Ewunike N. Brady, VP, African American Segment Strategy Leader

Women’s History Month is an outstanding opportunity to celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of female leaders across Wells Fargo who are helping shape the future of housing. These extraordinary women stand ready to drive changes that will push the business forward and provide homeownership opportunities for more customers, particularly those in diverse communities. One notable Wells Fargo Home Lending executive, Ewunike N. Brady, is a perfect example to be highlighted this year.

Brady has 15 years of mortgage experience, with a focus on consulting with correspondent clients to increase opportunities for low-to-moderate income and multi-cultural homeowners. Through her experiences, she has built a strong understanding of the industry and how to help grow this segment of the business. She is also a certified Freddie Mac CreditSmart® Trainer and has been heavily involved in the mortgage industry, including time as a Maryland Mortgage Bankers and Brokers Association Board Member, Marketing Chair, and Future Leaders Co-chair. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

The following is a profile interview that was conducted with Ewunike N. Brady:

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is being part of the change. I have two quotes on my wall in my office as a reminder that I have critical work to do: “Be the change you wish to see” and “Create the things you wish existed.” African American Homeownership rates are at our Nation’s lowest since the 1968 Fair Housing Act was established. As an industry, we are at a place and a time where the work that we are doing is laying the foundation for the next era in the mortgage and finance industry, where equitable access to housing is a priority. Being able to have insight and contribute to increasing homeownership rates in the African-American community is an honor, and it is a privilege for me to do this work.

What are the values and behaviors that affect you as a professional?

My values are being authentic and connecting with people in a transparent way. I get to know the people I work with and accomplish incredible results for our community. Having personal connections makes the work take on a persona, it allows you to connect deeper and have a greater sense of accountability.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

It is a good time to reflect and really think about the impacts of the work that women in all walks of life, in all industries are doing to make progress. There is a lot of work that still needs to be accomplished together and we need to keep celebrating these wins alongside continuing with highlighting opportunities to engage even further. Women’s History Month is an opportunity to amplify the conversation around equity, celebrate achievements, and keep moving the needle forward.

What message do you have for other who are looking to advance their careers?

Be in charge of your narrative. Tell your story, and share your aspirations with others. People want to see you succeed and want to be part of contributing to your advancement.

Why is diversity and inclusion in the work place important for you?

There is no one size fits all for any of the work that we do in diversity, equity and inclusion, with equity being a key component in this conversation. When you intentionally insert DE&I work into the culture of an organization, it comes through in the products and the services that you produce, it comes through in the way that you message, it becomes part of the core values in the workplace. It is important that we support DE&I work – not just in soundbites but in our day-to-day actions.

Share with us your words of wisdom/advice for women of color in the workplace?

My advice would be to learn healthy habits early and exercise them often. At the forefront, I highly recommend building a circle of influence of dynamic individuals that can pour into your growth, learnings, and opportunities. Lean into help. We all need someone to assist us along our journey. Learn to ask for help and graciously accept it.

What is the best advice you have received?

You must stay present in the moment no matter the circumstances. In both the good and in the challenging moments you need to be present, engaged, and willing to step up. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines, but the real impact happens in the trenches. To be actively involved, you have to dig deep and contribute to be part of the solution.

Who is your hero?

At different phases of my life, I would have answered this question differently. I think of heroes as people who motivate you and inspire you. Unequivocally my daughter is my hero. In her mighty five years of life, there is such a joy and innocence that you see through a child’s perspective. She empowers me to be my best self. She is my motivation behind the work I lead in advancing homeownership. I want her experiences with purchasing a home to be an enhanced experience, and not one reminiscent of the experiences and inequities wrought in her parents’ or grandparents’ experiences.

How do you advance/propel fellow women colleagues?

Actively and authentically, support the work that fellow women colleagues are doing. I often find having real heart-to-heart non-work related conversations letting other women know that you understand their story and you appreciate their efforts goes along way. I get to know my colleagues on a personal level, and not just in a working relationship. We all have things that we are dealing with, dreams, aspirations, and challenges. Finding a common ground that we can relate to one another goes much further and fosters positive relationships where you can then begin to do difficult work together. It’s also important that you make space to be human, to be empathetic and then also to celebrate each other‘s victories.

How do you ensure your organization and its activities are aligned with your core values?

Occupy those roles in which you can be that decision maker and if you are not able to hold that leader title then you need to be a leader in how you influence the work that you manage. You align with your core values by leading by example. Your actions create a visual representation of those core values – they show up in how you conduct yourselves in meetings, how you present your work, the ways that you engage partners and partnerships, this even extends to how you conduct yourself outside of the walls of your office. Your core values are anchored in what is authentically you.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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