In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting women’s achievements throughout the month of March. The women’s history theme for 2023 is, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” With this in mind, we are taking time to celebrate and recognize the stories of some of our own women leaders at Longbridge Financial.
Michelle Hays, Longbridge Servicing Manager, is the next feature for our “Ladies Who Lead” series. Michelle shared her perspective on where to find mentors, her takeaway from the movie “Working Girl,” and the advice she’d give her 20-year-old self.
Q: What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
A: To me, Women’s History Month celebrates the achievements of women in every aspect of life. No matter how big or small the achievement, honoring the women who have made positive contributions to American history ensures that we don’t forget or take for granted the progress we’ve made.
Q: Which women’s stories throughout history need to be heard and supported more?
A: The stories that need to be heard and supported are those that have had a positive impact on humanity. There are countless women who fought for the rights we have today who aren’t mentioned in our history books. Bringing those often-forgotten stories to light can give us greater appreciation for where we are today and, just as importantly, they can inspire us to keep fighting for future generations of women with even greater equality.
Q: How could you contribute your wisdom, expertise, or ideas to empower other women?
A: I can contribute my wisdom to being a good listener, very understanding, always encouraging, and, most of all, setting a good example for others.
Q: How does Longbridge set a culture of equality and inclusivity?
A: I’m proud to say that, in my experience, Longbridge empowers every employee to have a seat at the table. This is done through regular and transparent townhall meetings, frequent surveys, and team activities that encourage employees at every level to share their thoughts and voice any concerns. I believe these elements work together to set a wonderful, inclusive, and equal tone in our workplace!
Q: Who is your female role model?
A: Early in my career, I watched the movie “Working Girl” starring Melanie Griffith. This movie turned out to be a major blessing and has had a lasting impact on my life. Melanie Griffith’s character resonated with me more than I could have ever imagined. It confirmed for me that a soft-spoken, analytical woman can be wildly successful – a concept that has helped me persevere in my career and find success as a leader.
Q: What is one piece of advice to all women who are juggling between home and work?
A: My biggest advice to other women is to enjoy the journey! Thankfully, work-life balance has been given a greater sense of importance in recent years and, now that so many work from home, it’s important to find a balance that works best for your individual circumstances – while finding enjoyment along the way.
Q: What advice would you give women struggling in a male dominated industry?
A: My advice is to always be the best that you can be, and your gift will make room for you. Don’t let being in a male-dominate industry or workplace keep you from being your best.
Q: How can women find mentors?
A: In my experience, mentors are all around us. Early in life, they are moms, sisters, and teachers that mentor you and help give you a good foundation. As life progresses, mentors become authors you have never met, journalists that speak to you from afar, and women in your own life who you look up to.
Q: What do you think helped you get so far in your career?
A: Having a great support system and thinking before I speak have both helped me advance in my career. I think it is important to make sure you have people in your life who support you and your goals. Knowing your support system has your back and is rooting for you is a huge help as you continue to work your way up in life. Words can have a major impact whether you mean them or not, and being mindful of your words is as critical in the workplace as it is in your personal life.
Q: Do you believe you have achieved everything you wanted to?
A: I believe that I’m just getting started! It feels good knowing that my best days are still ahead and that motivates me to be my best.
Q: What would you say to your 20-year-old self?
A: Now is a good time to start preparing for retirement! Working in the reverse mortgage industry has only solidified this piece of advice for my younger self.
Thank you, Michelle, for taking the time to share your insights with us and for being a wonderful leader at Longbridge!
About Women’s History Month
Celebrated annually throughout the month of March, Women’s History Month dates back to 1981 when Congress authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week.” It wasn’t until 1987 that, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Alliance (NWHA), Congress and the President proclaimed March as Women’s History Month.
Since then, presidents have annually proclaimed the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” This recognition honors the contributions and achievements women have made throughout American history.
The women’s history theme for 2023 declared by NWHA is, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” To learn more about Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, visit https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org.