To make a glorious contribution to the world, it is important for business leaders to not be confined by any mediocrity and narrow-minded approach. It is important to have a broad-minded approach to be a successful business leader. Joanna James is one such empowering leader in business who is not confined by any limitations in her imagination. Joanna is General Manager at Mortgage Ezy. As a disruptor, Mortgage Ezy has shaken up the mortgage market since its inception in 2001 by using technology to enhance its service offering across a diverse and wide range of loans.
Growing through a Journey Quite Like a Rollercoaster
The past 20 years journey of Mortgage Ezy has been quite a ride from inception in 2001 as a team of 2, growing rapidly through the many cycles of business to the team of 200 today. Joanna recalls there were times of rapid growth where they were hiring new team members on a Thursday and building desks over the weekend for a Monday morning start, through to times of consolidation and defensive needs such as the GFC and more recent Covid19.
The journey has had mountains to climb, valleys and rivers to cross, but overall, every day is a different landscape with a variety of issues to address from big picture strategy initiatives to the minutia of finer details. When Joanna looks back, it is the faces of the people in Mortgage Ezy’s team, its brokers, and the tens of thousands of Australians she and her team have helped secure a better home loan that feature most prominently.
Harnessing Creativity and Vibrant Energy
Being a younger female in a very male dominated domain, Joanna was often presumed to be the PA or BDM and spoken too dismissively on more than one occasion, due to her youthful looks. Transitioning from Architecture and building into the Finance arena also brought a need for further training and upskilling and she would often be questioned on her authority and experience. Luckily, she saw this as a benefit as she set out to be anything other than a boring banking profile, and thus, she was able to harness her creativity and vibrant energy into creating a different type of Company. Whilst on the job, she has learnt to overcome discrimination, fear, doubt, procrastination, and many limiting beliefs about who she can be. Perhaps, the biggest challenge for her was juggling a family with business needs.
Challenging the Status Quo
Joanna believes that everyone wants to have clarity around what it is they are being asked to do, and why their contribution is important to the bigger picture. She believes in engaging team members, so that there is a pull to do things collaboratively and always showing appreciation, not just for what they do but who they are as people. As Joanna loves to have fun, she inspires others and creates an atmosphere where people can express their gifts and talents too. She believes impactful leadership is challenging the status quo, and inciting people to ponder the right questions so they can grow, then in turn can be more impactful in the world too.
Being Flexible and Undergoing a Process of Metamorphosis
Talking about the impact of the pandemic, Joanna mentions that Mortgage Ezy is a flexible group already trading internationally. In response to pandemic, her team was set up quickly and adjusted to working remotely easily. It has now extended this offer to permanent work from home arrangements for both new and existing members. It has undergone a process of metamorphosis, reinventing the way that it engages with its team, brokers, and clients.
Joanna opines that the adaption and implementation of new technology, methods of communication as well as training and education, especially in the areas of leadership and mentoring, has made the shift to the new necessity of a self-motivated paradigm required by all people working remotely. The value add outside of work is really the main area of focus and people around globe expect more freedom and support for their lifestyles while working.
Being Decisive, Resilient And Contributing to Welfare Causes
Joanna states that entrepreneurs should have an imagination followed by decisiveness and resilience to thrive in the cutthroat business ecosystem. Mortgage Ezy continues to generate and contribute to market competition with its product offerings as a true counterpoint to the major banks. This ensures product innovation and price reductions for all Australians.
On a global scale, the company supports the THRIVE initiative which supports children in Africa by way of an educational scholarship to ensure all funds go directly where they are needed most. It supports them through their entire educational journey through school and into university to give them the opportunity to better both their personal and family’s lives.
Today, whether Joanna facilitates finances for homes, demonstrates how to create healthy spaces, or mentors’ groups for successful women, she empowers others to create the life and lifestyle that they truly desire.
Learning by Doing and Embodying Lessons
Joanna is a big believer of self-development work and prior to Covid, she regularly took time out to attend all types of group workshops. This covered everything from professional technical workshops to motivational gurus such as Tony Robbins. She loves learning through mostly audio books, currently she is listening to Indestructible by Nir Eyal which is helping her to take her focus to the next level. She works with a series of mentors to help herself progress by learning from others who have already mastered their crafts. However, her most poignant learning has been life experiential, as she tends to learn by doing and embodying the lessons. The impact of this has been both positive and also incredibly challenging especially when they were difficult lessons to learn. Being said that it has in return given Joanna great depth as she has overcome the challenges that were presented.
Concise Note to Aspiring Entrepreneurs in Finance
According to Joanna, working in finance requires a discipline and self-mastery around money psychology, especially understanding how this influences the behavior of others. In her advice to emerging women entrepreneurs she says, “Remember Finance is a language just like any other that can be learnt so approach it in manageable pieces and seek great teachers to show you what you need to learn. Take time out of the day to day to work on yourself, your success will only ever be as large as you can see it in your mind’s eye. Whether that be meditation in the morning, workshops and extra webinars, or seeking mentors it will serve you well.”
“Be brave, dream big and love what you do, a zest for life is the key to everything,” she concludes