integrated with industry leading LOS’s. The solution drives existing and new borrowers to lenders customized application pages; automatically identifies borrowers available home equity and estimated monthly payments; reduces internal resources by decreasing the time to review and filter qualified applicants; and is a lead generation tool, as EquityIQ will instantly submit all borrower information directly into leading LOS platforms.

Sara also worked on the development and launch of their new platform, FirstClose ONE, as well as the product, SMART Select. These tools help lenders accelerate turn times and save money by using suitability logic to create efficiencies in the mortgage lending process.

Darcy Patch

VP Marketing, Enterprise Solutions

WEST, a Williston Financial Group company

Over a career spanning more than 20 years, Darcy Patch has led the marketing and communications efforts and implemented strategic marketing plans on behalf of many of the real estate industry’s largest and most innovative companies. But it is probably her efforts over the past 12 months that have earned Darcy recognition as one of the most dynamic, multi-talented and results-driven marketers working in the mortgage industry today.

For most of the past year, Darcy served as vice president of marketing for national technology and valuation services provider Veros Real Estate Solutions. There, she was responsible for building awareness and recognition of the Veros brand, generating new leads and upsell opportunities with existing clients and providing proactive, ongoing support for the company’s sales and product development teams. 

When she joined Veros in January 2018, however, Darcy had a very limited marketing budget—so her first instinct was to build exposure for the company by leveraging its existing products and data. For example, one of her first projects was increasing awareness of Veros’ quarterly market reports, VeroFORECASTs, which included projections about future home price appreciation and depreciation levels by individual market. These reports were being distributed yet not actively promoted, but Darcy quickly expanded their distribution by sharing them personally with industry reporters, as well as with local media in the markets covered by the reports.

In June of this year, Darcy joined WEST, a Williston Financial Group company, where she leads the marketing and communications strategies for WFG’s Enterprise Solutions group. She oversees marketing and publicity campaigns for WFG Lender Services, ValuTrust, WESTvm and DecisionPoint, as well as other enterprise solutions offerings. Today, Darcy is hard at work doing many of the same things she did throughout her career and more, increasing awareness of both WFG Enterprise Solutions and fellow Williston Financial Group company WEST as companies dedicated to improving real estate transactions and providing a better experience for Realtors, brokers, title companies, mortgage lenders and, above all, the consumers they serve. 

Currently, Darcy is helping WFG’s Enterprise Solutions group refine its branding message, implement internal and external communications plans, and helping to create a media engagement strategy that includes regularly contributed content and thought leadership articles. She’s also formalizing WEST’s online and social media strategy to get everyone in the organization on the same page. 

Brian Rieger

Principal & Founder

True Impact Communications

A number of the businesses approaching Brian and True Impact through the years to support them in their marketing were small-cap and mid-cap businesses with limited marketing resources and experience. Most were simply seeking to grow by “getting the message out there.” In many cases, the clients had good products and promising forecasts but limited marketing budgets. The trademark True Impact strategy involves an integrated approach, combining budget-friendly PR and social media messaging with home-grown but effective content marketing. Brian has always insisted upon authenticity and simplicity in messaging, which has resulted in high impact results (especially increased revenue and brand awareness) on shortened timelines.

Brian and True Impact were among the first marketing/PR firms in the mortgage industry to encourage clients to use content marketing to tell their stories. In combination with traditional public relations and direct marketing efforts, multiple True Impact clients used blogs, podcasts, webinars and video to share their messaging, while supporting it through social media, marketing and PR channels.

Zac Scalzi

Director of Sales


Floify has long been considered a leader in mortgage technology. This honor not only comes from the dedication of the company’s leadership and staff, but also the contributions Zac Scalzi has made to support Floify’s continued domination of the mortgage tech market. Over the past 12 months, Zac and his five-person sales team is well known for supporting many of the company’s major sales initiatives, including providing prospects with hands-on introductions to Floify’s industry-leading point-of-sale platform, their redesigned digital 1003, and dozens of the solution’s third-party integrations – all in an effort to simplify and streamline the lending workflows of mortgage pros around the world.

Zac’s strengths lie in his ability to find solutions to fit nearly every lender’s unique business need. And If Zac doesn’t feel Floify’s vast solution offerings are able to be customized to meet the complex demands of a prospect, Zac is willing to help them find alternatives, even if it means directing them to a competing solution – a rare approach to customer service, especially in today’s marketplace.

Equipped with Floify’s innovations that Zac has helped to promote, lenders are better able to fight margin compression, reduce workload, originate more loans faster, and dramatically improve borrower satisfaction with the entire home loan process. Zac’s customer-first mindset has added tremendous value to Floify’s efforts, which has ultimately supported the company’s massive growth over the last year, and will continue well into the future.

Michelle Shapiro

Product Marketing Manager, Financial Risk and Management Solutions


In her first 6 months at Fiserv, Michelle was appointed a member of the LoanComplete Management Team. In her short tenure at the company (less than 1 year), she has championed LoanComplete from Fiserv to receive industry recognition including the achievement of Fiserv’s first-time recognition as –

>>“Best Digital Mortgage Product” FinTech Breakthrough 2019

>>HW Tech100 Winner 2019

>>“Top 25 Company to Work For” by MReport, 12/2018

Michelle takes great pride and enjoyment in partnering with experts and leaders across the lending landscape, sitting on the LoanComplete management team, managing product launches, and developing content and thought leadership to reflect evolving market positioning as well as leading event and campaign management.

Stephen Sprayberry

Account Supervisor

William Mills Agency

Since joining William Mills Agency in 2011, Stephen has leveraged his public relations, journalism and marketing experience into substantial PR program and client contributions for leading organizations across the mortgage industry, including Docutech, FICS and QuestSoft. In his role as Account Supervisor, Stephen’s areas of focus span from research, content writing and campaign strategy to media relations, event management, executive media training and company rebranding. 

Over the past 12 months, Stephen has led the charge on overseeing the strategy, planning and execution of valuable public relations content for his clients, including, but not limited to, news releases, case studies, articles and company press kit elements, as well as assisting with the distribution and placement of these materials within the media for key decision makers in the mortgage space. Combining his experience in the PR field with the decades of industry expertise his clients hold, Stephen was able to successfully capitalize on many of the key trends generating buzz within the mortgage industry, such as eMortgage and the continued introduction of new and revised regulatory standards. 

As a result of these efforts, many of Stephen’s clients remain at the forefront of thought leadership in the industry and have gained added momentum as they strive to further improve the way both lenders and borrowers experience the mortgage process from beginning to end. In addition, these same clients have received dozens of industry awards from key mortgage publications and associations at both an organization and individual level further emphasizing the impact of their stance within the industry as a result of the PR efforts performed by Stephen and the talented team of PR practitioners he manages.

Tom Tough

VP of National Renovation/Construction Lending Division

Plaza Home Mortgage

As Vice President of Plaza Home Mortgage’s newly formed National Renovation / Construction Lending division, Tom leads a team of six—a Lending Manager, Construction Underwriter, three Renovation/Construction Specialists and a Construction Service Specialist—and is responsible for overseeing sales, operational efficiencies and product development. 

Over the past year, Tom has been instrumental to the development and rollout of several new renovation and construction lending programs, including: 

>>One-Time Close Construction-To-Permanent loan program. Streamlining the process that approves the borrower for both a construction loan and a permanent 30-year mortgage at the outset of the project—thus avoiding two closings and having the convenience and cost savings of two loans in one. 

