International Women’s Day is March 8th. And at Longbridge Financial, we proudly stand with International Women’s Day in their mission to #BreakTheBias and forge women’s equality. That’s why we’re celebrating all month long, highlight women’s achievement starting right here with our Longbridge women leaders.
For this latest installment of our “Ladies Who Lead” series, we caught up with Nelly Argento to talk about women’s empowerment in the workplace.
As Director of Retail Operations, Nelly leads our growing team of loan operations staff in the retail division and works to expedite processes and drive efficiencies. With a background in sales, Nelly began her career in reverse mortgages in 2004 and worked as a Reverse Mortgage Specialist and Loan Officer. Since joining Longbridge as one of our first employees, Nelly has led our team as a Retail Processing Manager prior to her current role. With deep industry expertise, she is a valued member of the team and a true resource for all in the reverse mortgage industry. The team looks forward to her weekly “Did You Know…” emails where she shares facts and helpful tidbits about all things reverse mortgages.
Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
A: To me, International Women’s Day is a day for the world to recognize just how far women have come in society and their careers. Nowadays, women are much more than stay-at-home moms – they’re a driving force in the workplace.
Q: Are there any international women’s stories that need to be heard and supported more?
A: Yes, definitely. Even in 2022, there are still some cultures where women’s rights to education, speech, and freedom are seriously hampered or even prohibited altogether. These archaic and medieval precedents hinder the chances and opportunities women have to contribute to society, when they may have so much to offer.
Q: How do you contribute your experience, expertise, or ideas to empower other women?
A: I was born in Egypt, a country where women are held in a lower regard than men. With this background, I have witnessed firsthand the importance of empowering women to not only be held as equals to men, but to truly shatter the glass ceiling. I constantly preach to my children and even my colleagues the importance of never letting anyone hold you back. I encourage women at all levels to ask the questions others may be afraid to and strive to be the best versions of themselves.
Q: Do you feel Longbridge sets a culture of equality and inclusivity?
A: Absolutely! At Longbridge, the majority of senior managers are women. I’m especially proud of this because it’s a direct indication of just how much Longbridge values and respects hard work and achievement – without bias or regards to gender.
Q: Who is your female role model?
A: My role model is Malala Yousafzai. As a young Muslim Pakistani woman, Malala was shot by the Taliban for wanting to be educated and better her life and the lives of those around her. Not only did she survive the attack, but she also went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize and inspire women around the world. Despite the adversity she faced, she persisted and accomplished great things.
Q: For women trying to balance home and work, what piece of advice would you offer?
A: Simply stated – don’t ever quit! Keep going because you never know what life has in store for you. From my experience, I’d encourage women in the workforce to keep going even when raising a family. While taking time away to raise a family is a rewarding experience, finding the balancing act with a rewarding career can pay off in dividends. Unfortunately, in today’s society, if a woman gives up her career to stay at home and raise a family, it is extremely difficult to re-enter the workforce, and in some cases even discriminatory.
Q: Do you have any advice for women struggling in male dominated industries?
A: Staying focused on your goals is key. And never be intimidated just because you’re a woman. Just keep working hard and do not let anyone belittle you.
Q: How can women seek out mentors?
A: The best way to find a mentor is by looking for successful women who are at the top of their class in their careers. The greatest compliment you can give is to try and emulate someone’s success. And with some guidance and mentorship, you can learn a lot about how others achieved their success, and then use those takeaways to set yourself on a similar path.
Q: What can you attribute to your success so far in your career?
A: Personally, I’ve always found that hard work, dedication, consistency, and perseverance to go a far way.
Q: Have you achieved everything you wanted to?
A: As a single mother, I’ve raised three children – two or whom are nurses, and one is a Doctor of Physical Therapy. This was a very important stage in my life, and I am absolutely pleased with my success – as well as the success of my children. Additionally, my achievements in my career have allowed me to support myself and my family.
Q: If you could go back and give your 20-year-old self some advice, what would you say?
A: Empowerment is key. I would tell myself to work harder, listen to other successful women and do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. Women shouldn’t always be the ones designated to stay home and take care of the kids – it’s all about finding a balance.
Thank you, Nelly, for your time and leadership!
About International Women’s Day
Dating back to 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual day of celebration to recognize women’s achievements across economics, culture, and politics. As a call to action for accelerating women’s equality, International Women’s Day provides the resources and support for all women to share their successes and #BreakTheBias.
To learn more, visit internationalwomensday.com.