Meet Linda Davidson, the expert in FHA, USDA, VA, and conventional mortgages, who has helped hundreds of families achieve their dream of homeownership. As an Area/Branch Manager/Sr. Residential Mortgage Originator with Fairway Mortgage, Linda’s knowledge and experience have earned her a well-deserved reputation as a leader in the mortgage industry.
Linda’s commitment to excellence is evident in the proven systems she has created to provide an excellent customer experience for her clients. Her dedication to mentoring others has also resulted in increased production year after year for herself and the branch loan officers. Linda is excited to foster an environment of growth and help others achieve their full potential.
During the interview, Linda Davidson shared her unique leadership style and vision for the future of the mortgage sector.
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at your company. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
I started in the business in 1997. Mortgage rates were 7-8% at that time. I didn’t know if the rates were high or low, but I did know that I was starting a 100% commission job with no guarantee or sign-on bonus. My “training” consisted of two days with a PMI underwriter on conventional loans and a “here is the 4506 book. You will probably never do FHA loans, but if you do, you can read it”. Every night I studied that manual (or anything else that had to do with mortgages) until I fell asleep, and then I went every day to real estate offices during the day to ask for business.
I have been blessed over the years to have so many amazing mentors who originally paved the way and showed me how to “Be Better Daily.” I love being able to do this now for others in my branch, the company that I work for, and the industry. In addition to originating and running branches under Fairway, it has been my pleasure and joy to work with The Todd Duncan Group (TDG) on the yearly Sales Mastery event as well as the Elite Mastermind group within TDG over the past 15+ years.
When I get to stand on stage with Todd or share in a smaller setting with TDG, I am often reminded of those early years of getting into the mortgage business and trying to figure it out. Now, I get to help others find their way too. What an amazing opportunity!
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision; how does your company thrive towards enabling advancements in the dynamic business arena?
One of the most amazing things about the mortgage industry is that there is no glass ceiling for women. Over 50% of our executive team here at Fairway is made up of women who lead their departments well and have a strong voice. In addition, we have amazing women Branch Managers, Loan Officers, and Support Teams who make it happen daily for the families that we serve.
What are the fundamentals that you implement to drive betterments within the work culture of your organization?
In any organization, the leader sets the tone. Whether it is a company, country, organization, or family, the “tone” is set by the leader. Steve Jacobson, the leader of Fairway, sets the tone that our company’s core values are not just sayings on a wall but lived daily. Two of my favorite Fairway Core Values are “speed to respond” and “commitment to serve.” From the top down, this is in our company’s DNA in everything we do, regardless of the position or task.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
Coming into Fairway five years ago from a small regional company that I had the opportunity to be a part of for over 20 years, the biggest fear was being “just a number” among the over 7,000+ teammates. However, the culture of “family focused” and “consistent, honest communication” is so embedded in the company that we truly feel like part of a family and love getting to be a part of this wonderful tribe.
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in your sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
The sales and operations sides of Fairway are superior, and they provide an amazing platform on which a branch or an LO can run their business. A foresight I believe Fairway has (that we will see other companies emulate in the future) is the (guideline compliant) autonomy we allow, which gives entrepreneurs the freedom to grow but still has that fantastic support needed to “Never Close Late or Ugly.” We see our younger generation craving that ability to be independent, while fully supported. I love that Fairway already embraces this for the street.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for your company?
One of the things you will never be in this business is bored. There are always challenges, changes, market swings, and industry shifts. My mom’s favorite saying (and my team hears it a lot from me now) is “This Too Shall Pass”. Whether it is the good times or the rougher times, they will pass. We must always lead well, seek wise counsel, “punt” when needed, and practice the discipline of gratitude. What are my goals for the future? It’s to keep doing these things! We are truly blessed to get to assist families in having their American Dream, to get to lead incredible mortgage professionals in their own dreams, and to get to make a difference.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the dynamic business arena?
Seek out powerful mentors who speak in your life. Be humble. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. Be willing to listen to those who have gone before you, and then make it your own to improve upon while using your strengths. Invest early, invest often, and invest wisely—this goes for financial, mental, emotional, spiritual, family, and even personal goals. This business can be life-changing in many ways. Embrace it, work hard, work smart, and surround yourself with those whom you want to emulate to make yourself better. What an opportunity we have been given!