Advice from the quietly competitive leader on having a successful career
Meet Melinda Wilner. A mom of two boys, wife, unwavering broker advocate and Chief Operating Officer at United Wholesale Mortgage, a position she’s held since 2015. In her current role, she leads over 6,000 team members in underwriting, operations and IT, where she sets a new standard of excellence by focusing on efficiency, innovation, accessibility and client experience. As if that’s not enough, Melinda is constantly striving to streamline the lending process for mortgage brokers and borrowers nationwide.
Melinda is known for her strong work ethic, positivity, attention to detail and kindness. With over 20 years of experience, it’s no secret she is an influential, successful and dedicated leader in the mortgage industry. So what advice does she have for those looking to be successful and grow in their careers?
- Empower your team and make an impact
As a leader, Melinda understands the importance of caring about people more than yourself. From her perspective, leaders are not born, they are developed over time. And she believes that you’re only as great as your team, working every day to ensure the people around her are striving to be the best version of themselves. She has a unique knack for challenging her team to think through every step of a process change or roll-out to the most granular level, teaching them to see the whole picture and not only the task at hand.
Melinda is a true force of positive energy and determination at UWM, and urges those entering leadership roles to understand that when you become a leader, it’s critical to have a strong desire to make a true impact on people. Leadership roles aren’t for those with selfish mindsets.
- Embrace the challenge and accept change
While some people run from change, Melinda chooses to embrace it, and even enjoys it. She loves the challenge it brings. She says you can either complain and dwell on a change you don’t like, or you can adapt and accept that there are certain things you can’t control, and figure out how to get better because of it.
Melinda believes that everything she did prior to UWM prepared her for the work she does today. She has extensive industry background with experience in originating loans, processing loans, HR, and marketing, and also worked as an independent mortgage broker. She loved all of the challenges each role brought, and while difficult, they have allowed her to truly be in the weeds of the business today.
- Believe in yourself
As a woman in leadership, Melinda often times gets asked about what advice she would give to young women looking to one day be in her position. To this, she expresses the importance of confidence and believing in yourself. More times than not, people are their own roadblocks. She credits her confidence and drive to her father, who taught her that if you work hard, you can be anything you want to be. She describes herself as quietly competitive and is motivated by the impact she knows she and her team can make on mortgage brokers and borrowers around the country.
Melinda is thankful to work for UWM, as it’s a company with no gender bias. The mortgage lending giant is full of great leaders, both male and female, and she has been able to surround herself with people who have the same work ethic and drive that have gotten her to where she is today.
Whether you’re currently a leader, or looking to grow into a leadership role, there are many things you can do to ensure success. Melinda stresses that if you want to accomplish something, figure out what you need to do and get it done. Hold yourself accountable and find someone you trust to help hold you accountable. Finally, remember that there is always room for improvement, no matter what position you hold, or what stage of life you are at.