I knew that I wanted to be in real estate finance. That’s because, for me, success in life starts with having a safe and healthy home. I grew up in a small town on the Mississippi coast, and we lived in apartments a lot. That led to an interest in multifamily.

I graduated from Columbia University in New York right after the Great Recession, and I was working for a small consulting firm on Wall Street when I learned about Lument. It had the profile I was looking for — an entrepreneurial middle-market company that was working in the agency space.

When I interviewed for an analyst position with Steve Cox, a managing director in originations, I felt he and I meshed well — and that he would be someone I could look up to and seek help from when I needed it. He evidently saw something in me he liked as well. I started with Lument in November 2011.

The people I worked with on a daily basis were great teachers. They had a ton of patience, but also high expectations. Everyone around the company is more than willing to answer questions, make time, and share insights and information. They all want you to be successful.

It has been a great experience. Because I was working side by side with industry veterans, I could listen to the way they handled things on calls and how they moved the deals along. There are a lot of little things you learn. I was able to pick up on what they were doing and mold it so that it fit me.

In 2014, Lument gave me the opportunity to go down to Miami and help start our South Florida office. Starting an office from scratch could be scary, but I knew that we would be a great team. It’s worked out very well.

When Lument formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce this year, I joined. I have always felt really supported by everyone at Lument, so I think diversity is the challenge here, not inclusion. Diversity is an issue across our industry. Because we have the backing of the highest levels of leadership, I know we are going to make progress. I see us becoming a more diverse company in the next five years and even more successful because of that.