Originally published in Morgtage Women Magazine, May, 2019
Next up! The one, the only, the incomparable Dave Savage, founder and CEO of Mortgage Coach. Dave was nominated by our very own editor of Mortgage Women Magazine, Kristin Messerli, and backed up by dozens of top ranking women in the industry.
What does it take to be a MENtor who opens doors for women? Dave will tell you not much, and in fact, if you ask me, he is a clear exampl
e of gender blindness in business. While he has been intentional about seeking female engagement in his network, he didn’t simply elevate women for being women. He did so because they represented the best in class and expertise.
For the long time I’ve known and worked with Dave Savage, I have consistently heard one thing in his voice: a passion for his profession and for our industry, for both men and women. Dave has built a community of over 10,000 members of Mortgage Coach and 30,000 subscribers on social media. His influence is wide and visible in the mortgage industry. As is the case for other men featured in this column, he has been elevating women for far longer than was popular or pressured to do so.
I asked Kristin Messerli, Managing Editor of MWM, to share her insights into how Dave has been a valuable mentor and leader for women. Here is what she had to say
“Dave has been one of the most influential people in my career and professional development, and he is an exceptional example of a male advocate for women’s success. Through his leadership, I have learned to see my age and gender as a strength, rather than a barrier. Like most women, I have encountered barriers such as men not taking me seriously or making sexual advances towards me, but Dave has helped me to look beyond those obstacles and see the strength in offering a unique voice of leadership to the industry. This message of empowerment has significantly impacted my upward mobility in my career and shouldn’t be underemphasized in mentoring women.
Dave has continually encouraged me to put myself out there, speak up, and identify new ways I can add value as a leader. He has been intentional about sharing opportunities with me that promote my message or give me a voice within his community, such as co-hosting a webinar or co-authoring an article, and he makes introductions when he sees an opportunity to bring value to both parties. While the exposure and introductions are incredibly valuable, I have grown the most as a leader through his willingness to take the time to discuss new ideas, share feedback, and provide constructive criticism along the way.
Male or female, Dave is intentional about identifying and promoting leaders that share a mission for equal access to education and empowerment. I am inspired by his leadership and hope others will follow his example.”
Here is an excerpt from my interview with Dave Savage.
Christine: What do you see as successful traits in professionals you elevate?
Dave: The short answer, and the people I am most attracted to are just, they are humble, they are hungry, and they are smart. I can’t remember who coined that, I think it might have been Patrick Lencioni in his book The Advantage. The people that I am attracted to, and the very successful people that I come in contact with and who I interview, are all humble. They are getting after it, they are hungry. They look at this digital disruption that’s happening and the chaos in the market and they are like “push let’s go.”
Wherever there’s chaos, there’s opportunity. I think this epitomizes Kristin and is one of the reasons why I have invested in her as a mentor: she embodies those character traits. I think it’s that simple.
Christine: This question is really about the very topic we are on here, professional women’s evolution. As a MENtor, what is some of the advice you would give to women?
Dave: I have been intentional about bringing women to the stage in leadership within the mortgage coach community for a few years now, I think five years. I don’t know if it was five years, six years ago, whether it was my wife, calling me out, looking at all the people I interview: a bunch of guys.
And I had women in the industry, Cindy Ertman, Sue Woodard. Whether we were at dinner having conversations and just talking about the disparity of men versus women leadership. I started really getting after it, getting intentional about “you’re right” and when you look at who the top producers are in different mortgage companies. There’s not as much disparity. Maybe on stages in the mortgage industry.
I, myself had to take a different approach to how I’d get them to lead, and I’ll use Kelly Zitlow as an example, so Kelly if you’re hearing me here! When I first reached out to Kelly, who is a top producer, we talked about the disparity of women on stages. She was like, “You know what, I’ve got to start leading more!”
My advice would be to every woman that listens to this, who’s kind of on the fence, “Should I take the stage? or not?” Take the stage. Get out there, do a little more self-promotion. I think as men … we tend to find that really easy and natural. “Hey, want to get a mic and you know …” and you’ve never met a mic they don’t want to grab.
Jump on that opportunity to take a leadership role because it makes our industry better. I can only speak for the Mortgage Coach community, but it definitely makes that community brighter when we have more diversity.
One last thing, and I think this is the case for everybody. We live in a world now where you don’t need permission to get on a stage. Between social media, between the video we’re creating right here in Zoom. I’m in a hotel room, with internet,
I say this to everybody, to young leaders, but I would say especially to women leaders: You don’t need permission to get on a stage and make videos. If you have it in your heart to lead and you’ve got something to share, get out there and share it. Amplify your voice with modern technology.
Christine: What is your legacy work? All of us have that thing we want to leave an impression on. What’s yours?
Dave: I really got clear on this, coming out of the meltdown. I think it was when I watched Simon Sinek’s presentation and the power of why. What conversion is all about; it’s a sales tool to convert. My why and my legacy is to change how people get into debt in America. Our total cost analysis is when someone gets into debt, what’s your monthly cost, what’s your cost to get the debt, call that the fee worksheet. But to look at what’s the cost over 5 years? What’s the cost over 20 years? What are some strategies to pre-pay my debt and become debt free? Cause I don’t believe a mortgage is the American dream. Home ownership is the American dream, home ownership, debt free is the American dream, or an American dream.
I hope my legacy is that I was a leader in the mortgage industry that reshaped how people deal with debt. For now, we’re turning that into a competitive advantage for lenders, but I hope we’ll look back 10 years from now and I’ll be a pioneer of that movement.
Christine: I thank you, on behalf of all of us who need more men like you, who are willing to diversify and elevate. I think it’s a wonderful example to lead by for all the leaders out there to follow.
Dave: Alright thank you and thank you Kristin for nominating me. Take care all.
As I sit here closing out yet another amazing tribute to a leader in our industry, I am grateful to see this kind of support and clear contributions to our evolution.
Thank you Dave Savage, from me, on behalf of Kristin and all female professionals who you have impacted, elevated and motivated. Thank you for your fairness, your honesty, and integrity, and for showing up at exactly the right time in history to help us carry this movement forward.
Christine Beckwith is a 30-year mortgage industry veteran who has broken many glass ceilings and blazed a trail for many female professional generations to come. She is a Mortgage News Network Anchor and the President & COO of 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching. This year she was featured in the 2018 Mortgage Professional America magazine as one of the top 75 women in the mortgage industry and named one of the “2018 Most connected Mortgage professionals in America” named by NMP magazine.