Women don’t have to be like men to achieve gender equality. All we have to do is embrace our own femininity and grace, by doing so we will offer the greatest contribution to the world. Courage is grace under pressure. With our natural grace, women can confront any pressure and crossover any challenges that may come. It is important for women to be authentic and courageous to lead in the business world with cut-throat competition. Summer Kim-Davis is one such empowered woman who also encourages other women to be authentic and courageous, asking never to lose the grace being a woman. She advises women to go against the grain and be bold, and courageous in the pursuit of their goals without giving into the opinions of anyone else. She is the Founder of IKON Mortgage, Inc.
In an interview with Insights Success, Summer Kim-Davis shares her journey and her contribution through IKON Mortgage, Inc.
“IKON Mortgage strives to keep the mortgage experience simple, efficient, and enjoyable for its clients.”
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Take our readers through your journey being at the helm of IKON Mortgage, Inc.
IKON Mortgage, Inc was founded in 2016 out of pure passion for excellence and outstanding customer service experience for my clients. I started my career as a mortgage consultant back in 2006 living in Honolulu, Hawaii, before I moved to Dallas, TX in 2010, where I realized my client’s best interests were not in the vision of Corporate America, motivating the founding of IKON Mortgage, Inc. in 2016. Most people think that I have a finance background, but in fact, I majored in Arts and Fashion in college. I was not interested in math or science when I was growing up although I was always good with numbers.
I believe my creative background helps me to think outside the box and finding solutions to unique situations when others may overlook. About 10 years into my mortgage lending career, I had a burning desire to create a platform to serve my clients better, but I could not find a company that shared my vision. After much thought and planning, I built the courage for the business adventure. It was not an easy decision to start a company becoming an entrepreneur because I always loved the security and benefits that comes with working in the corporate world. After many sleepless nights, I finally took courage to pull the trigger. I decided to go all-in with my vision and willing to take the risk because I would rather try and fail, than regret later.
What were the challenges you came across founding the organization?
The biggest challenge was adjusting to a new role as an entrepreneur because I always liked being an employee having security of income, benefits, and resources from the company. When I first started IKON Mortgage, Inc., I had no mentor or role model, so it was a challenging transition because I had no one to turn to or anywhere to find resources that I needed when I first had challenges. A few lessons I had to learn the hard way, but I was determined to learn as quickly as I could and embrace my new role as an entrepreneur. I figured out how to set up a company, acquiring licenses to become a mortgage broker and now a corresponding lender. In order to establish structure from
the ground up I wore many hats… a mortgage advisor, running marketing, sales, processing, loan origination, closing, post-closing, customer service, and CRM management and the list goes on and on. You name it. I had to do them all by myself in the beginning and wear many hats to get the company started and operating.
what is your idea of impactful leadership? What style of leadership do you personally prefer and have implemented at IKON Mortgage?
I started reading intensely after I started IKON Mortgage, Inc. mainly because I needed to self-educate and improve in order to grow the team and company. I believe impactful leadership is leading by example. Go explore places first, or testing the waters, so to speak, before I take and lead my team there. My leadership style is influencing, encouraging, empowering them to be the best version of themselves, perform at their best level, be the best they can be. I encourage excellence.
Taking into consideration, the current pandemic, and its impact on global economies, how are you driving the company to sustain operations and ensuring safety of your associates and employees at the same time?
I strive to lead my team in humility and practice the lean business model. We choose quality over quantity. We have a small team with high-quality individuals and run a highly efficient and structured system. We were able to sustain growth while not taking on any additional liabilities, so we can compensate our valuable employees and bring better pricing to our clients to keep them happy. Also, our lean business model helps us to leverage and pivot the down market as needed during global pandemic.
According to you, what essential traits should an entrepreneur posse to thrive in the present-day cutthroat business ecosystem?
In contrary to the stereotype, I believe humility is an essential trait to overcome and thrive in cutthroat business ecosystems. You can’t run a lean business if you have a huge ego and desire to have all bells and whistles. Good reputation within the competitors helps and we believe there are always more for everyone and we trust our clients and their ability to make wise decisions for themselves. We never have to trash talk our competitors to win the clients. We believe that our job is to educate our clients so they can make informed decisions whether it is with us, or someone else.
In what ways have you or the company contributed to the community? If given a chance, what change would you bring in Home Mortgage financing & Conventional Home Mortgage for Individuals, Institutional clients, and Corporate Issuers?
Our dream and vision to raise the standard in mortgage lending industry, be an example for outstanding customer experience.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
I am a Christian and God is the biggest influencer in my life. Besides that, I love John Maxwell’s leadership books, Dale Carnage, Daniel Pink, Patrick Lencioni, Brene Brown, Joyce Myers, and Simon Sinek books.
What would be your advice to the up-and-coming women entrepreneurs aspiring to enter the Financial Services Industry?
I would like to encourage all women to be authentic and courageous, never lose the grace being a woman. We do not have to demand our seat in male dominated industry. We do not have to be loud and aggressive to earn the seat. We can earn the seat with our works, excellence, and reputation. Never doubt and let others to doubt who you are, and do not compromise your values because that’s the norm. Go against the grain and be willing to try and fail. Rise up to try again. Be strong, courageous, and be true to yourself. Embrace your femininity because we are only strong when we can be vulnerable. My personal motto is “Be You. Go All In. Be Transformed”. (inspired by Brene Brown books between Gift of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong)