Like many of us, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am an accidental small business lender. I’m part of the ecosystem that provides capital access to small business.
It was Denver, Colorado, 1984. I made it here after college from Montana, where there really was no such thing as big business and few jobs. While supervising the teller line at Empire Savings and Loan, I was combing the yellow pages looking for commercial lending ads. I didn’t want to be old and gray before they would allow me to do it at a bank. So, I started cold calling to see if I could land a job. The larger the ad, the better I liked my odds. (After all, they had to have more money.) It worked, I guess. One of those bigger ads hired me, commission only, just before the market stalled and they went out of business. But there was a silver lining: one of the guys who had been playing cards in the conference room for the last few months said he knew of a new SBA non-bank lender starting up and that they were looking for “a girl who knew numbers.”
I started my SBA career on my 26th birthday in 1986. The SBA District Office picked it up from there. I’ll never forget Don Furtivo. He went above and beyond to teach me the program. Everyone needs a mentor like Don.
In short, I am incredibly lucky. I get to make a difference. I never grow tired of small business stories. Each is unique. I love that the program is designed, I believe, to see a small business holistically -- not just as a truck, a credit line or a building -- but as a living, breathing organization. And I’m gratified by the team effort required to turn a dream into a reality that can enrich lives and communities.
On a slightly more personal note, my husband and I started our own small business 16 years ago, and it endures today. Besides experiencing several economic cycles in my lending world, I have learned many other lessons with a shoe on both feet. I hope I share many of the attributes that I see in small business owners: scrappiness, resourcefulness, resilience, hard work, commitment and, without a doubt, passion.
I love the blend of art and science that is small business lending and I’m immensely thankful that I get to do it with others just as passionate, talented and committed as I am. It’s a magical thing that I try never to take for granted.
We all have a journey. immito would like to be part of yours.
While working part time in a video store during college, I quickly realized that having a job that required me to work nights and weekends wasn’t going to do a lot for my social life. This realization drove me to a job as a part-time teller, which eventually led me to a full-time opportunity with a bank after college. When a new position with the bank’s Small Business Lending Department became available, our CEO suggested that I apply. The rest is history. I have worked my way from a loan processor to a sales manager and loved every minute of it.
To me, loving what you do is the key to being good at what you do. When I have had colleagues ask me for career advice, I always tell them to pick something they love, work hard, and the rest will follow. I feel so fortunate to have found a career I love, where every day, I can do something new, interesting and challenging. I have found I’m good at bringing all the pieces together and finding a way to make them work. I have a passion for growth and for developing people, so managing a sales team is the perfect fit for me.
immito presents a unique opportunity to work in an environment where we offer one product, but that one product can mean a world of difference to a lot people. This is a company that is truly passionate about small business growth and the communities it serves. I believe it’s important to be actively involved in my community, and I am thankful that I work for a company that shares my values. I have spent my whole life working in banking, where it’s all about making money for the shareholder. Now it’s all about the clients we serve, and I couldn’t be more excited by that.
I started my career as a tech consultant, programming and managing projects across government, healthcare, real estate and construction sectors. One of my favorite early clients was the American Red Cross, where they considered software a medical device. There was no cutting corners, so I learned to develop software by the book. Then, a former boss reached out to me because he was starting a small business lending company. He invited me to join him, and I created all of the infrastructure and lending systems needed to get the company off the ground. I not only built those foundational systems, I spent many more years helping the company grow by merging with progressively larger banks. After a brief stint at a very large financial institution, I recognized my niche and passion for small business lending.
I love small business lending because I thrive on helping people solve problems. Learning business requirements and transforming them into technology is like solving a puzzle. Using technological tools to make others' jobs easier, and our customers’ experiences better, brings it all together for me. After all these years building and maintaining systems for small business lending, I get to spend more of my time solving the best kinds of puzzles.
At immito, I’m part of a rock star team dedicated to providing the best experiences possible to fuel our customers’ success. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
I got my start in SBA lending after losing my first “real” job out of college. I was an office manager for a small mortgage company that was closing the remote office that I had just opened. Imagine… I phoned a friend, and that friend had the right answer, “small business lending.” It turns out that becoming an SBA sales assistant was just the right way for me to learn how to help small businesses grow. I knew I wanted to be closer to the customer. For me, that meant closing loans, meeting with borrowers face to face and helping to educate them in the process. This is where my love of lending became clear. I saw the difference I could make with each small business borrower I worked with.
Working in SBA lending allowed me to believe it was possible to start my own small business. On a small scale, I saw the benefits and gained amazing perspective. It was not easy doing something I loved and then figuring out how to make a living. It was all up to me. I learned, however, that “the grass isn’t always greener”. It’s just a different shade, and you get to make the choice. I choose SBA lending. I help people understand the “why” throughout the lending process and ease worries that might surround their small business loan experience.
Here at immito, we are building something strong and sound. It is a ground-up opportunity to work with people I trust and respect. And together, we want to take the next step in your small business journey with you.
As my degree in Art History suggests, I did not take the traditional path to becoming a small business lender. I did, however, spend a lot of time working for several small businesses in my early days, including: a motel, a bar, a nursing home, a manufacturer’s representative and a few restaurants. It’s a collection that sounds a little like our SBA customer list. Each job was wildly different, but all shared one common goal: providing an excellent customer experience.
I’m endlessly curious about how businesses operate, from the inside out. I look to understand not only what they offer or create but how they contribute to their community and economy. I take a direct, flexible and sensible approach in listening to others, and I strive to consistently exceed our customers’ expectations.
I consider it a privilege to be a part of the greater LISC organization working to build resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity. More importantly, I enjoy being a leader of immito, which allows me to focus my passion on crafting financial solutions that best fit our small business clients every day. See what we can do differently for you!