Meet the Advisory Board
One of the huge benefits of being a mortgage girlfriend member is the networking, questions and information provided on the website, the Friday Diva Digest email and the Members-Only Facebook Page. No one is an island (in this business) and the same goes for us. The advisory board members have their pulse on the industry. Marketing strategies. New business ideas. And we meet regularly to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest. You will find their bios. Their areas of experience.
Please email Karen@MortgageGirlfriends.com if you’d like to get in contact with any of the Advisory Board members!
Loan Originator with Compass Mortgage (Chicago, Illinois)
Robin Baran, VP Mortgage Banker with Compass Mortgage in Chicago, Illinois. I have been in the mortgage origination business for 17 years and have been through some of the hardest and easiest years. I believe the best years are ahead of us!
I hang my hat on being knowledgeable and up the minute educated on the ever changing guidelines and programs which is made possible by Karen Deis and the Mortgage Girlfriend family.
Its my job to be able to assess a situation and be able to present viable options to a buyer and help decide what’s best for their financial goals and family.
Communication is key and I always try to bring added value to my key influencers and take incredibly good care of my customers in the Chicagoland area.
My favorite kids are grown and have moved on enabling me to pursue other passions—some yet undiscovered. This may encompass travel, reading, knitting, guitar, cooking classes, spa days, exercise ( that last one is a lie) and am always willing to try new adventures.
Loan Originator with Huron Valley Financial (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
I started my career in the housing industry as a Realtor before moving over to the lender side of the table. At first, I prepared closing documents but also worked in processing and post-closing before becoming a loan officer. It’s been a wild ride over the years! At one point I even owned my own mortgage company jointly with my daughter, but it was a relief to hand off the aspects of being a business owner that made me crazy. I have loved everything about being a loan officer with the possible exception of the crash years!
When I started out in the mortgage business, we had three loans to offer: Fixed rate loans for either 15 or 30 years and the super cool new loan program – the one year adjustable! I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years but truly love being a problem solver and helping so many people. My pipeline is pretty evenly split between conventional and government loans. I also do reverse mortgage lending, a segment I particularly enjoy as it really solves problems and fulfills needs. I came to this industry by chance but am ever so happy for that propitious coincidence!
My greatest achievement is raising four wonderful children who have provided me with eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter! Fortunately, none of them live too far away and I get to see them fairly often. I live in a small home in what I’d call a large small town! It’s small enough to have a quaint feeling but large enough to have stores and services I want. Plus it’s only 20 minutes from Ann Arbor! I have an elderly Maltese for company and confess that I’m already shopping for my next dog as I’m not to the point in my life where I want to be dog-less!
My extra-curricular activities include playing in a hand-bell choir and volunteering at several music venues near the University of Michigan. Volunteering is a great way to see some pretty incredible performances especially for single people.
I enjoy scrapbooking and making cards – I write A LOT of handwritten notes which I fear has become a lost art. I also enjoy exercising but aside from walking outdoors on days when it’s warm enough, I really prefer the social aspect of classes. Spinning, cardio drumming and Pi-Yo are my favorites.
V.P. Renovation Loan Specialist with Homespire Mortgage (Virginia Beach, VA/Gaithersburg, MD)
I started my mortgage career in 1973, and worked on the Operations side until 1983 when I became a loan officer. I am very knowledgeable in VA, FHA and Conventional loans, with a specialty in renovation loans, including the FHA 203K, Limited and Standard, the FNMA HomeStyle Renovation loan, and, COMING SOON, the VA Renovation Loan.
I am currently Vice President of Renovation Lending at Homespire Mortgage, based out of Gaithersburg, MD. I assist our loan officers with their renovation loans so that they go smoothly from beginning to end. I also work diligently to keep our loan officers up to date on changes in the renovation financing world, and assist them in educating their business/referral partners in order to increase our company’s market share of these loans.
My career changed the day that I became a Mortgage Girlfriend….and I didn’t even know it. The life I’m living is a dream, and MGs gave me the confidence, as a female in the business, to do what I’ve always wanted to do…..rise to the top. My goal is to inspire other MGs to do the same.
