“I will have a little more time until I figure what I’m going to do next,” she said during a candid phone interview with National Mortgage News.
Yet, her seemingly reluctant predisposition has more to do with her inclination to be a perfectionist who is putting final touches to future plans than with the wanderings of someone contemplating what to do with her free time.
Still will remain a member of the MBA board and very involved in its projects. For instance, along with “about 12 very passionate folks from very different backgrounds,” she is one of the founding members of the newly created Inclusion and Diversity Committee.
IDC will be launched later this month at the MBA’s annual convention in Washington and will report directly to the board, she said. In any given year the vice chairman of the MBA will also be the chairman of IDC.
“It will help the MBA help its members to build best practices and a value system that will help support a next generation of mortgage bankers that reflects the diversity of the marketplace.”
She is simultaneously working on several other projects including the Women’s Networking Association. To bring it to life Still is collaborating with peers, including Ann Hambly, the founder of 1st Service Solutions who in 2003 became the first woman to chair of the Commercial Board of the MBA.
“They asked me to help reset up the woman’s association,” she said. “We’re now putting the charter together. The objective is to enable new networking opportunities for high potential women in real estate finance.”
More time is needed to figure out everything, she noted, so it could take another five to six months before the association takes off.
“We are taking a very targeted approach, so we can truly make traction with value added activity that women would appreciate. Maybe we’ll wrap it around one of the MBA conventions, or maybe wrap it around other industry events where we can get together a small group of women who are really interested in how to develop their career.”
Still sees both the Inclusion and Diversity Committee and the women’s association as the best response to the new mortgage market realities.
“If you look at the future of housing in America,” she said, data suggest the echo boomers, the children of the baby boomers, are much more diverse than their parents. Housing growth will be driven at 30% by immigrant buyers, which is a diverse population, too, “so not only is it the right thing to do, but it is necessary to develop talent in the industry that reflects the mortgage customer base.”
Her objectives list does not end there.
As chairperson of the Opens Doors Foundation, a charitable organization founded by the MBA in 2011 to make mortgage payment grants to parents with critically ill or injured children, she said, “My job as a business person is to figure out how to build the infrastructure to take it nationally.”
Opens Doors was successfully tested in the D.C. area. The MBA donated $50,000 in seed money, committed to cover its administrative costs and launching of the first grant-making program, and has made additional contributions including donations from the MBA staff. To date it has raised over $270,000 and given mortgage grants to 35 families. Still is looking forward to seeing that number grow in the future.