mPower: Driving New Forms of Leadership

CHICAGO–For future leadership in the real estate finance industry, says author Tracey Wilen, look to women and younger professionals.

“Research shows women outperform men on most executive competencies,” Wilen, author of Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders, said here at the recent Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Technology in Mortgage Banking Conference & Expo. “Managers of both genders rate women higher than men on a wide range of leadership skills, including communication, collaboration and problem-solving.”

mPowerAnd younger generations, Wilen said, offer “new ideas and technologies that have value for organizational management. They do not want to wait to be leaders. They aren’t going to wait until they are in their 40s; they want to be leaders now.”

Business today is about people, Wilen said. “Leadership today is about relationships; it’s about teams; it’s about trust; it’s about nurturing the collective benefits of the people around you. And these are things that women excel at.”

This is critical in business applications, such as negotiations. Wilen said women do better at negotiating in business situations, “because they don’t negotiate for themselves; they negotiate for the big picture.”

Wilen said women should not treat performance reviews as a negotiation. “Performance is a celebration; it’s a dialog,” she said. “Track your metrics and let people know what your goals are and ask for their feedback and insight.”

Additionally, Wilen said all employees should know their worth. “How are you going to sit down and have a dialogue if you don’t know whether you’re underpaid, or overpaid?” she said. “You also need to understand the company’s culture for promotion-what are their criteria? What do they value? And look for the opportunities within these criteria.”

mPower, established by MBA in 2015, now boasts nearly 1,000 members. It sponsors a half-dozen events each year at major MBA conferences, including the MBA Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference, the MBA CREF/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo; the MBA National Technology in Mortgage Banking Conference & Expo; the MBA National Secondary Market Conference & Expo; and the MBA Commercial/Multifamily Servicing and Technology Conference. Additionally, at the MBA 2017 Annual Convention & Expo, mPower will host an all-day event on Saturday, Oct. 21.

“Today, women make up 45 percent of the workforce, and 40 percent of women are the primary income for their family,” said Susan Chenoweth, senior vice president of marketing with Ellie Mae, Pleasanton, Calif., which sponsored the event. “But they make 22 percent of what men with similar skills make. What a drag. We must tap our own strengths as women, and we must also support and encourage one another to bring out the best in all of us.”

“Women are under-represented in every aspect of business,” said MBA Chief Operating Officer Marcia Davies, who founded mPower. “The industry should recognize women as both a target market and as leaders. As an industry, we need to instill a culture of diversity that will benefit the industry and consumers alike. Diversity and profitability can go hand in hand.”

The mPower platform links professionals in the real estate finance industry, but specifically targets the interests and issues of professional women. Currently it is open only to MBA members, but there are plans to open the platform to non-members in 2017. mPower offers communication about MBA events, resources and information, and also features an mPower members-only forum for discussions.

Any MBA member can join by signing up at