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Is the next leader of the MBA likely to be female?

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Is the next leader of the MBA likely to be female?

Is the next leader of the MBA likely to be female?


The Mortgage Bankers Association today announced that it has retained Spencer Stuart, a leading global executive search and leadership advisory firm, to assist with the search for the Association’s next President and CEO.  

Current President and CEO, David Stevens, announced his plans to retire this past October and he will remain in his position until September 30, 2018.

If memory serves, Spencer Stuart also helps with placing CEOs at the head of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They’re a major player in the executive search space, so it’s no surprise the board went with them.

Here’s a thought bubble: Considering Spencer Stuart recently released a white paper vaunting the importance of female leadership, will we get to see a female at the head of our most important trade group?

Considering the title — Solving the Disappearing Women Problem — the answer seems like a “yes.”

The whitepaper provides quotes and research making the case for more women at the top. And progress is being made, women and minorities hold key positions at the MBA, so they can hardly be described as lacking in diversity. The HousingWire Women of Influence award continues to grow not just in number but in quality of applicants. And finally, we partnered with visionary, key gender-sensitive mortgage conference coming in January, called NEXT, which will provide an even playing field to all participants.

However, providing a female as the head of the MBA — which has yet to happen, though females served as voluntary Chairpersons in the past — would help push this issue ahead even further.

As the Spencer Stuart authors, Janine Ames and Christina Coplen, note: “Despite ongoing attention to the issue of gender disparity in leadership, progress for women remains mixed.”

“With greater numbers of women “disappearing” at successively higher levels of many organizations, companies that want to increase the number of women in leadership roles need strong advocacy from the CEO, an assessment approach that minimizes bias and assumptions about culture fit, support for women hired from the outside and a willingness to take bold actions.”

It may be time for all major organizations in mortgage finance to take note: McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, according to Ames and Coplen.

That’s a boost we should all be aiming for, we just need the right leader to show us the way forward.


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