How did you get involved in REAL 504 lending?
I have spent my entire career in the banking industry but it wasn’t until I started working for Bank of America in 2004 that my primary focus became 504 lending. At times I covered an area spanning as far south as Virginia and as far north as New England – including New Jersey. I worked with 14 different CDCs during my time at Bank of America. This experience generated a unique perspective and interest in working on the CDC-end of a 504 loan.
What do you like most about your work?
I appreciate the fact that no two days are exactly the same. I’m the type of person that is happier in a dynamic role rather than in a daily routine. I enjoy the flexibility of being out on the road and meeting with business owners and bankers alike. Each project is a bit unique and my position has provided me with an opportunity to learn about many different types of industries. Another benefit is the fact that the industry is small enough that you get to know and stay in touch with many of your former colleagues – I’ve had some relationships extend for more than 20 years.
Why is it important for our industry to develop our NextGen?
Every business model has to adapt in order to grow and the 504 industry is no different. The way that our program is positioned and marketed has evolved over the last twenty years. Many of our NextGen members did not join CDCs from the banking industry, as has traditionally been the case, but rather joined from not for profit agencies and finance companies. Most have networked and marketed effectively by making use of the new media tools (i.e. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). These are the tools that our customers are using in order to obtain information when selecting a product that fits their needs. Our NextGen members have the ability to think outside the box using modern day marketing and sales tactics. By using these tools and working to create strategic partnerships with NextGen groups in other industries our NextGen members are moving the industry forward.
What can NextGen offer CDCs and organizations as team members?
As I mentioned earlier, many NextGen members come from different fields. This gives veterans to the 504 industry a fresh prospective on getting the message out to potential customers. This includes helping CDCs market the program more effectively and using "new media” tools. They can even leverage past experiences and identify new relationship opportunities.
What is your message to NextGen and why should they participate in our Government Relations Conference and Marketing Contest?
I have been extremely impressed with the level of knowledge, professionalism and energy that these individuals bring to the table. I welcome their participation in our events and would challenge them to continue effecting the positive change they believe our industry needs. This would include speaking with our elected officials about the important work that each of us does in helping build our small business communities. The energy that they would bring to such a discussion would be of great benefit. It would also allow the NextGen group to better understand the political landscape that impacts our industry and help them identify and plan for future challenges. The marketing contest is a fun way to help promote the program and help us learn how to make better use of the tools that we have.