MBA Diversity & Inclusion Interview: LaShandra Sartor of Quicken Loans

(One in a recurring monthly series featuring efforts of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, part of MBA’s commitment to increase racial, gender, sexual orientation and ethnic diversity within the mortgage banking industry.)

LaShandra Sartor is Divisional Vice President of Business Consulting and leader of the Diversity and Inclusion team with Quicken Loans, Detroit. A Michigan native, she has more than 15 years of mortgage experience and has worked with Quicken Loans for the past 11 years. During her time with the organization, she has worked in Operations, Training and Development. As head of the company’s Diversity and Inclusion All-In Team, she runs an internal team focused on creating training and awareness around diversity, inclusion and its importance as it relates to company culture.

MBA NEWSLINK. When your boss, [current MBA Chairman] Bill Emerson spoke at the MBA Annual Convention last year, he hammered home the idea that diversity and inclusion has to happen now. How important is it for you to hear that from someone at the top of the company hierarchy?

LASHANDRA SARTOR, QUICKEN LOANS: It’s extremely important, but not surprising because Bill is a very hands on leader in our D&I initiatives. To have a successful D&I program, there has to be genuine support from a senior leadership level, and Bill gets it. It’s not just the right thing to do; there is also a business case for it to have a more diverse workplace. So it’s not surprising that Bill is very supportive.

NEWSLINK: Why is diversity and inclusion important?

SARTOR: Diverse perspectives not only enhance company culture, but it also drives innovation and creativity. Diversity and inclusion widens the lens we use to make decisions and opens our minds to different possibilities. In addition, the more team members feel their ideas matter, the more engaged they become in proactively sharing those ideas.

An inclusive environment is empowering for all team members because it creates a genuine feeling that every individual has a voice and idea that matters. When team members feel empowered, they are more fulfilled.

There is also a business case for focusing on diversity and inclusion. Particularly in the mortgage industry, understanding the changing demographics in our country presents us with an opportunity to enhance our process to cater to a wide range of clients.

NEWSLINK: If diversity is “a measure of difference” and inclusion is “the extent to which diverse groups have a seat at the table and are fully able to bring their best contributions,” how would you describe the culture at your company?

SARTOR: At Quicken Loans, our focus is to create an environment where our team members know their voices are heard and they see first-hand how they can impact the outcome.

Our culture is driven by our “ISMs,” which are the guiding principles we use to make the right decisions for our clients, team members and our community. One such ISM that encourages inclusion is, “It’s not about WHO is right; it’s about WHAT is right.” It doesn’t matter who the team member is, where they come from, their title or background–their opinion and suggestions matter.

NEWSLINK: What programs does your company have today around this topic?

SARTOR: Quicken Loans’ culture of inclusion is driven by our Diversity & Inclusion team–a group of senior leaders and team members who focus on mentorship for aspiring and existing leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds, while also educating on the importance of diversity in the workplace.

A few examples of our diversity and inclusion initiatives include our Veteran Hiring Program and building relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We also incorporate diversity and inclusion information in our “New Hire” experience and are in the process of creating a course as a part of our Leadership Development Training.

NEWSLINK: What challenges do you see in developing a culture of inclusion?

SARTOR: A successful diversity and inclusion program is not about meeting quotas. For example, just because we increase the amount of women in leadership does not mean we’ve successfully created an inclusive environment. People often focus on the numbers, not the environment that is driving the numbers. Numbers can be indicators, but they should not be drivers when it comes to measuring the success of a diversity and inclusion initiative. It is important to focus on creating a more enriched environment and the success and numbers will follow.

NEWSLINK: How does the industry take diversity and inclusion programs to the next level?

SARTOR: Buy-in and engagement from senior leadership is key to implementing an effective diversity and inclusion initiative. There must be an intentional focus because it doesn’t just happen by chance–it is crucial to make sure there is an initiative owner focused on driving it forward.

Use tools such as team member engagement surveys to proactively obtain feedback from team members and leaders about their perception of their work environment. This will give insight into potential areas of opportunity and help keep a pulse on the sentiment and morale of your team members and leaders.

Engage team members in the process and solicit their ideas. At Quicken Loans, our Diversity and Inclusion team is comprised of both leaders and team members from within the organization that collaborate on a regular basis. The goal is to identify and implement strategies that allow us to enhance our culture and spread awareness about diversity and inclusion.

Be sure to connect with other organizations that have diversity and inclusion initiatives to learn best practices. Building these relationships will give insight into third-party resources to leverage and common pitfalls to avoid.

Creating a successful diversity and inclusion initiative is a journey and it takes time. Don’t become discouraged if it doesn’t happen quickly. Embrace the journey and stay the course – it’s worth it!


The MBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed in 2013 to provide leadership and guidance to help the real estate finance industry gain a competitive advantage by increasing diversity in leadership, workforce and suppliers.

MBA encourages its members to support these efforts and to recognize the competitive advantages of embracing a diverse and inclusive workforce and marketplace. For more information about the MBA Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, click