MBA Education Path to Diversity Scholar Profile: Sharon Wortman
(One of a continuing series of profiles of participants in the MBA Education Path to Diversity (P2D) Scholarship Program, which enables employees from diverse backgrounds to advance their professional growth and career development.)
MBA NEWSLINK: Tell us about yourself.
SHARON WORTMAN: I’m a Third-Party Inspector and Owner of Coral Sea Property Services LLC in Haines City, Fla. Born and bred in Australia, I moved to the USA in 1999, landing in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pa. Before long I stumbled into residential delinquency inspections and property preservation, which gave me my first taste of the mortgage industry. In addition to inspections and property preservation, I was also involved in claim processing as an insurance adjustor in Louisiana after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
After registering as an inspector with SOFI (Society of Field Inspectors) late 1999, I was contacted by Kevin Clarke of Pacific Field Service, who gave me my start in the commercial sector, providing the necessary training and support to perform commercial mortgage inspections. This was a turning point in my career as it enabled me to grow my inspection business, which has now been operating for 20+ years, first in Pennsylvania for five years and now in Florida for 16 years, with no intention of slowing down.
My business has always been a family affair. In Pennsylvania one of my sons worked with me on weekends doing preservations work; another son and daughter have helped in the office. For the past 10 years my husband worked the field while I was primarily in the office. Now my husband is working towards his General Contractor’s license so we can incorporate property repair and maintenance into our range of services, I can get back out into the field with renewed enthusiasm from my recent training.
NEWSLINK: How did you learn about the MBA Path to Diversity Program?
WORTMAN: Every time MBA scheduled training for the School of Multifamily Property Inspections, several of my clients would notify me of the dates, should I be interested, but I never seemed to have the finances or time coinciding with the training dates. After reviewing some of the dates for 2020 I came across the Path to Diversity Scholarship page on the MBA website. Surprisingly I found that I did actually fit into the qualification criteria and thought it would be about the only way I could attend the class this year, since I was still going to have to travel out of state for it and business had been slow.
NEWSLINK: What inspired you to become more involved? Did a co-worker/supervisor/mentor encourage your participation?
WORTMAN: I spoke with one of my Vendor Managers regarding the program and they said they had referred several of their third-party inspectors to the program and encouraged me to apply, saying they thought I would find it easy with my past experience and they would love to have me certified to perform Fannie Mae inspections for them.
NEWSLINK: Did you find the application process to be user-friendly?
WORTMAN: I found the process to be very simple and acceptance was provided quickly. Information regarding the classes, times and format was clearly relayed and staff were available to answer all questions in timely and professional manner.
NEWSLINK: How has the Path to Diversity scholarship benefited you, personally and professionally?
WORTMAN: Personally, I have found that you are never too old to learn something new, especially if you have a passion for it. Professionally, it has opened opportunities to perform a broader range of inspections and improved the quality of my reporting as I strive to be the best inspector in my area of coverage.
NEWSLINK: What have you been able to bring back to your company as a result of the Path to Diversity program?
WORTMAN: After having completed the class, I feel more confident in my position as a Third-Party Inspector. Armed with the deeper understanding of the whole commercial mortgage process, what things are important to focus on, how to identify potential problems and why certain things need to be reported, I feel I can give my clients the information they need to successfully service their portfolio.
NEWSLINK: What would you say to someone considering applying for a Path to Diversity scholarship?
WORTMAN: Go for it!! Don’t think you can’t do it. It is an awesome opportunity and was a wonderful experience that can only enhance and improve your career as you learn important information, network with others in the industry and gain a renewed and refreshing look at where you want to take your career.
About the MBA Path to Diversity Scholarship Program
The Path to Diversity Scholarship Program recognizes existing industry professionals who are seeking to advance their careers through continuing education. Recipients receive a voucher to cover course registration fees, up to a maximum of $2,000, for popular MBA Education courses and designation programs. This education opportunity enables employees from diverse backgrounds to advance their professional growth and career development.
MBA recognizes that a strong, responsible and sustainable real estate finance industry requires a workforce that is reflective of our society at large. For more information about the Path to Diversity Scholarship Program, click https://www.mba.org/conferences-and-education/mba-education/path-to-diversity.