March is Women’s History Month and RiskSpan is marking the occasion by sharing a short series of posts featuring advice from women leaders in our industry.

Today’s contributor is Faith Schwartz, President of Housing Finance Strategies, a strategic advisory services firm. She achieved a significant industry renown for having developed and led the HOPE NOW Alliance to unite the industry throughout the housing crisis. Faith was named among the “Most Powerful Women in Mortgage Banking” by National Mortgage Professional Magazine in 2018. She is also a HousingWire Vanguard Award winner.


Faith offers three core pieces of advice to young women (though it is applicable to everyone):

#1 – The business world is complex and there is much to learn.  Raise your hand often, be inquisitive, and always seek to understand the economics of every last detail of the business.

#2 Whatever your line of work, develop your unique expertise, develop a way to measure and report it, and share it often with those who are less knowledgeable. You will become a “go-to” resource for your colleagues.

#3 Establish yourself as an inclusive leader. So many people forget it is your peers, staff and leaders who make up the ecosystem of your company. Listen to many ideas and then come to your own conclusion. This will help you downstream as you lead new and exciting initiatives.

We also asked Faith what, if anything, she might have done differently. Her response:

My lessons learned are many: Be a better listener; think about how to most effectively communicate internally and externally – and to know the  difference. Understand the full corporate culture where you work to best adapt your own style and stay effective. Over my career, I have learned how to adapt, how to evolve in a matrixed leadership role and how to continue to be an influencer, regardless of title. To this day, I much prefer the title of “senior advisor” in most any role I play.


Our thanks to Faith for her valuable perspective!

Keep an eye on https://riskspan.com/resources/ this month for insights from other women we admire in mortgage and structured finance.


RiskSpan is proud to sponsor POWER OF VOICE BENEFIT. Girls Leadership teaches girls to exercise the power of their voice. #powerofvoice2021