Celebrating Women’s History Month: A Q&A with Wells Fargo Home Lending Homeownership Advocate Executive Ewunike N. Brady, Vice President, Head of Black Segment Strategy American
Women’s History Month is a unique opportunity to celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of Wells Fargo’s women leaders who help shape the future of housing. These extraordinary women are ready to make changes that will move the business forward and bring homeownership opportunities to more customers, especially those from diverse communities. A notable Wells Fargo Home Lending executive, Ewunike N. Brady, is a perfect example to highlight this year.
Brady has 15 years of mortgage experience, with a focus on consulting with matching clients to increase opportunities for low to moderate income and multicultural homeowners. Through her experiences, she has gained a solid understanding of the industry and how to help grow this segment of the business. She is also a Certified Freddie Mac CreditSmart® Trainer and has been heavily involved in the mortgage industry, including serving as a member of the Maryland Mortgage Bankers and Brokers Association Board of Directors, Chair of Marketing and Co-Chair of Future Leaders. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Here is a profile interview that was conducted with Ewunike N. Brady:
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is being part of the change. I have two quotes on my wall in my office to remind me that I have critical work to do: “Be the change you wish to see” and “Create the things you wish to see.” Homeownership rates among African Americans are the lowest in our country since the creation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. As an industry, we are at a place and time where the work we do is laying the groundwork for the next era of the mortgage and financial industry, where equitable access to housing is a priority. To be able to gain insight into and help increase homeownership rates in the African American community is an honor, and it’s a privilege for me to do this work.
What values and behaviors affect you as a professional?
My values are authenticity and connecting with people in a transparent way. I get to know the people I work with and get incredible results for our community. Having personal relationships gives work a personality, it allows you to connect more deeply and have a greater sense of responsibility.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
It’s a good time to reflect and really think about the impacts of the work that women from all walks of life, in all industries, do to advance. There is still a lot of work to be done together and we must continue to celebrate these victories while continuing to highlight opportunities to engage even more. Women’s History Month is a time to amplify the conversation about equity, celebrate accomplishments, and keep the needle moving.
What message do you have for others looking to advance their careers?
Own your story. Tell your story and share your aspirations with others. People want to see you succeed and want to contribute to your advancement.
Why is diversity and inclusion in the workplace important to you?
There is no one size fits all for all the work we do on diversity, equity and inclusion, with equity being a key part of this conversation. When you intentionally embed DE&I work into the culture of an organization, it shows in the products and services you produce, it shows in the way you communicate, it’s part of the core values of the workplace. It’s important that we support the work of DE&I – not just in the sound bites but in our daily actions.
Share with us your words of wisdom/advice for women of color in the workplace?
My advice would be to learn healthy habits early and practice them often. At the forefront, I strongly recommend building a circle of influence of dynamic individuals who can contribute to your growth, learnings, and opportunities. Lean on help. We all need someone to help us along our journey. Learn to ask for help and accept it graciously.
What is the best advice you have received?
You need to stay present in the moment, no matter the circumstances. In good times and in bad times, you must be present, engaged and ready to mobilize. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines, but the real impact happens in the trenches. To be actively involved, you need to dig deep and help be part of the solution.
Who is your hero?
At different phases of my life, I would have answered this question differently. I see heroes as people who motivate and inspire you. Unequivocally, my daughter is my hero. In her five years of life, there is such joy and innocence that you see through the perspective of a child. She gives me the power to be my best self. She is my motivation behind the work I do to advance homeownership. I want his experiences with buying a home to be an enhanced experience, not a reminiscence of the experiences and inequities forged in the experiences of his parents or grandparents.
How do you advance/propel your female colleagues?
Actively and authentically support the work your female colleagues are doing. I often find that having real non-work related heart-to-heart conversations to let other women know that you understand their story and appreciate their efforts goes hand in hand. I get to know my colleagues on a personal level, not just in a working relationship. We all have things we face, dreams, aspirations and challenges. Finding common ground that we can relate to each other goes much further and fosters positive relationships where you can then start doing hard work together. It is also important that you make room to be human, to be empathetic and then also to celebrate each other’s victories.
How do you ensure that your organization and its activities are aligned with your core values?
Occupy the roles in which you can be that decision maker and if you are unable to hold that title of leader, you must be a leader in how you influence the work you manage. You align with your core values by leading by example. Your actions create a visual representation of these core values - they manifest in the way you conduct yourself in meetings, the way you present your work, the way you engage partners and partnerships, it even extends to the way you conduct yourself outside the walls of your office. Your core values are rooted in what is authentically you.