Jaime Rowe, Settlers bank
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Jaime Rowe, mortgage operations officer, Settlers bank.
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1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
The greatest challenge in my job is keeping up with and adhering to strict regulations while trying to develop and maintain a highly efficient process for home mortgages. However, through that challenge I find the greatest reward. Every day I have the chance to critically think about how I can make the largest purchase in a borrower’s life go painlessly — or as painlessly as the regulations will allow. Settlers bank is a company that values my ideas and creativity and I always feel supported to try something new, and so I am consistently trying to leverage technology and education to enhance our processes. And when a mortgage loan officer can come back from a closing and tell us how happy the borrower(s) were, the “nailed it” feeling cannot be beat.
2. Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I’ve had two mentors in my career that I truly admire. My first job after college was at a title company and Christa Sweeney took me under her wing. We were such a good team that we worked at two more companies together. She taught me the art of networking and the importance of people knowing who you are. She also taught me the value of a thank-you note, which is something I feel is lost on younger generations. She knew how to make an employee or coworker feel respected. As a manager I try to follow her lead to make sure that employees’ efforts do not go unappreciated.
My second mentor was my former manager, Jerry Warmus. Jerry taught me to push the limit and to be bold. He also gave me the freedom to have big ideas. When I shared with him that I would be most productive left to my own devices and experiment with processes he was very supportive. Some of my best ideas and biggest innovations came from that time. Christa and Jerry are no longer my bosses but people I consider friends, and I still look to them for advice.
3. What has been the high point of your career so far?
When I started at Settlers bank there was no mortgage department. Along with Cheryl Paul, our director of mortgage, I have been able to build a department and system from the ground up. Every day was exciting: new problems to solve, new pieces of the mortgage puzzle to put in place, and new personal strengths to discover. In three years I was able to help take this department from a concept to a profitable division of Settlers bank. Beyond being profitable, I have been able to watch the mortgage department develop a culture that has been contagious in the entire bank. The team enjoys what they do and working together, and helping to create that has been very fulfilling. The department continues to grow and I’m very excited to see what we will do next.
4. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
My 21-year-old self was still in college, so I would give the advice to take some business classes. Business was something that always scared me and it wasn’t until after I graduated that I discovered I had an aptitude for it. I stuck so closely to my major that I did not explore other classes to discover my full potential. I would also encourage 21-year-old Jaime to travel and try new things. I feel like the more life experiences I gain the better I am at problem solving and being open to new solutions. And finally, if 21-year-old me was still listening I would say never turn down an opportunity to learn a new skill. Once you master something in your job or life, find a new challenge. Being versatile, eager to learn, and easy to teach will take you far.