Loan Originator with Mortgage Financial Services (Frisco, Texas)
Although, I wanted to be an attorney while growing up, I found the career I truly love while attending college in 1996 when I first began working as a receptionist and a sales assistant at a small mortgage company.
Since that time I’ve been privileged to help people achieve their dreams and goals of homeownership. After finishing my degree I decided to stay in the mortgage business and have worked in every key area of the loan process, from underwriting to processing and originating.
I have first-hand knowledge of the many components and moving parts of what it takes to get a mortgage. I’ve taught classes that help other loan officers and processors put together the best possible packages for their customers. I believe an educated consumer is a good consumer, and this is why I love sharing my expertise and teaching my clients.
When I’m not working on loans, you will find me spending time with my husband and two daughters. We love Frisco and try to enjoy the variety of activities offered. I loudly cheer for my youngest daughter when she plays softball at Warren Sports Complex and have fun getting dirty by helping our FFA Lamb get ready for show. As a family we love to support our community and other causes close to our hearts. Currently, I am an active volunteer with Frisco Fastpacs, Create Church, Carroll Elementary PTA and Frisco Women’s League. Last year I also served on the board of 100 Women Who Give a Darn as well as the Frisco Chamber of Commerce WEB Council.
Loan Originator with PrimeLending (Clifton Park, New York)
Anna Smith, a loan officer at PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company, is a retired thoroughbred race horse jockey turned Mortgage banker. In 3 years in the business (and with no prior experience), Anna has tripled her business and her income and found that hosting and speaking at events is her forte. She went from hosting small events 25-30 people, to having 100 attendees at her most recent event- “Racing for Success—how to build your business FAST”.
Anna Specializes in 1st time buyer education and helping clients with 2nd and Vacation Homes. 1st time buyers need that special touch and a bit of handholding to make sure their first transaction goes smoothly. Her expertise is in Upstate NY, Indiana, & Florida, however, she can lend in all 50 states with her National affiliation with PrimeLending.
Anna has a Bachelor’s degree with concentrations in both Accounting and Marketing. She is currently working on her CMPS. She is able to concentrate on business because of her fantastic team.
In her free time she enjoys hiking, competitive running, & equestrian sports. She also likes to spend time reading a book with her two kitties, Todd & Gypsy.
President, Kelly Mortgage, Inc. (Aliso Viejo, California)
Launching her business in 2005 while on bedrest pregnant with her son, she was able to establish herself in multiple states across the US as a mortgage broker/banker. Kelly Mortgage Inc. offers a variety of mortgages, from conventional to FHA, VA, reverse, and commercial. Tracy has earned an outstanding reputation by being honest and forthright when dealing with borrowers.
She is the broker and owner of one of the fastest growing female-owned mortgage businesses in the United States. Tracy is motivated, results-oriented and financially astute. Kelly Mortgage Inc. provides the best possible rate available for home buyers and those refinancing their existing property, and is always willing to assist those in need in order to get their loan closed.
Tracy is dynamic and deeply committed to providing a smooth and enjoyable experience, keeping lines of communication open between her and clients, transaction coordinators and all involved in the process of a home mortgage. Tracy is skilled in dealing with a wide variety of negotiations including traditional transactions, land sales, new construction, condo conversions, short sales, loss mitigation, refinance, and foreclosures, just to name a few. Known for an exemplary level of integrity and knowledge, Tracy graciously upholds the standards she has set for her company.
Loan Originator with VIP Mortgage (Phoenix, Arizona)
Jill Hoogendyk has helped thousands of people realize their dream of home ownership by helping them secure mortgage financing. Jill began her career in real estate as a real estate sales agent in 1984. In 1986, she opened her own mortgage company where she was responsible for overseeing all activities of the company including compliance, training and supervision of all employees.
