Fairway Independent Mortgage is once again named a top place to work!
Linda and Craig cultivate and maintain a healthy, attractive company culture that offers more than a steady paycheck
“Company Culture” is a buzzword we hear a lot these days. But what does it mean?
With an increasing number of employees working from home, leaders at organizations across the globe are brainstorming about this very question. How do you cultivate and maintain a healthy, attractive company ecosystem that offers more than a steady paycheck when everyone is so far apart? This task is often elusive, daunting, and costly to achieve —especially for large corporations. But culture has proven to be a critical factor for retaining quality talent and long-term success.
With recently being named #1 by Top Workplaces USA in 3 out of 4 categories, it appears Fairway Independent Mortgage has cracked the code.
Intrigued to find out more, we sat down with two leaders from the company’s Garland branch, The Heritage Group. Linda Davidson, Branch Manager and Senior Loan Officer, and Craig Brown, Branch Sales Manager, each had more than a few good things to say about Fairway, and how their values are aligned. At the core, its “company culture” simply translates to “taking care of people.” That core value applies to employees, clients, and business partners alike, Linda added, quoting Fairway’s tagline: “Loans are what we do, it’s not who we are.”
It all begins by looking within. Internal organizations and companywide events like Fairway Joy — an annual week devoted to kindness, joy, and service— encourage employees to sow into their communities through various projects or “anything you can think of that spreads joy,” Craig said. Designated PTO hours for every employee to donate charitable time is one way the company encourages giving back to the community. Another initiative is FairwayCares, a non-profit division of Fairway funded by employees that focuses on compassion for others, including clients, team members, partners, or even complete strangers. The kindness can be in the form of gift packages and/or financial donations according to an individual’s needs and situation.
Craig added, “One of the most telling stories of the heart of Fairway happened last March. At the beginning of the pandemic, Fairway’s CEO, Steve Jacobson, announced to the company that ‘he understood moving to a virtual environment was going to require mental and physical ﬁtness, and we need resources.’ Therefore, all 8,000+ employees at 600+ branches nationwide were invited to put in their orders for in-home gym equipment purchased by the company.” In addition, extended benefits were offered to ensure all team members and their loved ones could receive medical care pertaining to COVID-19. Additional paid time off, COVID testing, and free virtual doctor visits were some of the extras given and are still available today as the pandemic wanes. Linda and Craig agreed, in unison, that this is just a snapshot of how people are always at the forefront at Fairway.
Caring and serving people doesn’t just apply to grandiose acts of kindness, though; it’s lived out in normal, everyday actions for Linda, Craig, and the entire Fairway team. A twenty-five-year veteran in the mortgage business, with a slew of industry accolades, Linda says she never takes for granted the opportunities she has every day to change lives. Growing up in government housing with the challenges of an underserved community, one of the most rewarding aspects of her work is being able to help families break cycles — particularly cycles of limited belief. “I love to teach them that they can build equity, buy a home, and reach their goals. And if they’re not quite ready to buy, we put them on a ‘Don’t Give Up, Get Ready’ plan.” Linda said, adding, “This is an opportunity to help families build generational wealth. We get to help people become ﬁrst-generation homebuyers. One thing we say is that we help families buy houses so they can build homes — what a gift it is to be able to impact families in this way.”
“We help families buy houses so they can build homes.”
As a team, Craig and Linda embrace every moment of the adventures that Fairway oﬀers. “I’ll stop doing it when it stops being fun,” Linda said. “But it’s fun every day! You get to help families make their dreams come true. How cool is that?” As individuals, they each embody humble tenacity, which mirrors the way they describe corporate leadership with Fairway. Perhaps it’s a trickle-down system, but I’m more inclined to believe it’s natural to them.
The easy-going, good-natured spirit that Craig and Linda exude is only disrupted by the topic of helping others grow. They each take on a serious tone when describing the protective nature they feel for their clients and the lengths to which they’ll go to ensure their clients and partners are receiving more than what they thought possible. “We offer our clients the catalyst for generational wealth,” Craig noted. “We just want to help people break barriers. That’s a huge honor.” Craig brings a particularly keen eye to the table with continuous improvements in branch processes and fostering personal development. He is hands-on, ensuring every team member is mentored, trained, and motivated to their highest potential.
The pride when Linda and Craig speak about the Fairway Heritage team shines bright. They beam when talking about their colleagues that have been able to change the trajectories of their lives, thanks to the growth and development Fairway and their team provides. It’s evident that the quality care extended to clients stems from the people they are in the trenches with each day. Exceptional service is a full circle, it starts from the very top.
The duo is in sync in their respective roles, working together like a fine-tuned instrument, reflected in the Heritage Group’s success. “It’s a season of growth,” they noted, “we’re excited to fortify and expand the branch’s team, with strong LO’s and unparalleled support.” The branch has grown exponentially over the last year, partly because “We provide in-house processing, marketing, closing, dedicated underwriters and all the necessary resources to afford each individual with maximum potential for success.” added Craig. And as more employees emerge from the depths of their virtual oﬃces, leaders across the board could take a lesson from Craig and Linda — and the entire Fairway family of 10,000 and growing — when it comes to shaping oﬃce culture, equipping a strong team, and making work enjoyable.
If you’re a Realtor interested in learning more about working with Fairway Heritage Group, email email@example.com. If you’re a loan oﬃcer interested in joining the team, visit WhyFairway.com