>>VA Renovation loan program that allows qualified borrowers to purchase a home with no down payment requirement or refinance at 90% of the after completed value and include up to $50,000 in improvements all in one loan. 

>>Freddie Mac’s CHOICERenovationSM loan program that allows homebuyers to use one loan to purchase or refinance a home and also finance the cost of renovations.

Tom joined Plaza Home Mortgage more than 15 years ago to open its first Northwest Regional Office in Portland as the Northwest Regional Vice President where he was in charge of sales and operations for the entire region. Due to the success of Renovation lending in his region, Tom was given the opportunity to develop a renovation and construction lending division to further expand upon Plaza’s existing host of renovation products. 

Tom is a mortgage industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience in mortgage lending. Tom has had the opportunity to work with a variety of product lines including hard money loans, conventional, government, Jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA and now construction  and renovation loans in both the wholesale and retail channels.

Bryan Wilson

National Sales Director

WFG Lender Services

Over the past 12 months, Bryan Wilson has leveraged a busy real estate market, his years of sales expertise and Williston Financial Group’s expanding number of innovative products and services to achieve his best sales year in his 15-year career in the mortgage industry. 

Bryan, who joined WFG nearly 10 years ago, is the national sales director for WFG Lender Services, a national settlement services company that applies its superior technology and closing processes to help lenders remove time and costs from real estate transactions. His primary role is selling title insurance for mortgages, mortgage refinancing and home equity products, leveraging a wide arsenal of title products and services provided by WFG, the nation’s sixth largest underwriter of title insurance. 

Since the beginning of 2019, Bryan has personally billed more than $1 million in revenues per month. And not only has he been wildly successful at increasing current business with existing clients, he has also helped lenders solve their biggest challenges by hooking them up with WFG’s suite of technology, appraisal and other services.

As a national representative, Bryan also goes where the business is, which amounts to a ton of traveling. He estimates he spent about 75 nights over the past year on the road, flying from California to New York to Texas, and meeting with existing and prospective clients where they do business. But it’s the kind of work he enjoys, which is evident in his performance. “I love building relationships with my clients, whether it’s in the office or going out to visit them in person and getting to know them on a personal level,” Bryan says. “I’ve found the extra effort really seems to go a long way.” 

And The 2019 Winners Are …

In today’s hyper-connected world, organizations must constantly evolve to offer quick, convenient, and reliable service. The financial services industry is no exception. The rise of Innovative FinTech is a perfect example of how this new reality is reshaping the way we think. And women are playing a pivotal role. These women are not just influencers, they are leading the way. As such PROGRESS in Lending is honoring The Most Powerful Women in FinTech today. Here are the Top 30 women that are reshaping Financial Services FinTech today:

Susan Allen

Head of Product

Experian Mortgage

Susan is a mortgage innovator who has recently been named head of product for Experian Mortgage. Allen joined the company this year with 25 years’ experience as a risk management and product leader. She is recognized as an industry expert on mortgage data and analytics, property valuation, and risk management. In her role, Allen will be responsible for product strategy and execution of Experian’s suite of solutions for the mortgage industry.

“At Experian, we want to support a modern mortgage experience through data, analytics and empowered consumers,” said Michele Bodda, general manager Experian Mortgage. “We’re improving the current experience by reducing time from mortgage application to close, mitigating fraud and digitizing processes. I’m confident Susan’s leadership will be a tremendous asset to our team and our mission.”

Allen has previously worked with CoreLogic, JP Morgan Chase and General Motors Acceptance Corporation. She is a patented inventor who has launched award-winning risk and analytics solutions.

Christine L. Beckwith

President & Chief Operating Officer

20/20 Vision for Success Coaching & Consulting

Christine has been the senior executive leader of sales organizations, lastly AnnieMac Home Mortgage where she oversaw both the sales & the technical aspects of many financial tech platforms including but not exclusive to the CRM, POS & other Educational tech platforms used for training.

She is at the cutting edge of all things fintech in this industry, speaking and writing for the leaders who are also developing, promoting and managing new fintech.  Christine served on the Progress in Lending Fintech advisory in Washington DC and of course she is on the cutting edge of Social Media where Christine serves as an industry expert and has spoken this year for Gary Vaynerchuk, the MBA and Housing Wire on these topics.

Lisa Binkley

SVP, Business & Product Development

National Credit-reporting System, Inc.

Lisa Binkley is Senior Vice President at National Credit-reporting System, Inc. (NCS), where she is responsible for mortgage solutions and business development. With over 30 years in the mortgage space, Lisa understands all lending disciplines and mortgage processes from a practical user level. She is a well-known quality assurance and business technology expert with the knowledge that spans from origination and underwriting through quality control and risk. With small to midsize lenders in mind, her vision to craft a practical roadmap has led to streamlined loan manufacturing workflow, improved automated technologies, and efficient implementation that saves originators and investors both time and money.

Ms. Binkley starting her career in the mortgage industry in 1987. By 1994 she was working for a top 20 lender where she quickly achieved leadership status as a risk management expert. During that time, Lisa was instrumental in pioneering the country’s first pre-funding fraud investigation unit, effectively paving the way for pre-funding fraud and quality investigation long before it was required by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. She was responsible for transitioning the investigative unit from a single account with manual selection processes to an online audit tool with backend databases, enabling real-time audit findings to be shared across 8 branches and 13 associates.

By 2006, she applied these visionary tactics with mortgage industry solution providers like Rapid Reporting (acquired by Equifax), IMARC, Platinum Data, and most recently, NCS. After 13 years of understanding the workflow process from a lender’s perspective, Binkley dedicated herself to developing automated tools for risk management that kept technology and humans working in synergy to render quality, risk-based decisions on all loans. Under Binkley’s tenure, these concepts helped to increase customer count and revenue exponentially by 900% within three years.

While at Rapid Reporting, Lisa played an essential part in the development and beta rollout with the IRS IVES program and automated SSA-89 program in 2007. After being acquired by Equifax, she also created its Wholesale Broker/Correspondent Network Tax Transcript Program. Before its implementation, originators and their upstream investors ordered separate tax transcripts. Her solution allowed the originator to order one tax transcript that could easily be transferred to their investor. This program saved originators days to closing, upstream investors extra product fees, and decreased overall approval time for closing/purchasing loans.

Suha Beidas Zehl

EVP, Technology Services and Chief Information Officer

Guidance Residential, LLC

In her 30+ years of experience, Suha has worked for several international and domestic companies in Education, Consulting and now Financial Services. She has experienced first-hand the evolution of technology (not just FinTech): from the early days of simple web-based platforms, to today’s highly scalable, extensible and fully integrated end-to-end digital mortgage solutions. Suha has been with Guidance Residential since its inception in 2002, with the exception of a two-year hiatus in 2015; and in those 17 years, Guidance has grown significantly, year over year (17,000%+), becoming the nation’s leading faith-based Islamic home finance provider for this niche market of underserved families in 33 states. Suha leads a small team of ten software and support engineers, making strategic decision, executing the company’s vision, and developing innovative solutions that engage and delight customers. Suha has built and led collaborative, cross-discipline teams focused on delivering enterprise solutions that streamline and automate workflows, bringing new features to an otherwise obsolete, and highly manual process.