Jill was the 2009 President of the Arizona Mortgage Lenders Association. She is a certified trainer for the Mortgage Bankers Association and was a 2008 Better Business Bureau Ethics Award Finalist. She teaches many different courses in mortgage finance including pre-licensing classes, continuing education for loan originators, and licensing classes required to be a Mortgage Broker in the State of Arizona.
Jill is currently a Sr. Loan Consultant for V.I.P. Mortgage with licenses to do business in Arizona, New Mexico and California.
In addition to many other community activities, Jill served on the Governing Board of the Paradise Valley Unified School District from 2006 to 2010. Providing educational opportunities to as many people as possible is important to Jill, and she is committed to helping children and adults achieve their educational goals.
Jill has been married to Michael Hoogendyk for 36 years and is the very proud mother of Kimberly Hoogendyk-Yawn, Zachary Hoogendyk and Carly Hoogendyk. There is no doubt that she considers her family her greatest accomplishment in life…just ask her!
Loan Originator with PRMG, Inc. (Davie, Florida)
Pat is a seasoned mortgage loan originator with Paramount Residential Mortgage Group and is licensed in six states (Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, and Colorado). Prior to entering the mortgage industry in 2001, Pat was President of a multi-national software company, and before that she ran the systems and programming division of the fourth-largest school system in the US. Thus, with Pat’s background in technology, she is always looking for better systems to gain more valuable time to communicate with clients.
As a veteran of the US Coast Guard, Pat enjoys working with active duty and prior military clients. She is considered an “expert” with VA loans among her peers and throughout the community. Pat also enjoys working with First Time Homebuyers and delivers the Mortgage Credit Certificate ($2,000 TAX CREDIT) program to all qualified applicants.
Prior to entering the mortgage business, Pat was also a licensed Real Estate Broker. This real estate background and experience has proven to be highly valuable when dealing in the competitive real estate market that we face today!
Pat’s exuberant personality, persistence and impeccable attention to detail represent an unusual combination of traits that makes her the best at what she does. Her passion for maintaining great, lifelong relationships has led her to help hundreds reach their goal of home ownership, and most consider her more of a “friend” than simply the mortgage professional that helped them obtain a loan.
Pat’s primary residence is in Weston, FL and she and her husband Jim also own a second home in Weaverville, NC, where they enjoy the mountains, dining out, and visiting with friends.
Loan Originator with Homeside Financial (Hickory, North Carolina)
Jamie Harrington is Sales Manager and Vice President with Homeside Financial in Hickory NC. With over 22 years in the industry, she has closed several thousand real estate transactions and continues to be a top producer.
Jamie previously founded a CPA firm, mortgage company and most recently a real estate and note investment company which her husband Lanny continues to operate.
She serves as member of the Homes for Heroes National Affiliate Advisory Board and has spoken at Homes for Heroes events and webinars. Jamie has received multiple accolades including consistently reaching national ranking as a top producer in the program, the Sapphire Circle of Giving Award and the Outstanding Service Award for serving nearly 500 hero families.
Jamie is a summa cum laude honor graduate of Lenoir Rhyne University and lives in Newton NC with her husband Lanny and their rescued dog Freckles.
Sonja Grant Wheeler
Compliance Industry Expert & Forensic Mortgage Auditor (Treasure Island, Florida)
Sonja Is affectionately known as “Mother Mortgage”. If you wanted to know something you always asked your Mother.
Compliance Industry Expert and Forensic Mortgage Loan Auditor. 20 years of Compliance and 49 years of mortgage industry experience from application thru the secondary market.
- President of National Quality Assurance div of Sonja Mortgage Corporation since 1998
- President of Sonja Mortgage Corporation since 1985
- President of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals Education Foundation 2018
- Secretary of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals Education Foundation
- Industry Expert for the National Mortgage Licensing System Testing.
- Advisory Board Member for Mortgage Currentcy
When Sonja is not assisting clients, she enjoys watching her Husband Fred build model airplanes. Hobbies include exercise, antiquing, travel, fishing, and spending time with family and friends.
NMLS # 327262 and 174483, Licensed Mortgage Broker in Florida since 1971.