MBA’s Marcia Davies on the power of supporting women

This HousingWire Daily podcast transcription features a crossover episode from HousingWire’s Girlfunds podcast. In this episode, Marcia Davies, chief operating officer at the Mortgage Bankers Association and  HousingWire Women of Influence winner, talks about the power of leadership and what women can do to better support other women. 

During the episode, Davies shares her own journey in dealing with “imposter syndrome,” as well as actionable tips for women just starting their career.

Listen to the full episode here or below and make sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Below is the transcription of the interview. These transcriptions, powered by Speechpad, have been lightly edited and may contain small errors from reproduction:

Brena Nath: Like we said earlier, we couldn’t be more excited to have Marcia Davies on the podcast today. For those who are not familiar with her or the mortgage industry, even though I think a lot of us has touched different parts and pieces of the mortgage and housing finance ecosystem, she is the Chief Operating Officer for the Mortgage Bankers Association. Previously, she worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner. And before joining HUD, Davies spent 21 years at Freddie Mac, where she held a variety of officer positions in communications, customer outreach, marketing, service or relations, and policy.

This is one part that I know we’ll probably dig into a little bit more on the podcast but wanted to know kind of what it is here as well. But Davies is the founder of mPower, MBA promoting opportunities for women to extend their reach and be this networking platform for women in the real estate finance industry. Under her leadership, mPower has grown into an engaged community of more than 24,000 people providing best-in-class conference and webinar programming, networking events, and online opportunities to stay engaged. Through mPower, more women are positioned to achieve leadership positions and are well represented in all segments of the industry.

Also, I wanted to know that she is a member of the NAWRB in our Diversity Inclusion Leadership Council and DILC. Davies is also a member of Women in Housing Finance and the International Women’s Leadership Association. I wanted to shout those out as just kind of extra kudos to who she is and how she’s founded such an amazing organization that we’ll dig into later. So to start, just wanted to say thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today, Davies.

Marcia Davies: Oh, Brena, thank you so much. And I’m really delighted that you have been to so many mPower events. That means that you’re taking the time out of a very busy day to invest in yourself. And that’s a lesson I wish I had learned earlier in my career.

Brena Nath: Yeah, and I appreciate you. I know I keep saying appreciate, but even you hosting them. So kind of the first question we kind of start this podcast with is always kind of your best piece of financial advice, but wanted to tail one other piece into that. Because I remember it was a luncheon, maybe it was two years ago at the mPower event. And you had a guest speaker there who had a whole book and she just listed out a whole bunch of stats on females in the workforce, not just mortgage industry. And that really resonated with me.

So selfishly, I also added a second part to this question about a statistic that has stuck out to you since that was something from your events that stuck out to me. So first part of that question is, what’s the best piece of financial advice that you’ve ever received? And then on top of that, what’s just like one statistic on females in the workforce that has stood out to you?

Marica Davies: Well, I will say the best piece of financial advice I got, and I am speaking to all of the women out there who are listening, is never delegate decisions about your finances to anyone else. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t consult financial advisors. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t take input from your spouse or significant other. What I am saying is do your research and make informed decisions on your own with all of that input. I know we can get very busy and things are going on in our lives. And it’s easy to say, “Oh, can you just handle that?” Or, “If you think that’s a good idea, yeah, let’s change my risk profile.”

And what I’m saying is, it’s so important to manage your finances, no matter how busy you are. And it’s important for you to do your own research to make sure you know your risk tolerance. And you know what future you want planned and how your finances come into play with that. So I just say, stay actively involved and make sure you’re taking all of the information in, but you and you alone are making the final decisions.

Now, on the second part of that question, statistics and fun facts. Yes, you’re thinking, you are at the servicing conference, and I know exactly the speaker that you’re talking about. And we do like to spend some time talking about the power and influence of women. And our goal is to make sure not only that women understand the impact we have, but also that our allies and other colleagues understand the impact we have.

And when I started mPower, now we’re going back more than five years, I used to cite catalysts data, which said simply Fortune 500 companies with 3 or more women on their board experience nearly a 50% higher return on equity in only 5 years. And Fortune 1000 companies with women CEOs, and we know there weren’t that many of them, performed 3 times better than benchmark S&P 500.

Now that was what I used to start with. But recently, a Harvard Business Review report caught my eye. So, listen to this, companies with the most ethnically diverse leadership teams are 33% more likely to outperform their peers on profitability. And specifically speaking to women, those with executive-level gender diversity worldwide had a 21% higher likelihood of outperforming their industry competitors. So the data stands the test of time and highlights how diversity, and specifically gender diversity and leadership, is good business. So simply stated, the more diverse your leadership team is overall, the more profitable and successful your company will be.

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