President of Guardian Mortgage, a division of Sunflower Bank, NA, EVP
Location: Denver, CO
*Second Year Honoree*
For Mischelle Weaver, president of Guardian Mortgage, the greatest leadership lesson learned is to stay the course even when faced with outside pressures or criticism to change. She helped her team navigate challenges and outside pressure during the first weeks of the pandemic when the stock market was plummeting, and unemployment numbers were spiking.
“The level of uncertainty from day-to-day was significant,” said Weaver. “In our business, unemployment not only affects loan applications in process, but it can also impact the billions of dollars in loans we service.” The uncertainty led Weaver and her team to make some very quick decisions, changing the landscape of the industry and the business.
“In our business, things move very fast under normal circumstances. Add historically low rates and a global pandemic and it was like trying to harness a hurricane,” said Weaver. “It became very clear to me, early in the pandemic, that we needed to pay special attention to our people.”
Weaver said the company was asking a lot from their teams and the customer demand for refinancing their homes grew exponentially, daily. “We are an organization that cares deeply for its employees,” she said. “With the workload we faced, we needed to be even more mindful of the additional personal pressures that laid at the feet of our teams while maintaining high service levels for our customers while working remotely.”
In response to concerns over the team’s ability to cope with all of these issues, Weaver and her team stepped into finding better ways to connect with teams virtually and assist leaders with more effective management techniques for the situation. She launched all-hands-on leadership training on how to lead through a crisis and utilized trainings and other resources for her company’s leaders.
“We spend a great deal of time teaching our managers to be leaders and to coach their teams,” said Weaver. “When you manage, you focus on a process. Our people needed a coach to get through this.”
Weaver said her team did an exceptional job of navigating the stress and changes that resulted from COVID. “I’ve never seen a group of people work so hard and selflessly to sustain each other,” she said. “Investing time to create a culture of support and care cannot be underestimated.”
As a leader, Weaver said that some of the hardest moments are when you see your people struggle. “It’s hard not to step in and solve an issue, especially when you have the answer,” she said. “But that doesn’t allow people to struggle through to find their own answers and feel the satisfaction of resolving things.”
For her strong leadership and commitment to employee empowerment, Weaver has been named a Titan of industry.
"Investing time to create a culture of support and care cannot be underestimated."