Jennifer Leonard, VP of Brand Strategy, Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME)

Jennifer Leonard

Jennifer Leonard’s experience as a seasoned marketing professional has allowed her to raise AIME’s brand strategy to new heights since becoming an integral player in the mortgage industry. Since joining the channel, she has immersed herself in all things mortgage and in the process became highly aware of the need for effective marketing to aid in helping the wholesale industry to continue growing broker market share.  

What interested you in starting a career in the mortgage industry? 

I was drawn to helping real, everyday people who struggled with attaining home ownership by way of supporting brokers. I am in awe of the entrepreneurial spirit that brokers have and the drive that compels them to serve their communities. It’s incredibly admirable and I wanted to use my years in marketing leadership to support brokers by working at AIME.  

What’s a career highlight you’re most proud of? 

I previously led international marketing efforts for a corporate retail brand for a joint venture in Beijing, China. I trained our teams for television marketing, on-air spokesperson presentations, and social media strategy. It was a truly eye-opening moment in my career that bridged cultures, digital platforms and expanded my skills in connecting with consumers of all backgrounds.  

What’s unique about your business? 

At AIME, we are all-in on the support of independent mortgage brokers. We have a true passion for helping to inform & educate our members, problem-solve their issues and bring together a nationwide community of mortgage professionals that, in turn, serve their local communities with dedication and care.  

If you could change one thing about the mortgage industry right now, what would it be? 

All across the world right now, there is a high level of divisiveness. I’d like to see more expansion of the wholesale movement and more inclusion and recognition of the hard work that brokers do for the entire industry. Oftentimes, the industry can focus on the status quo and I’d like to see that challenged by bringing more voices into the conversation.  

Where do you turn for leadership advice? 

I’m lucky to have access to industry leaders, like Laura Brandao, Katie Sweeney and countless amazing members in the AIME community. Previous mentors throughout my career are still important advice-givers when I need a strategy session and following marketing gurus like Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin always give me a fresh perspective.  

What is your business philosophy? 

Progress, not perfection.  

What are the biggest challenges facing mortgage brokers & what’s your advice for overcoming them? 

Legacy. Just because things have always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean that there aren’t more efficient ways to do them. The industry is in an exciting phase of digital innovation right now and we’re seeing widespread changes in processes and mental shifts that have never before been viable options. The adaptability that can bring, not just for mortgage brokers, but for businesses of all kinds is truly inspiring and compelling to be part of.  

Why do you believe that brokers are better for consumers? 

Because they have the consumer’s best interest in mind. Always. Your success is their success and they care about getting a roof over your head and they want to help you achieve the American dream.  

If you could go back to your first day in the industry, what advice would you give yourself? 

Completely immerse yourself in all things mortgage – eat, sleep and breathe it. It seems daunting at first but knowledge is power and there is an incredible amount of information available if you take the time to find it and absorb it.