To date, FinTech has helped modernize back office operations with solutions like automated data verification (data from the source). A mindset shift took hold in 2016 as organizations, like Guidance Residential, began to take a more customer-centric approach and applying FinTech methodology to their product design and innovation. FinTech has fundamentally transformed the industry and it will continue to disrupt and reshape this ecosystem as companies introduce more machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, business intelligence, predictive analytics, and other innovations to differentiate themselves and gain the competitive advantage to attract, and retain, their customers for life.

Amy Brandt



Amy Brandt is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and senior executive with a track record of over 20 years of success within the mortgage, software, tech, aerospace and financial services industries. Since joining the Docutech team in May 2017, Amy has driven the company’s strategic vision and leads its growth initiatives by adding new products, entering new market segments and seeking strategic acquisitions. She also provides leadership to all aspects of daily operations, including product development, sales, partner integrations, and customer satisfaction.

As president and CEO, Brandt spearheaded Docutech’s continued growth, playing an instrumental role in many areas, including the development of the company’s eClose product and strategic partnerships, the expansion of its operations into a Scottsdale, Arizona, office and further success in sales and customer support. In addition, Brandt implemented 27 new clients and grew revenue approximately 40% in a down market; expanded Docutech’s product reach from primarily mortgage into consumer lending, servicing and other types of documents; lead through the transition of the company from its founder and CEO of 25 years; built a high performing leadership team; and transformed the development teams to an Agile Methodology. 

Before joining Docutech, Brandt was the president of originations and corporate technology at New Penn Financial, where she oversaw all origination channels, including direct to consumer products, third party originations, retail and joint venture. Prior to that, Amy served as chief operating officer of Prospect Mortgage, where she enhanced day-to-day operations, resulting in a 40% reduction in operational costs. Before her time at Prospect, Amy was tenured as president and CEO at Vantium, where she was able to grow assets under management from $500 million to more than $4 billion while overseeing the acquisition of two companies.

Maylin Casanueva

Chief Operating Officer


Maylin saw the ability to improve the way data is managed and used. She noticed lenders have so much data but the technology to enable executives to make informed decisions wasn’t there. It’s more than just data, or loan officer volume. Lenders need to dig deeply to see the actual patterns. With her experience she found the metrics that matter for lenders and found a way to leverage data from multiple sources to enable Mortgage Bankers to easily make well-informed decisions in real-time. The ability to easily identify and eliminate performance problems, waste, and revenue leakage is crucial, especially in today’s challenging lending environment.   

Therefore, Maylin developed Teraverde’s Coheus profit intelligence platform for loan origination, operations, servicing, risk management and securitization, bringing together data from a variety of systems into a single, easy to use platform. In addition, she established a partner relationship with EllieMae to bring Coheus integrations to the EllieMae Encompass LOS, leveraging EllieMae’s API and DataConnect infrastructure.  

Her expertise has helped clients with $2 billion in private label securitization transactions in the past 12 months, using data management and data science to speed the securitization process, as well as improving profitability at over a dozen client business units.  She has provided capital markets and product development thought leadership to Quicken, Angel Oak Mortgage, TD Bank and other lenders.  Her command of technology and mortgage banking makes her a sought-after advisor in non-QM lending. 

Her expertise in business process assisted over two dozen lenders in the past 12 months, in areas of origination, servicing and capital markets activities.

Jody Collup


Global DMS

With more than 25 years of sales, marketing, operations and management experience, Jody Collup has dedicated the bulk of her career to working in the technology space within the mortgage industry. Jody currently serves as both CMO and COO of Global DMS, a leading provider of cloud-based valuation management software. Since joining Global DMS in 2013 as VP of Marketing, under her leadership, the company has made a number of achievements, innovations, and reached milestones that Jody has been integral in making happen.

Prior to Global DMS, Jody headed the marketing strategy at Calyx Software, Inc. While at Calyx, she successfully aligned sales with marketing while operating in a hyper-growth environment, establishing brand consistency and positive industry awareness behind the company and its solutions, as well as navigating through the mortgage post-crash downturn and reaching business sustainability. She was also instrumental in merging the synergies of Loan-Score Decisioning Systems with Calyx after acquiring the vendor in 2010.

Previous to Calyx, Jody spent six years at the American Heart Association as the Product Development Marketing Manager, where she managed all aspects of the department’s product offering – including conceptualization, content development, creative development, production, and maintenance.

Throughout her career in mortgage technology, she has been involved with forming strategic alliances, facilitating game-changing integrations, introducing new technology innovations, driving solution adoption, and much more.

Molly Dowdy


NEXT Mortgage Events

Molly has worked with fintech providers a la mode, Mercury Network and CoreLogic, and others focused on building effective marketing strategy and supporting business growth. She has been a Progress in Lending board member for the past six years, gaining exposure to a wide variety of fintech firms and technology solutions.

In 2018, Molly co-created NEXT Mortgage Events. NEXT is the only technology-focused conference for executive mortgage women. Each summit showcases multiple women technology experts as panelists and presents the latest solutions on the market. The events cater to women executives representing mortgage lenders of all kinds and sizes and attracts a diverse population of people aiming to change mortgage lending through financial technology. The objective of NEXT is to provide a reliable access point for gaining the knowledge and networks that yield limitless professional opportunities for women mortgage executives. NEXT was chosen as a winner of PROGRESS in Lending’s 2018 Innovations Award and has achieved widespread industry recognition as an influential event for executives in mortgage lending and technology.

Lorie Helms

Chief Information Officer

Covius Holdings

Lorie Helms has been in the FinTech industry for more than 13 years, providing technical solutions for lenders, servicers, investors and service providers. Throughout her career, she has managed the application development of loan origination systems, document generation systems, point of sale systems, rating and pricing engines, due diligence systems, vendor integrations and business intelligence platforms.  

In her current role as Chief Information Officer at Covius, a provider of tech-enabled services for financial institutions, Lorie oversees the development of the company’s internally developed systems including: document generation and management, due diligence, and loan modification.  She oversees the team that builds custom technology solutions for financial institutions using a proprietary low code platform and manages critical third party systems to provide additional services such as, settlement services. Throughout her tenure, Covius has grown significantly, both organically and through several acquisitions including WALZ, a provider of regulatory compliance solutions, full-cycle critical document fulfillment and Certified Mail® Automation; PHH, the nation’s largest private-label mortgage fulfillment provider; and ReQuire Holdings, a group of technology-enabled companies that provide compliance, quality assurance, lien release tracking and valuation solutions for both the residential and commercial real estate markets. Lorie played a crucial role both during diligence and post-acquisition of these companies in order to fully integrate resources, applications, infrastructure and data. 

Recently, Lorie’s team rebuilt one of the company’s legacy proprietary platforms, which processed hundreds of thousands of transactions daily. The platform was struggling to handle the transaction volume and had extremely high support costs. When Lorie came on board, she evaluated the cost of upgrading vs. the risks, benefits and long-term savings of rebuilding the platform. Lorie worked with company stakeholders and the board to prioritize the rebuild and today the new platform is live and has significantly improved employee productivity, as well as reduced support costs. To promote collaboration and tech enablement, Lorie created an architecture committee with senior technical representatives from each of the company’s divisions that regularly reviews critical projects that other divisions are working on to make sure that applications are designed in the most scalable and efficient way and that standardized design principals are in place. 

