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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
James Hawkins Golden Oak Lending

James Hawkins

President

Golden Oak Lending

Location: St. Louis, MO

Founded: 2001

Industry: Finance/Real Estate

Since named a Titan 100, James Hawkins’ greatest lesson learned is that you can never assume the worst won’t happen. Prior to the epidemic, as president of Golden Oak Lending, the firm reached minimums that would carry it through ups and downs in the industry. “We never anticipated the industry would hit unprecedented lows, with hundreds of companies going out of business overnight due to the industry’s 84% drop in business this year alone,” said Hawkins. “Luckily, we had prepared a war chest for emergencies, and we had made sure to never carry debt.”

With increases in federal interest rates and real estate challenges, the firm’s revenue is down 74% from the start of the year. “There are no books or articles that can prepare you for that,” said Hawkins. “You can only adjust to it and one of our core values is to expect and embrace change and find the positive in it.”

Golden Oak Lending is a residential mortgage company with a mission to find a way to help ever customer that calls to better their situation financially, while delivering the highest level of professionalism, customer service and empathy to promote its A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

With the changing market, Hawkins said the firm has set goals to cut expenses, grow new partnerships in the real estate market and aggressively market to its previous customers, all to help get back to profitability. “The market will rebound for us in the next year or two, and we need to be ready to help people save even more money when it does,” he said. “Our relationship with this community is strong so we will be here in the future when they need us.”

Hawkins’ relationship with his team is also strong, he said. “When times are tough, people need a leader to look to assure them that eventually it will be okay,” said Hawkins. “I am working hard to be the leader they need right now.”

As a leader, Hawkins said it is imperative to be willing to change. “You can never sit back on status quo,” he said. “You have to always be looking ahead and be willing to adopt new strategies.”

With a gift of being able to read people, Hawkins embraces change that allows him to shift his focus for the betterment of his team and his clients. “I can quickly tell if someone is into what we are doing or not a fan,” he said. “That allows me to make instant changes to a situation to improve someone’s moral or to give more details to help support my position.”

For navigating change with grace and success, Hawkins has been named a second-year Titan 100.

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Did you know?

My secret superpower is being able to read people’s minds. Well I can’t really read their minds, but I have a great gift of reading people. I can quickly tell if someone is into what we are doing or not a fan. That allows me to make instant changes to a situation to improve someone’s moral or to give more details to help support my position.

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