March is Women’s History Month. And at Longbridge Financial, we’re proud to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8), a global day of celebrating women’s achievement. With 60% of our leaders being female1, we stand with International Women’s Day in their mission to #BreakTheBias and are pleased to celebrate women’s accomplishments – starting right here with our own women leaders of Longbridge Financial.
Throughout the month of March, we’ll be highlighting stories, achievements, breakthroughs, and advice from some of our top women leaders in our “Ladies Who Lead” series. And we’re pleased to start with a Q&A with Kristen Trum.
As Director of Wholesale Sales Operations, Kristen Trum is a prominent leader amongst our Wholesale Account Executives and Partner Support Specialists. Since joining the Longbridge team, Kristen has climbed the ranks, working first as a Partner Liaison, then Partner Support Manager, prior to her current role. With over a decade of Operations experience, Kristen’s deep knowledge of both the sales and operations sides of the reverse mortgage process make her an invaluable asset to the team.
We sat down with Kristen to chat about International Women’s Day and get her take on forging women’s equality.
Q: How does Longbridge set a culture of equality and inclusivity?
A: Longbridge has always supported diversity at every level and empowers their employees to have a voice. Longbridge has an open-door policy and senior management is willing to listen and be receptive of ideas from anyone in the company. With a respect for each other’s differences, we play off each individual’s strengths and abilities.
As a female leader at Longbridge, I strive to manage my team with fairness and respect. My goal has always been to create a work environment where my employees feel comfortable coming to me with their feedback and ideas. We’ve all had different experiences and we can all learn from one another.
Q: Who is your female role model?
A: Without a doubt, Michelle Obama. I am completely in awe of this woman. As a mother, lawyer, writer, and former First Lady, she has advocated for so many people and helped inspire others to reach higher and take charge of their future.
Q: What is one piece of advice for women who are juggling between home and work?
A: The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to not get down on yourself for not being perfect. Your children aren’t going to remember the one night you weren’t able to tuck them into bed at night, and on the flip side, if you stop to spend time with your family – don’t feel guilty about it. There will always be work to be done, but it will still be there tomorrow. Rather than working late every night, prioritize stepping away and spending time with family and allowing yourself to recharge. You’ll likely find that you’re actually more productive that way!
Q: What advice would you give women struggling in a male-dominated industry?
A: Never give up and always give 110% effort. When I first started working in this industry 17 years ago, all of the management team members in my first few jobs were male. I felt like I needed to work twice as hard and three times as fast just to get noticed. However, I never gave up. If you put in the work and effort and show others that you are a force to be reckoned with, you will not be ignored. I’d also stress the importance of advocating for yourself and your talents – after all, no one else will do it for you.
Q: How can women find mentors?
A: Finding the right mentor comes down to having respect and a personal connection. Attend networking events or even just try to get to know your co-workers better. This is usually the first step in finding someone that you naturally “click” with – someone you can have an engaging conversation with.
Q: What do you think has helped you get so far in your career?
A: One of my biggest strengths is my perseverance – I am not one to give up when things get tough. I’m motivated by a challenge and my urge to keep going. The support of my family has also been instrumental in shaping me into the woman and leader I am today.
Q: Do you believe you have achieved everything you wanted to?
A: As much as I would like to say yes, because I’m very proud of all that I’ve achieved at my age – I know the real answer is no. I don’t think I will ever be done achieving. As soon as I achieve a goal, I just set a new one for myself! It gives me something to work towards and keeps me motivated.
Q: What would you say to your 20-year-old self?
A: I’d like to go back and tell myself to take time to slow down and relax every now and then. Not everything is a race!
Thank you, Kristen, for your time and all you do!
About International Women’s Day
Celebrated on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day of celebrating the economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It also marks a call to action for accelerating equality for women.
Now over a century old, the first IWD gathering was celebrated in 1911 and supported by over a million people. Since then, IWD has grown to belong to all groups collectively as they remain steadfast in their mission to forge women’s equality. To learn more about how you can #BreakTheBias, visit internationalwomensday.com.