As a key member of the Covius executive leadership team, Lorie contributes significantly to the company’s mission, vision and values.. Lorie brings a culture of open communication and collaboration, both within the IT department and between IT and the rest of the company.  She created a standardized process for requests to be submitted into IT, prioritization committees that review and discuss the ROI of any requests, and standard reporting that provides transparency to the business about how IT’s time and funding is being spent.  This has ensured that resources are focused on the most critical projects to the organization as a whole.

Kelli Himebaugh

Director, National Sales


Kelli began her career in the mortgage industry in 2003.  Prior to that, she worked in the modular homebuilding industry with two national factory homebuilders. She pivoted her work focus to the mortgage technology space in 2007 with a LOS vendor. In 2008 she joined Mortgage Builder Software. After two years in her sales role and increasing the customer base by 125%, she transitioned to a corporate role in Mortgage Builder’s Southfield, MI headquarters.  

Serving as Corporate Vice President, Kelli was responsible for carrying out the strategic plan of the Company and overseeing day-to-day operations including – performance of the management team within the company, Customer Relations, Product Roadmap, and Sales & Marketing. She was directly involved in developing corporate policy and communicating Mortgage Builder’s mission and initiatives to its employees and customers. Other responsibilities included competitive market research and comparison to the Mortgage Builder offering. She appraised new product ideas, analyzed product requirements, determined return on investment, release schedules, and pricing strategy.  Her responsibilities for customer success included organizing and hosting the company’s annual user conference, focus groups and customer visits for education and product roadmap strategy.   

In 2012 after playing a key role in increasing Mortgage Builders revenue by 46%, Kelli worked with Mortgage Builder’s owner to  perform due diligence and negotiation in the acquisition of two software companies (GCC Servicing and LoanXEngine). In 2014, Kelli then played a key executive role in the strategic acquisition transaction of Mortgage Builder by Altisource Solutions.  

In 2016, Kelli joined the team at VirPack. Today she serves as the Director of National Sales and is a member of the senior management team. She is focused on delivering the VirPack solution to lenders of all sizes and plays a key role in the company’s market strategy alongside VirPack’s COO and Directors.

Angela Hurst 

SVP Strategy & Development

RES.NET and US Real Estate Services

For more than three decades, Angela Hurst has approached the real estate and mortgage banking industries as a limitless pool of opportunity. With a combination of thoughtful leadership and diligent team building, Angela’s style as an executive has been one of inclusivity, providing her the chance to create a borderless environment and help not only herself, but also others around her from falling into stereotypical labeling that comes in banking and in technology. 

Building successful partnerships with vendors and fruitful relationships with clients has given Angela a unique perspective in understanding the challenges each face, and how best to solve them. She is an accomplished senior executive and thought leader with a lifetime of industry success under her belt. Angela has been able to leverage her extensive experience with business analysis, contract and vetting issues, and marketing and public relations as a valuable resource and asset for companies seeking guidance on technology, asset management, marketing and overall corporate strategy.   Being a generalist in mortgage banking has afforded clients a comprehensive perspective that is hard to find in the industry.

Her broad areas of expertise include strategic initiatives, contract negotiations, contract procurement, client relations, community outreach, development programs, pool/bulk sales, alternative disposition programs, vendor and business partner training programs, vendor management, negotiations, public/client relations, communications and conflict resolution. Throughout her professional career, Angela has held executive leadership positions with US Real Estate Services and RES.NET, Barrett Burke Wilson Castle Daffin & Frappier LLP, NDeX, Cendant Settlement Services Group (Burrow Closing Management), FreddieMac’s HomeSteps, and National Title Insurance companies.  In all of her experiences, she entered each organization at a time that workflow and customer to supplier facing technology were nearly non-existent.    As customer’s needs increased, she championed opportunities to partner with various industry leaders to combine resources and enhance their offerings, ultimately benefiting operations as well as the customers.  

In her current role as Senior Vice President of US Real Estate Services and RES.NET, Angela oversees the company’s strategic development initiatives and B2B relationships. She has been able to link customer requirements with the innovative solutions each customer needs, providing a thoughtful and creative environment for the relationship to thrive.  Her hand’s on operational experience lends a valuable hand in the development of technological resources and enhancements to support customer needs.  

Luca Jordan

Marketing Associate


Juggling sales and marketing responsibilities, Luca drives digital, design, content and core marketing strategies at FinTech startup PromonTech – a FinTech company developing innovative technology to transform the residential lending journey – and its sister and parent companies, Promontory Fulfillment Services and Promontory MortgagePath.  She works shifting traditional financial-services mindsets to pioneer the digital- and inbound marketing strategies building a distinct, recognizable and reliable brand. Luca also brings a keen understanding and appreciation for helping clients meet the expectations of a rapidly-changing customer base.

Luca drove the marketing strategy around PromonTech’s initial product Borrower Wallet™ – a digital point-of-sale for residential lending.  Since then, recent projects and focus areas include a brand architecture overhaul, rebranding and relaunch across all corporate websites, integrated product launches, content implementation and distribution and rebranded sales collateral portfolios – all highlighting the transformative, data-rich tech platforms PromonTech is building to redefine the lending experience and helping the company communicate its vision for a faster, simpler, more-inclusive mortgage process.

Elizabeth Karwowski


Get Credit Healthy, Inc. 

As a consultant in early stages of her career and having her own mortgage brokerage firm, she always knew that technology always played an important part in gaining efficiency and productivity. However, starting Get Credit Healthy and having vision and then embarking on the reality of creating a technology platform from scratch has been an eye opener for her.  

She has worked with the development team to build a platform that creates efficiency, productivity, and ease of use for consumers and lending institutions.  The platform is now used by thousands and helped lenders turn hundreds of millions from fall-out into funded loans.  

Elizabeth has been involved in endless drawings, strategy seasons, flow charts, etc. She says, “It’s great having a vision and a team that has the same drive to make things possible when people told me it’s impossible.  I have learned that building a technology platform has many layers.  Layers that many times you would not even think of.”

The project consisted of B2B communication & a B2B tool, B2C communication & a B2C tool, API, Interactive tools, system integrations, artificial intelligence, etc. Not only does it provide consumers with what is affecting their credit, but it also gives them direct and personalized guidance on steps they need to take to improve their credit & financial wealth.  The tool drills down to answer questions like: What’s affecting me (the consumer)? Why is it affecting me? What steps can I take to improve my situation? Elizabeth proves that technology, people and processes can improve the credit profile of consumers. 

Loretta Kirkwood

Vice President, Compliance


For more than three decades, Loretta Kirkwood has been one of the leading women helping lenders navigate the constantly changing fair lending and compliance landscape. She has vast experience in both the lending and regulatory worlds, which she has used to build new compliance processes, educate the industry on fair lending best practices and work with regulators to revise rules to benefit both consumers and the industry. Today, she is using that experience to help build a fair lending compliance automation platform to help lenders better analyze and understand fair lending risks associated with lending performance, while maintaining focus on profitability.

For most of the past year, Loretta has been leveraging her three decades of experience and leadership in fair lending and compliance to help QuestSoft build a new fair lending platform that will help lenders build a stronger, more accurate and compliant fair lending program. While working on this project, which recently launched, Loretta has also continued to remain an active leader in the mortgage industry advocating for more comprehensive fair lending tools and education for lenders. 

