Meet the MENtors: Andrew T. Berman & Jonathan Tallinger

A column by Christine Beckwith

It is never an easy decision to make to take a giant leap into something never before done, like with these two gentleman, whom this months Meet the Mentor honors are bestowed upon, but Andrew T. Berman and Jonathan Tallinger seemed to know from the word go that doing a show for Mortgage News Network focused on Women Leaders in the Mortgage and Banking space would be an incredible move.

Risky?  Yes.  

Timely?  Yes.

Enough said.

Last fall under the direction of Andrew Berman, Founder of Mortgage News Network, the show Power Womnn (with their spin on the word Woman with the MNN logo embedded), they launched a show that yours truly would host.  

While this article has nothing to do with me, I would like to insert here as the sole writer of this monthly column that my try outs for this show were exciting and promising.  As a long-time leader in the industry, the idea of doing a show like ‘Power Womnn’ was both incredibly liberating and also timely for me in my career as I crossed a bridge from direct management in lending to the coaching side of the business. I will tell you from behind the scenes these two never waivered in their commitment to let the real words, stories, and voices of the incredible Season 1 female professionals (icons really) and game changers soar across the social media waves under the logo sponsorship of Class Valuation with Jonathan Tallinger, Chief Growth Officer, Executive Manager. The rest, as we say, is history.   

The idea to create the first of its kind industry show sparked a flame in the growing communities of women who are today powered with the backing of community groups through out the industry. This one of its kind media platform gave a chance for women to be interviewed for the first time by another female leader. Many would admit that for years, even decades, the questions asked by interviewers had been limited to the delicate balance in their work/parenting roles (which of course is great to share) while the hard questions never really came. After years of not being treated like their male counterparts and enabled to discuss adversities they faced coming up through the ranks, this show gave way to a new voice in a new time when their microphones would be held high and the volume turned up by the vast array of both female and male listeners to the show.

In doing this, Andrew T. Berman and Jonathan Tallinger united themselves in a way that they probably never expected.  The show would be shot in two long form sessions, one at the MBA Annual and then again in the New York, NY studios.  Each episode would air weekly for 13 episodes just like on television. Every week the viewership increased as the women featured in the interviews tagging their companies and found themselves getting support and backing from peers and subordinates. People were turning it on and tuning in.

The show is set to run for Season 2 and this time focused on female originators and game changers. Everyone is poised for another turn at success.

I sat down with both Andrew and Jonathan separately to ask the same set of questions we ask all the Meet the MENtor honorees and to discuss their backgrounds, their position on the topic of women in leadership, and of course their personal legacy quest.

Andrew’s background:

Andrew’s father was a mortgage broker. He was heavily involved in the local mortgage broker association helping to organize their first conventions and their trade publication. Andrew has been helping his dad at conventions since he was 11-years-old. At 17-years-old ,he joined the mortgage company and found that he loved the business and the impact he saw he had on the lives of families.

Andrew saw a lack of focus around the mortgage broker and almost nothing focusing on a state level for industry trade publications so at the tail end of a refi boom, he transitioned from mortgage broker to publisher.

Today, with National Mortgage Professional and Mortgage News Network, he and his dad still do their best to keep the lens of a mortgage broker on helping them find more loans, be more efficient at doing loans or have a better quality of life, while staying clear of any issues and remaining compliant.

Jonathan’s Background:

Jonathan got his first taste of the appraisal/mortgage industry at an early age.  As an 18-year-old senior in high school he started working for his brother in-law’s appraisal management company in metro Detroit.  After college, he spent 7 years running his own appraisal company JT Appraisals; working with top lenders like US Bank and Flagstar.

When the housing crash of 2008 occurred, Jonathan helped start Class Appraisal as a nationwide appraisal management company to help fulfill valuation needs for the mortgage industry.  Fast forward 10 years, Class Valuation is one of the top AMCs in the country.

Jonathan has played many roles in his organization and running the company’s strategic growth initiatives is his passion.  He’s very proud of what they’ve built, and more importantly, where they are headed!

The Interview:

Christine:  Have you seen a difference in the industry with women supported causes and do you think women are gaining ground with these communities?

 Andrew: About two decades ago I noticed that the leaders of this industry that were women didn’t seek the same coverage or recognition that men did. We’d have award programs and we’d have to push hard to get women to submit nominations. I also noticed something when we would interview top female executives. They would talk about their team or others having a contribution to their milestones or successes, whereas men, would not be shy about proclaiming both their leadership role and victories.

Today, women are more likely to talk about their accomplishments. Not in a braggadocious way, but more in a way to tell their story and by sharing their story inspire others. It’s due to women focused events, publications like this and an environment outside of mortgage that’s fostered a push to change the old boys club to the old boys and girls club.

 Christine: What advice would you give to your daughters if they were adults today entering the professional world?

Andrew: I don’t have boys, but I’d like to think it would be the same advice I’d give them. Work harder. Make that extra phone call. Send one more email. Stay a little later. Always be the first one in the office. Help others without looking for anything in return. Don’t be afraid to take big risks, especially early on in your career.

Christine: What kind of legacy do you want to leave?  Final thoughts?

Andrew: I don’t know the answer to this. I can try to pontificate about what I think would sound good, but I won’t. I do know this; I want my daughters and my loved ones to know how much I loved them.

Christine: Have you seen a difference in the industry with women supported causes and do you think women are gaining ground with these communities?

Jonathan: st few years has been a breath of fresh air on this front.  There are several prominent groups and movements that are gaining serious traction for women progressing in the mortgage industry.  Women are gaining ground in the mortgage community.  Social media has made this movement more visible, however, the progress is also apparent at the industry events that I’ve been participating in.

Christine: What advice would you give to your daughters if they were adults today entering the professional world?

Jonathan: Wow, this is a big question.  I have three daughters under the age of 10, so the professional world could be drastically different by the time they reach that age.  But if they were entering the business world today, I would encourage them to do a few things:

  • Never stop networking.  Technology and social media have made face to face interaction more important than ever. Never underestimate the value of a handshake and a face to face meeting.
  • Differentiate yourself.  It’s a competitive landscape right now, so making sure that they have a unique skillset and mindset will be crucial.
  • Know your value.  Life is short, and there are plenty of good opportunities out there.  Do not allow yourself to waste time in a mediocre position where you don’t have an opportunity to advance and do something you enjoy.

Christine: What kind of legacy do you want to leave?  Final thoughts? 

Jonathan: I’d like to leave a legacy that I made a positive impact on our industry and on the people that I worked with.  I want my children to grow up to appreciate and respect the hard work that my wife and I have done professionally, and as parents. 

It is probably no surprise that all our Meet the MENtors are fathers to girls.  Girls that they hope will be trailblazers themselves.  Girls that they see the innocence and hope in their precious eyes for a future that these gentlemen are helping female professionals carve an indelible path.

We applaud Andrew and Jonathan for their brave dive into the world of media an for making a profound contribution, ‘Power Womnn with Class’!   We know we will see both men continue to make marks in our industry that will leave legacy impressions!  We Thank you for your brave steps during an important time.

***You may visit www.mortgagenewsnetwork.com and select Shows > Power Womnn to see all episodes of Season 1.   A great binge watch, and inspiring!

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