To help our members get to know one another, NRMLA will publish periodic Member Spotlights that feature professionals from across the reverse mortgage ecosystem.
Meet Melanie Parks, Vice President of National Field Sales, at Longbridge Financial, LLC. Melanie has been focusing on helping people attain a more financially secure retirement since 2003. Starting out as a Reverse Mortgage loan officer, she directly assisted hundreds of senior homeowners to unlock equity in their homes and secure a less stressful retirement. Through her efforts with homeowners, Melanie quickly became a Top Producing Reverse Mortgage Loan Officer in the San Diego market. In 2013, Melanie brought her experience to American Advisors Group as Vice President of National Field Sales where she led the company’s west coast sales presence. After nine years with AAG, Melanie joined Longbridge Financial to launch their new National Field Sales Division as its Vice President. In this role, Melanie continues to build the National Field Sales team and works tirelessly to equip them with resources they need to be successful.
How did you get into the reverse mortgage world?
I was introduced to reverse mortgages by a friend who was a financial advisor. He said he was working with Monte Rose and Monte was taking a management position in Irvine and so there would be a vacancy. At the time I was an office manager for two successful ValPak Coupon franchises in San Diego and not looking for a career change. When the advisor mentioned “reverse mortgage” I said, “no thanks, isn’t that where the bank takes the home?” The Advisor chuckled a little and told me to research online and come back to him if I was interested in a conversation with Monte. I did some research and the first thing I thought was “why doesn’t my grandmother know about this?” Twenty years later, I could not be happier with the decision I made to shift my career to this life changing industry!
Who has been your mentor in your career? How has their work impacted yours?
I have had so many mentors in my 20-year career, so it’s hard to pin it down to one, so I’ll go with the top 2. Monte Rose showed me the way in which to approach the sales aspect. Monte believed in me coming in as a 27-year-old female into a male dominated industry. It was very intimidating to join a new hire class where the majority of the class was in their upper 50s-60s but Monte showed me that by focusing on the “why” and knowing my product was the way to success. Gordon Jaus gave me my first opportunity to lead a team. It’s funny, but the first time I approached Gordon about a management position after being a top producer for three straight years he told me “no.” He went on to say I wasn’t ready just yet and that I needed to get some experience in managing first. Gordon allowed me to start a mentorship in which I took new loan officers and did ride a longs and taught them the business. After about a year of mentoring, I approached him again and he gave me the opportunity to start with a small team in Central CA. From there, I have learned so much about the industry and how to lead through the various leaders I have had along the way and then not to mention the team that I work with. I’m a firm believer that every person I cross paths with I can learn something from and apply it to what I do. My goal on a daily basis is to remove obstacles and strategize ways to allow the team to succeed at a higher level than what they could achieve alone.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies or pursuits?
I love spending time with my family and friends in my spare time. That includes traveling, hiking, skiing and concerts. One of our favorite things to do is decorate our house for all the holidays—Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For Christmas, we start decorating the house the week before Thanksgiving 😊
What has been your favorite NRMLA event and why?
It’s so hard to choose a favorite, but I think I’ll go with the San Antonio, TX event a few years back. The location, things to do around the area as well as the large turnout ended up a great time! Not only is NRMLA important for the content and support of our small industry, but being able to be at the same location with all of your colleagues from all around the country and lenders. One of my favorite parts of NRMLA is just that!