In addition, Loretta has presented several educational webinars on topics ranging from the impact of expanded HMDA data on fair lending to why CRA data and analysis is more important than ever.

Throughout her expansive career, Loretta has assisted numerous financial institutions with enforcement action remediation, regulatory investigations, exam management, assessments of fair and responsible lending programs, HMDA and CRA process optimization, CRA performance evaluation, and leveraging technology to ensure integrity in data capture and process management.

Shelley Leonard

Chief Product and Digital Officer

Black Knight, Inc.

With more than 25 years of fintech experience, Shelley Leonard’s skilled leadership and bold vision have helped Black Knight deliver innovation and drive excellence in the mortgage industry through the integration of financial technology, data and analytics across the loan process. One of her major career accomplishments was overseeing the strategic direction of LoanSphere®, Black Knight’s premier, end-to-end platform of integrated technology, data and analytics. Rather than isolating distinct areas of lending, this integration of operational functions and data across the mortgage and home equity loan life cycle – from origination to servicing and default. Integrating these functions and data helps lenders and servicers better enhance profitability, improve efficiency and reduce risk.

Shelley has also been instrumentally involved in the research, planning and strategic direction of numerous innovative mortgage technology solutions. These offerings reflect her dedication, influence and leadership to work collaboratively with clients on transforming the mortgage industry – for the benefit of providers of all sizes, as well as consumers. Some of the most noteworthy solutions Shelley has contributed to include:

Integration of Home Equity Servicing with a First Mortgage Servicing Platform. The MSP® servicing system, used to service more first mortgages than any other servicing system, was enhanced to also service home equity loans and lines of credit. Managing all areas of servicing on a single, comprehensive platform offers servicers a strategic advantage by providing a clearer view of the opportunities and risks within each portfolio; improving operational performance; and better responding to frequent and complex regulatory changes and requirements.

As a result of Shelley’s efforts to create Black Knight’s Enterprise Product Strategy group from the ground up, the company now has a team responsible for setting long-term strategy, keeping employees informed about product direction; providing market research to our development and sales teams; and focusing on portfolio management, new market identification, strategic planning and corporate sustainability. 

To encourage the development of fintech’s next generation of employees, Shelley is actively involved in Black Knight’s Mentoring Program, and helped mentor employees before a formal mentorship program was established. She is also active in the MBA’s mPower group, which helps women in the real estate finance industry leverage their power and influence. To educate employees about the company’s product strategy roadmap or to help employees better understand new solutions that have been launched, Shelley hosts company-wide town halls and Black Knight University sessions. 

Suzy  Lindblom

Executive Vice President, National Operations

Planet Home Lending

Suzy Lindblom is a pioneering innovator who’s constructed and run operations platforms for some of the biggest brands in the industry.

In the past year alone, Lindblom redesigned Planet Home Lending’s operations platform to support the company’s expansion into distributed retail. The platform now incorporates Blend’s point-of-sale app and Fannie Mae’s Collateral Underwriter. By the end of the year, Lindblom will add DocuTech Solex eClosing. 

Lindblom’s technology upgrades helped cut turn times and loan fulfilment costs by 50%, even as Planet Home Lending’s retail origination volume quadrupled and new product introductions expanded to 11 programs a month. 

She has been a champion for technology innovations and instrumental in bringing new ideas to market, including piloting Fannie Mae’s Ask Poll.

Lauren Matheson

Product Owner


Lauren Matheson was one of the first employees at PromonTech – a FinTech company developing innovative technology to transform the residential lending journey. In the company’s infancy, Lauren played a leadership role in defining development operations, driving the overall agile software development approach. Over the past four years, Lauren has grown with the company, adopting a variety of critical roles significantly influencing product development and strategy. She has helped the company work toward achieving its vision for a faster, simpler, more-inclusive mortgage process driven by intuitive, data-rich, compliant technology. 

Lauren led the development of PromonTech’s initial product Borrower Wallet™ – a digital point-of-sale for residential lending – driving the product roadmap and overseeing the entire product lifecycle, from conception to production. She works closely with UX, engineering, industry experts, and clients to identify the mortgage industry’s most significant pain points, determine the best development approach, and deliver software solutions to solve for them. Lauren collaborates with PromonTech’s sister company, Promontory Fulfillment Services, to gain key insights from their seasoned mortgage experts leveraging Borrower Wallet and uses this information to inform ongoing product development. 

Another important component of Lauren’s FinTech experience is her leadership in guiding PromonTech’s feature prioritization. It’s exciting to think about the immense potential technology has to streamline processes, increase efficiencies, and even result in substantial cost savings. But it’s crucial to carefully construct a roadmap prioritizing product and feature development. Lauren identifies a key distinction in her approach to product development for the financial services industry: never approach an issue with a “quick fix” – address the underlying problematic process causing the issue with truly transformational technology. Today, Lauren continues to run ongoing development for Borrower Wallet as well as initiating and managing the development of PromonTech’s next product offerings.

Sara Nakae

Director of Marketing


Sara has over 15 years of experience in FinTech serving the financial services sector in realtor and agency marketing for banks and credit unions, and extensive experience in the mortgage industry working with banks, credit unions and mortgage companies to deliver award winning technology solutions and services. She has been a keynote presenter at leading industry events and conferences discussing FinTech and its impact on lenders businesses.  Sara has deep industry knowledge in the financial digital space.

Most recently she has worked on the development and launch of new Equity IQ Solution. EquityIQ is the first and only home equity lead generation tool and application management system fully integrated with industry leading LOS’s. The solution drives existing and new borrowers to lenders customized application pages; automatically identifies borrowers available home equity and estimated monthly payments; reduces internal resources by decreasing the time to review and filter qualified applicants; and is a lead generation tool, as EquityIQ™ will instantly submit all borrower information directly into leading LOS platforms.

Sara also worked on the development and launch of FirstClose ONE. What puts FirstClose ONE in a class of its own is the combination of world-class technology with their ability to mimic a lender’s underwriting guidelines to apply suitability logic, which takes the guesswork out, accelerating turn-times, and saving lenders time and money. By consolidating vendors and products on one platform, FirstClose ONE makes it easy to identify and repair the gaps where lender profits can be maximized. FirstClose ONE evaluates where vendors are underperforming and provides instant options that are a better fit. This allows lenders to speed up turn-times, reduce origination costs, and increase overall productivity. With the flexibility of the FirstClose ONE platform, coupled with the FirstClose Master Service Agreement, lenders can easily swap providers with a click of a button— no new vendor contract negotiations, no vetting, no minimums, and no hassles

Elaine M. Orsini

Underwriting Manager

Promontory Fulfillment Services LLC

Elaine manages processing and underwriting at Promontory Fulfillment Services LLC (PFS) – a company delivering technology-driven mortgage fulfillment services. PFS leverages innovative FinTech built by its sister company, PromonTech. Elaine collaborates closely with PromonTech’s product team to inform development. She helps identify pain points and time-consuming, tedious workflows in her team’s origination process and works with the PromonTech team to determine the best approach to engineering solutions. Elaine also provides input about PromonTech products currently being used in PFS’ origination process to guide enhancements and feature development.

