Taylor Lee, Underwriter, “OppLoans has granted me so many opportunities to grow professionally and personally that I feel even more driven to help the company succeed in return.”

I started working at OppLoans two years ago as a loan advocate. After eight months, the head of our underwriting team reached out to me because she had noticed that I took meticulous notes on all my applications. Our underwriting process is an important part of the loan process, and attention to detail is one of the most important attributes that an underwriter can possess. 

Attention to detail means maintaining your focus, and that’s sneakily one of the greatest challenges of being an underwriter. If you let that focus slip, you could miss something important. You need to find ways to prevent that from happening.

I used to think the best way to go about maintaining my focus was to think about work 24/7. I figured it was hard to lose focus at your job if you weren’t making space in your brain for anything else. 

But then I signed up for a new OppLoans mentorship program offered through one of our employee-led communities, Oppt for Gender Eq(ual)ity. It changed my whole perspective and helped me to improve in both my professional and personal lives. 

Through the program, I was paired with Wendy Serafin, our vice president of communications. Wendy has been a fantastic mentor. She’s kind but gets straight to the point; she’s a superb listener who immediately keys in to what is most important. Right away, she and I clicked. 

Wendy took my “work work work” mindset and showed me that the opposite was true: One of the keys to succeeding at your job is to create space in your life — and your brain — for personal pursuits and interests. That way you give yourself time to recharge, and ultimately, you can perform at an even higher level. 

During our first meeting together, Wendy gave me a book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Donald O. Clinton and Marcus Buckingham. The book explains how focusing on your strengths often helps more than fixating on your weaknesses. It also breaks people down into two principal categories: “builders” and “maintainers.”

After I read the book, Wendy had me create a list of personal and professional goals for myself. When we dug into them, we found that I definitely fall into the “builder” category. I like creating new things from the ground up rather than maintaining things that other people have built.  

As I’ve started to pursue these outside interests in my spare time — like finishing my college degree and starting a blog — I’ve noticed an uptick in my work performance too, one that goes beyond renewed focus. OppLoans has granted me so many opportunities to grow professionally and personally that I feel even more driven to help the company succeed in return.