The theme of this year’s Five Star Conference and Expo was “Rise Above,” and the event certainly reached new heights in 2018. Billed as “an integral source of information, collaboration, and progression for the housing and mortgage industry,” Five Star’s 15th annual conference lived up to the hype. Aspen was a star sponsor, and we had a busy three days of events, meetings, and fantastic opportunities to celebrate the heroic work of the U.S. military.
Private reception for veterans
Sunday’s first event was the Single Family Rental Roundtable, followed by key FORCE networking events. Mindful of the immense contribution that our military heroes make to this country, Aspen was proud to host a private reception for veterans that evening. Operation Homefront CEO John I. Pray Jr., Brig Gen (ret), USAF, addressed the military families assembled. Operation Homefront provides emergency financial, housing and supportive family services to military and veteran families.
Sean Ryan Speaks at Servicing & Compliance Lab
The Legal League 100 Fall Servicer Summit took up Monday morning, with the American Mortgage Diversity Council Fall Meeting taking place after lunch. Later that afternoon, top mortgage servicing professionals presented new strategies to enhance operations, manage costs, service homeowners, and safeguard portfolios from embedded risk at the Servicing & Compliance Lab.
Aspen CEO Sean Ryan was among the speakers, as were representatives of Auction.com, Fannie Mae, Mr. Cooper, Freddie Mac, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, and EY. Topics for discussion included the state of the servicing industry, the outlook for the year ahead, current rules and regulations governing the industry, and the influence of innovation on servicing. Speaking about technology, Sean Ryan pointed out that “apps like Amazon, Uber, Spotify—those are the types of experiences consumers are looking for, and that is what we must try to provide.”
Keys for Life Reception
Later that evening, Aspen was delighted to co-host the Keys for Life reception, an annual favorite that pays tribute to the exceptional bravery and sacrifice of U.S. military veterans and their families.
Five Star presented its Lifetime Achievement award to two recipients: the late Robert Klein of Safeguard Properties and Caliber Home Loans’ Marion McDougall.
Then came the event that gives Keys for Life its name: the gifting of mortgage-free homes to five U.S. military veterans and their families, thanks to JPMorgan Chase, Auction.com, and Operation Homefront.
With singer Leann Rimes providing the entertainment (as well as five signed guitars that were auctioned in aid of Operation Homefront), the evening ended on a high note.
Women in Housing Lunch
The highlight of Tuesday’s event for Aspen was the Women in Housing Banquet, which we co-hosted with Freddie Mac, McCalla Raymer Leibert Pierce, and Weathercheck. This is the first year of the event, but, judging by its success, it looks like a tradition that will continue. Celebrating the achievements of women in the mortgage servicing and housing industries, it saw five business leaders receive the 2018 Women in Housing Leadership Awards, the Keystones.
In his opening address at the banquet, Ed Delgado, President and CEO, Five Star Institute said that the inaugural Keystone awards celebrated the leadership of the women in the industry. “Our business is complemented by women who exemplify characteristics that strengthen and support the industry through their leadership,” Delgado said.
The Rising Business Leader Award honors individuals with under a decade of consecutive industry experience who have shown an exceptional ability to lead and drive progress. It went to Courtney Thompson, Director, Default Oversight and Operations, at Flagstar Bank.
The Cultural Leader Award went to Charmaine Brown, Diversity Director at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Fannie Mae. Miriam Moore, who is Division President at ServiceLink, took home the Keystone for Community Leadership. The Diversity and Inclusion Award was presented to Susan Somersille Johnson, CMO, SunTrust.
Marcia Davies, COO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, was honored with the Laurie A. Maggiano Legacy Award, which was named after the late industry icon whose illustrious career had a huge influence on housing. The banquet also featured a keynote address by Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States (2000-2009).
These are just some of the key events in which Aspen had a leading role. The conference also proved to be a richly rewarding experience in terms of networking and educational opportunities. We’re already looking forward to next year.