Elaine has been managing mortgage operations throughout the entire loan journey – processing, underwriting, closing, and post-closing – for over 30 years. She has worked with a variety of FinTech solutions throughout her career. Elaine has extensive experience working in the loan origination systems, Encompass and Byte. During her time managing the second highest ranked Site out of six retail sites in the country in productivity and Customer Service at Wachovia Mortgage (NKA Wells Fargo), Elaine provided design and development input for their proprietary FinTech solution – Impact. She led her team in their transition from a DOS-based system to the new web-based system. Elaine managed the implementation of the new system, working closely with the product team and her own team – the end users – to ensure a seamless implementation and share constructive feedback for ongoing development.

Leora Ruzin

VP of Secondary Marketing

Guaranteed Rate, Inc.

In Leora’s 12 years in the mortgage industry, she has worked for companies that span every business channel. From IMB’s to a CUSO, a nationwide bank, and now with Guaranteed Rate, Leora has the unique experience of understanding how each channel has an important role in housing finance. While her pre-mortgage experience was in accounting and human resources, she gravitated towards the operations side of the house over the course of her career, finally landing in Secondary and Capital Markets. Throughout Leora’s career, however, she has always actively participated in the technical aspects of the mortgage manufacturing process.

Some of the projects she has worked on include helping develop a stand-alone LOS; successfully complete several LOS installations, integrations and conversions; convert companies to a centralized lock desk, including the integration of automated pricing engines; transition from a best efforts to mandatory delivery; and transition a company from papered documents to a fully automated paperless mortgage origination process (to include the implementation of eSign and eClosing processes).

Judy Ryan

Vice President of Corporate Sales

Credit Plus, Inc.

Judy previously worked for another third-party verifications provider where she developed customized risk mitigation tools and applied analytics to directly address specific client needs. She designed these robust solutions to be inherently easy to use wherein clients could order multiple verifications on a single platform – something that had not been available to lenders up to that point.

When Judy joined Credit Plus in October 2013, she was charged with developing the firm’s new, comprehensive fraud tool, FraudPlus. Judy has also led the company’s efforts to analyze fraud schemes and develop new features to ensure Credit Plus is offering the most up-to-date data solutions available. Judy works directly with Credit Plus’ clients to address the challenges that they face daily within their workflow. She remains a constant partner in preparing automated tools to help clients alleviate manual labor/pain points. Judy developed and implemented two new data solutions in 2018 that assist our clients in identifying previous foreclosures and to enhance their knowledge of an applicant’s property transaction behavior. By staying abreast of industry challenges and applying changes within our fraud tools, Judy has helped our clients keep repurchase demands at bay.

Judy continues to work on FraudPlus daily with the client base to make it the most robust product in the industry. 

Lisa Schreiber

Senior Vice President, Correspondent Lending


Lisa is a true visionary. At NewRez Lisa facilitated the LoanScorecard external implementation, as well as launching Investor Connect and LoanNex as vendors to allow quick and easy access to NewRez, supporting an aggressive growth strategy.  At Sprout Mortgage Lisa was responsible for building a Non-QM origination platform leveraging many of the top tech vendors from LOS through loan sales. At Ellie Mae Lisa joined Ellie Mae to implement their national Total Quality Loan initiative. She successfully grew the sales and implementation team, resulting in usage with the majority of current Encompass clients. At NetMore America Lisa developed an internal intranet for wholesale/net branching as well as Ellie Mae’s first TPO portal (alongside Ellie developers as a beta).  At American Home, American Brokers Conduit Lisa led the development of the wholesale lending channel. At Bank of America, Wholesale Reinvention Lisa worked with consultants to develop new strategies for wholesale lending, including work with Lending Tree to develop new technologies.

Pamela Stahl

Director, Product Management


Pamela began her career in the mortgage industry directly out of college in 2005 working for a regional bank where she gained hands on experience for what customers were desiring from the mortgage process. Over the next few years, she developed her skills and transitioned to a software company, MortgagebotLOS, that catered to retail banks and lenders. There she transitioned into Product Management and was mentored by the President and CEO. Eventually the company was acquired by Finastra where Pamela transitioned into VirPack in 2016. At VirPack, Pamela has been able to apply the lessons learned firsthand in loan origination and loan underwriting to the product development of VirPack. Moving from a software that had to abide by strict, cumbersome, and constantly evolving regulatory changes, Pamela enjoys the opportunity VirPack provides to be more innovative. In her previous experience, the companies under whom she served struggled to meet the compliance requirements, serve the needs of existing customers while also ideating new products. At VirPack, she can create more impactful product differentiators.

Pamela believes that the FinTech industry will be pivotal in changing legacy processes into data-driven transactions. Originally an industry mired in paper, dependent on physical wet ink authentication, this industry stands to change the way consumers share and validate their data.

She also believes that with FinTech, you should reshape financial services based on the desires of the customer. We must adjust how we present information and usability to meet their needs and their preferences. As we face a larger demographic of digital natives who soon will be buying homes and taking loans, it’s important, from her perspective, to offer a satisfying and simple exchange.

Lakshmi Stockham

Technology Executive, Retail Product and Customer Acquisition

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank

Lakshmi Stockham is a seasoned executive responsible for technology strategy and delivery for the Retail Consumer Bank at TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank® — one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., serving more than 9 million customers through a network of about 1,250 retail stores throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas, and Florida. 

As the “Unexpectedly Human” bank, TD Bank prioritizes modern convenience and customer centricity. As consumer expectations and preferences evolve, Lakshmi is at the forefront of enabling legendary customer experiences through the introduction of transformative capabilities. She spearheaded two lending-specific FinTech partnerships enabling TD Bank to respond quickly to changing customer expectations. 

Through a partnership with Roostify, Lakshmi launched a new digital mortgage experience for TD Bank, providing customers with an accelerated, low-stress path to home ownership. Consumers can: a) explore which loan products they qualify for from a highly intuitive experience; and b) apply for their chosen loan in minutes through a streamlined all-digital process that navigates the process through closing.

Rebecca B. Walzak


rjbWalzak Consulting, Inc

Rebecca has been involved with technology since the 1980s.  First as a user. Then in the 1980s, she served as a User Business Analyst for Prudential Home Mortgage in the development of leading-edge technology in the residential loan application process.  Beginning in the 1990s Rebecca worked for EBS/ARMCO, a FinTech company and helped develop new programs using Business Intelligence technology.  During these periods she focused heavily on how technology would/could reshape the processes that used the available technology.  Since founding her own company she has been involved with assisting companies in redesigning specific issues related to Operational Risk Management.  She also developed a risk model that correlates the defects found in loan file reviews with the probability of performance.  In addition,  Rebecca has taught Quality Control staff on the use of QC technology and helped them develop an understanding of statistical analysis to achieve more useful results from sampling programs.  She has written numerous articles and given speeches and presentation on the need for lenders to align their operational processes with their technology.

She believes that with the current advancement of artificial intelligence, it is apparent that this powerful tool can be utilized to redesign the way business is done today.  These programs will have a profound impact on all facets of loan production and servicing.  All operational processes will change to become more focused on the technology aspect of the process.  Job functions will change.  The development of credit parameters will move from a back-end function to a servicing operation. Secondary marketing will have the ability to customize pricing for all risks in the loan which will have an impact on government agencies that serve this function today.  Customer service for both production and servicing will become dependent on “bots” thereby relieving personnel to focus on critical operational issues.

Sarah White

SVP Marketing

Class Valuation

Sarah White serves as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Class Valuation, a leading provider of real estate asset valuation and appraisal management solutions. In this role, Sarah oversees all marketing efforts, strengthening brand identity through thought leadership, industry participation, and guerrilla marketing efforts. She began her mortgage technology and services career in 2008 at Mortgage Cadence. There, she spent nearly a decade leveraging evolving marketing tactics to take the company from a Denver-based startup to an industry-leading loan origination technology provider through both organic and inorganic growth. She has been recognized by industry publications for her efforts and has won Midas and MarCom awards for her brand work. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Colorado.

She believes that the mortgage marketplace is constantly evolving. Just a few short years ago, “digital mortgage” had the industry abuzz. While FinTech is critical to expedite processes and ensure accuracy, a personalized approach is also important to success. It’s all about balance. Here at Class, she says, “We are committed to going the extra mile to serve our customers with personalized experiences while also becoming a platform-based service company for increased speed, accuracy, and control over our technology. 

“We’ve also seen an increasing number of acquisitions occur in the FinTech arena. This is not a bad thing. It means companies with valuable tools are now joining forces to grow bigger and better together,” Sarah concluded. “This ultimately benefits the lending community and the borrowers we serve. At Class, we are doing the same – acquiring industry leaders we see synergies with. Given the constant evolution of technology and ever-changing FinTech landscape, embracing the journey is critical. Those who can adapt and think outside the box will thrive in the years to come.”


Ginger Wilcox

Senior Vice President, Marketing


Ginger Wilcox is a startup veteran and recognized leader in the real estate, mortgage and FinTech industries. She’s plowed fresh ground with disruptive companies and new business models and is known for solving tough business problems with her innovative approach to marketing, strategic partnerships, and growth.

Ginger is currently Senior Vice President of Marketing at Capsilon, a leading provider of software for the mortgage industry. More than 160 of the mortgage industry’s most innovative companies use Capsilon’s enterprise SaaS solutions to transform their mortgage operations with artificial intelligence and data, including three of the ten largest U.S. residential mortgage companies.

At Capsilon, Ginger has been instrumental in helping launch innovative technology solutions that solve the biggest pain points for mortgage lenders, investors, and servicers. Since joining Capsilon in 2018, Ginger has launched two innovative solutions that have caught the industry’s attention: Capsilon IQ, the digital mortgage platform that captures, perfects and normalizes mortgage data from any source; and Capsilon Digital Underwriter, the industry’s first comprehensive suite of fully integrated cloud-based digital mortgage applications focused on automating the underwriting process.Prior to Capsilon, Ginger was part of the team that launched Sindeo, a consumer direct mortgage startup that raised $30 million-plus to reinvent the home loan experience. Before Sindeo, Ginger was an early employee at Trulia where she built and led the Industry Marketing & Relations Group. As a result of its dominance in the real estate industry, Trulia raised more than $35M, had a successful IPO (TRLA) in 2012, and was acquired by Zillow for $3.5B in 2014. 

Sue Woodard

Chief Customer Officer

Total Expert

Sue Woodard boasts nearly 30 years of financial services and mortgage industry experience and has been a strong advocate for driving the use of technology to improve the mortgage lending experience. 

In her position as Chief Customer Officer at Total Expert, a Marketing Operating System built for the mortgage and financial services industries, her focus is on helping customers achieve greater productivity and long-term success with the help of technology and innovative solutions. Total Expert has seen its customer base increase significantly during Woodard’s short tenure with the company. 

Woodard started her career at the ground level, became a top producer, then leveraged her knowledge to become a highly acclaimed industry speaker, subject matter expert and technology executive. And over the course of her career, she’s shattered the glass ceiling for hundreds if not thousands of people to achieve more with smart lending strategy. Her background spans C-suite leadership, training, public speaking and building expertise in originations and mortgage technology. Prior to Total Expert, she served as president and CEO of Vantage Production, VP and national sales trainer at CTX Mortgage and TCF Bank, and has taken home the top originator title in many of her previous lending roles (TCF Bank, CTX Mortgage, Hometown Mortgage and Countrywide Home Loans).

Jeri Yoshida


NEXT Mortgage Events

Jeri has created communications programs and provided the full range of marketing and PR service to dozens of mortgage fintech companies, ranging from large organizations such as Ellie Mae and Altisource, to smaller organizations and startups such as Valligent Technologies, ARMCO and Appraisal Firewall.

In 2018, Jeri co-created NEXT, the only technology-focused conference for executive mortgage women. After three events, NEXT is recognized as a can’t-miss summit for lending executives, covering a wide range of technology topics with leading experts on everything from blockchain to servicing to national housing policy. NEXT was chosen as a winner of PROGRESS in Lending’s 2018 Innovations Award and has achieved widespread industry recognition as an influential event for executives in mortgage lending and technology.

Katya Zevallos

Executive Director

Starting Now Corp.

Katya has developed a process through using advanced technology with proven workflows that allows non-profit credit coaches to focus on the “coaching” aspect of working with their clients versus the tedious paperwork.

She works directly with a development team to design and implement the process of updating consumers credit profile with the credit reporting agencies and creditors through one technology platform.

Katya worked for Get Credit Healthy for over 9 years in assisting with the development of the technology for the credit coach process.  As a credit coach herself (FICO & FCRA certified), she understands the importance of  “hands on coaching” with the consumer.  This involves more time speaking to the consumer and less time on tedious repetitive tasks through the use of technology.  Knowing what the ultimate goal of what it meant to be a great credit coach, Katya helped facilitate the workflow process to the technical team to help implement a very robust program for all future nonprofit credit coaches.   

She helped thousands of clients herself and understands the importance of having technology track activities on each consumer file (transparency) and being able to use advanced technology to follow up with and help improve consumer credit profiles one individual at a time.

Honoring Sales, Marketing & PR Trailblazers

Sales, marketing and public relations executives are blazing a trail that is determining the biggest winners in financial services. On the sales side, research from the University of Pennsylvania shows that more than 50% of buyers still seek advice when making a purchase. As a result, educated and engaged sales associates who can meet buyers’ needs—especially who have knowledge about a specific product—ring up sales that on average bring in 69% more money. Similarly on the marketing side, a savvy business owner realizes that in order to grow, they need to make more people aware of their product or service. This means engaging with a marketing professional to help promote the business, bring in new clientele, and ensure that current customers are aware of all the products and services. Lastly, everyone wants to become the go-to organization in your field, right? For that to happen, you need to build your credibility and bring your expertise and knowledge into the limelight. That’s exactly what public relations executives bring to the table.

These executives work tirelessly to ensure their company/client is a true leader, but they themselves don’t always get recognized. That ends today. PROGRESS in Lending is recognizing the sales, marketing and public relations executives that are making the biggest impact.  Our winners will be true industry trailblazers and represent the best and brightest companies active today. So, apply now to be recognized.


Fill out the information below on behalf of yourself or the person you are nominating for this honor. Note: If you are entering yourself for this honor you will have to enter some information twice. Please make sure that all fields are completed.

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Describe how the applicant has added value to their company/client and had an impact on the industry in their capacity as a sales, marketing or public relations trailblazer over the past 12 months.

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After you have completed Step One by 1.) filling in every field and 2.) hitting the Send Button move on to Step Two in order to make payment.


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Once you have 1.) filled in every field in Step One, 2.) hit the Send Button in Step One and 3.) made payment in Step Two your application is completed. All three tasks must be completed in order for us to consider your application. Further, all applications must be received on or before Friday, August 23. Winners will be announced in the September Edition of our magazine. 

And The 2019 Winners Are …

Prominent mortgage executives gathered to see who the Executive Team of PROGRESS in Lending named the top industry innovations of the past year at the Ninth Annual Innovations Awards Event. This honor is the Gold Seal when it comes to recognizing true industry innovation. All applications were scored on a weighted scale. We looked for the innovation’s overall industry significance, the originality of the innovation, the positive change the innovation made possible, the intangible efficiencies gained as a result of the innovation, and the hard cost and time savings that the innovation enables industry participants to achieve. The top innovations winners are:

PROGRESS in Lending has named Capsilon a top industry innovation. Capsilon’s automation software solves one of the biggest issues plaguing the mortgage industry, by ensuring clean data for better, faster decisions that drive operational efficiency. Launched in 2018, Capsilon’s Data Audit is the fastest way to automate the expensive, time-consuming process that all lenders have to ensure they make loan decisions using the correct data. With Data Audit, companies have a single place to see and compare data across sources, including the LOS and supporting documents. The app flags data mismatches for review so staff can instantly spot where supporting documents and data don’t match.

PROGRESS in Lending has named FirstClose a top industry innovation. In 2018 FirstClose delivered an innovative Property & Borrower Data Intelligence Platform. This platform is the first of its kind in the industry, delivering crucial information like loan flood certification, valuation, property photos, deeds, liens, judgments, transaction history, subject property data and tax formation on one platform. Using a single platform that hosts everything lenders need including simplified vendor management in order to fulfill that loan in one place increases efficiency, leading to faster turn times and lower production costs for lenders in 2018.

PROGRESS in lending has named Floify a top industry innovation. Floify is a digital mortgage point-of-sale solution that streamlines the loan process by providing a secure communications and document management portal between lenders, borrowers, Realtors, referral partners and other loan stakeholders. Mortgage professionals use Floify to collect and verify borrower documentation, track loan progress, communicate with borrowers and real estate agents, and close loans faster and easier than ever. Floify was developed from the ground up to solve numerous inefficiencies and security concerns common with traditional mortgage processing. The platform was designed to employ the most secure methods of document collection, verification and cloud-based technology available.

PROGRESS in Lending has named Get Credit Healthy a top industry innovation. The pervasiveness and severity of credit issues is evident from the sheer number of Americans who lack the necessary credit scores and profiles to qualify for most conventional loans and financial products. The problem is a double-edged sword in that it affects both, consumers and lenders, alike. The innovative process developed by Get Credit Healthy simultaneously remedies both of these issues. Get Credit Healthy provides consumers with the tools and resources they need to eliminate debt, compliantly build credit, and instill behavioral changes that lead to sound financial decision making. 

PROGRESS in Lending has named NAMB All-In a top industry innovation. NAMB All-In is a new platform from the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) powered by Calyx Software. It provides mortgage professionals with the three essential components they need to conduct business: a point-of-sale solution (POS), a cloud-based loan origination system (LOS), and a single point of access to premier wholesale lenders: Calyx Wholesaler MarketPlace. The POS allows borrowers to initiate a loan application and begin the asset verification process. The LOS helps mortgage brokers manage all incoming online applications, exchange and store documents, and provides simultaneous support for both the current and upcoming Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA). Calyx Wholesaler MarketPlace enables mortgage brokers to connect with industry-leading wholesale lenders in a single portal and seamlessly exchange data. 

PROGRESS in Lending has named NEXT a top industry innovation. NEXT is the mortgage industry’s only technology-centric summit for women executives. A boutique bi-annual summit, NEXT’s inaugural event took place in January 2018 and attracted nearly 200 women mortgage lending executives. NEXT does not have any institutional backing. The event and its parent, NEXT Mortgage Events, are underwritten entirely by its co-founders Jeri Yoshida and Molly Dowdy. NEXT’s missions are to provide high quality, gender-neutral business intel, help attendees cultivate meaningful and productive relationships with other high ranking accomplished women executives, and to increase visibility and highlight the accomplishments of women mortgage executives, both as individuals and on a collective basis. 

PROGRESS in Lending has named Optimal Blue a top industry innovation. Optimal Blue is the first industry vendor to develop and support an extensive library of RESTful APIs aimed at bringing the mortgage technology vendor community together. Used today by close to 50 mortgage technology vendors generating millions of transactions annually, Optimal Blue’s Optimal Connections API Platform enables any participating technology vendor partner to embed the full power of the Optimal Blue systems into their own user experiences. By embedding Optimal Blue’s Scenario Pricing, Loan & Pipeline, Lock Management, Change Request, Historical Pricing, Post-Lock Management, Configuration, Hedge Analytics, Digital Trading Platform, and/or Investor Due Diligence APIs, any third-party technology platform can creatively leverage and seamlessly integrate the sophisticated functionalities of the most comprehensive and most widely-used secondary marketing automation platform in the mortgage industry.

PROGRESS in Lending has named Sagent Lending Technologies a top industry innovation. The company’s LoanServ Account Connect is the premier borrower self-service web portal for the loan servicing market. Borrowers can use it across all devices – mobile, tablet, desktop – with the same functionality to manage their loans for more than just payments, but true self-service. Servicers use it to drive a lower cost to service and to power an effective brand channel. Account Connect has an intuitive user interface, designed for easy borrower interactions, while its secure, configurable backend is designed to help servicers grow at scale and incorporate new devices and data sources as needed. For servicers, LoanServ Account Connect lowers cost to service and drives better borrower retention and satisfaction and provides all the servicer self-service tools to enhance brand value.

PROGRESS in Lending has named SimpleNexus a top industry innovation. Lenders in 2018 faced significant challenges within the mortgage industry. In 2017, The JD Powers U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study stated that the mortgage industry’s promise of technology creating a faster and easier mortgage origination process does not appear to be fully recognized, as mortgage customers are reporting slower purchase processes which found that overall satisfaction with mortgage originators declined in 2017, due in part to a perception of a slower process, despite a significant increase in the number of customers applying online. To specifically address these challenging market conditions and to enhance the overall borrower satisfaction of its clients SimpleNexus delivered its innovative mobile app to lenders in 2018.

A One-Of-A-Kind Event

If you sell products or services to the lending community this is one event you cannot afford to miss.  Our Expert Roundtable to be hosted at our Ninth Annual ENGAGE Event will deliver key insights into:

>> The Future of the Borrower Experience

>> The Future of Digital Lending

>> The Future of the Mortgage Process

>> And So Much More …

SIMPLY PUT: Gain strategic insights that quite frankly you can’t get anywhere else. If you are serious about improving your sales results, networking with industry leaders and truly understanding the state of the mortgage industry then this one-of-a-kind event is one you can’t afford to miss.

Don’t miss out. This event will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Austin Downtown, located at 78 East Avenue Austin, TX 78701 on Sunday, October 27. In addition, the first ever Lending Luminary Award Winners will be announced. So, while you are attending the MBA Annual Conference, this is the time to engage, be enlightened and excel with PROGRESS in Lending Association as we look to the future of mortgage lending. Admission to the event is free.


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