At APM, we really feel that one of the simplest ways we will honor the heritage of our APM relations throughout Black Historical past Month, is by listening and studying from the tales they share. 

Celebrating black history month

Meet Aneka Jennings, Licensed Mortgage Officer Assistant at My Miracle Mortgage, NMLS# 1711709

For Aneka Jennings, celebrating Black historical past and tradition isn’t restricted to someday or month. It’s an on a regular basis incidence she experiences by way of her love of gospel. Rising up in Mississippi as a Southern Baptist, Aneka turns to the gospel and its music anytime she is in want of inspiration or uplifting.

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Although she’s traded in Mississippi for Shoreline, Washington, the place she serves as a mortgage officer assistant and processor at My Miracle Mortgage (a DBA arm of APM), Aneka nonetheless leans on her religion and church when she wants it. She’s proud that her church throws a big Juneteenth celebration, which not solely welcomes and feeds the neighborhood, but additionally educates them in regards to the vacation and Black tradition.

This sense of neighborhood is vital to Aneka, who sees household as one in every of her largest belongings. Although she had a number of household round, she believes the bigger neighborhood performed an enormous position in elevating her. The identical held true when she had kids. Aneka is aware of lots of that is as a result of robust, highly effective ladies inside the Black neighborhood—folks like her great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, who had been capable of afford their very own houses as a result of they cleaned different folks’s.

Aneka’s mother additionally helped her see the worth of neighborhood. She at all times had an ear open when others talked, and he or she would supply gadgets or companies anonymously each time she was made conscious that somebody was in want. Aneka’s father figures had been equally community-oriented. Her dad and stepfather are each pastors, whereas her grandfather was a reverend.

Talking of her grandfather, he was the primary African American to work as a drafter for Ingalls Shipbuilding. His sketches had been used to construct ships for the Navy. Aneka’s father was additionally one of many first college students to attend a desegregated college.

Aneka strives to proceed the community-oriented, barrier-breaking legacy her household has cultivated by advocating for equality within the mortgage trade. This contains combating for all potential debtors equally, and making certain that each one races have quick access to data and mortgage service suppliers, no matter how lengthy it could take them to qualify for a mortgage.

Meet Shawn Wilson, Gross sales Chief at Dream Staff Mortgage, NMLS# 175597

Shawn Wilson is all about seeing the inherent potential in somebody and discovering a strategy to assist it. That is the stance he’s taken along with his 5 kids, and it’s the technique he employs as a mortgage officer outdoors of Baltimore. For Shawn, it’s all about creativity and discovering out what lights an individual up inside.

image001He partially attributes this ardour to his African American heritage. Shawn is proud that his tradition is steeped in so many inventive endeavors, together with inventive dance, artwork, and historic societal contributions that signify the completely different features of humanity. He additionally derives his ardour from his mother, who raised him as a single mother or father. Shawn’s mom’s love of singing and piano was evident. She handed this like to her son, who quickly started drawing portraits and enjoying percussion devices.

Other than his purchasers, his spouse of 25 years, and his kids—all of whom had been homeschooled and nonetheless pursue their particular person inventive abilities—Shawn additionally acted as a lightweight for Baltimore’s foster youth for eight years. Throughout that point, he tried to point out these kids a special lifestyle, introduce them to the advantages of prayer and religion, and assist them discover the abilities and targets that may make them shine.

There’s one acronym from that foster care company that he nonetheless makes use of along with his purchasers immediately: DREAM, or “Future realized equals achievements maximized.” Shawn begins each assembly with a possible borrower by asking what they hope to attain by shopping for a house. Generally, that will imply stepping again from the appliance course of to construct credit score or save for a bigger down fee. Actually, Shawn won’t even settle for a mortgage software on the primary go to. He says it makes shopping for a house too transactional, taking the folks and their targets out of the method. How are mortgage officers presupposed to know the precise program for the borrower, he asks, in the event that they don’t know what they’re hoping to attain?

It’s a lesson we will all take as Shawn continues to bestow his mild on his kids, his metropolis, and APM.

Meet Lisa J. Foster, Originating Department Supervisor for the APM Division, NMLS# 461656

Lisa J. Foster is a powerful proponent for data and acknowledged as a revered voice in Black management. As speedy previous president of Black Realtist® of Southern Nevada, the state chapter of the Nationwide Affiliation of Actual Property Brokers (NAREB), she is aware of the African American neighborhood should put forth the trouble to find retellings of those that have exceeded and excelled. Historical past was by no means written and taught with a really correct portrayal of African American tradition, to say the least. Lisa is conscious that this can be a downside that persists even immediately.


Although she was born and raised in Chicago, her nice grandmother owned land in Alabama at a time when Black People weren’t allowed to personal land. Her father’s historical past additionally contains kin who needed to escape the slave commerce by way of the Underground Railroad, finally winding up in Canada. Actually, Lisa’s nice grandparents had been the primary Black settlers of Niagara Falls, the place a monument nonetheless commemorates them to today.

Raised in a loving family, Lisa’s dad and mom served as her inspiration. They at all times informed her she might do something she needed to do. Her mom was the primary Black epidemiologist to be acknowledged on a nationwide scale for a management position at a serious hospital. Watching her mother working lengthy hours and devoting herself to altering communities and lives empowered Lisa to do the identical. She grew up appreciating and acknowledging Black excellence, and he or she believes that Black folks should rise and stay resilient.

Lisa notes that, like many cultures, African People are large on household and household reunions, although hers could look a bit completely different than most. Lisa and her household make it some extent to attend reunions held by the slave proprietor households that intermingled along with her personal line. For Lisa, they’re nonetheless blood, so that they’re nonetheless household. They deal with each other as household with love, kindness, and that particular closeness that household has.

In her follow as a department supervisor in Las Vegas, Lisa is particularly intentional in regards to the messaging framed towards the Black neighborhood. She believes phrases like “homeownership training” and “credit score restore” are problematic and insulting. They will convey an unintentional message that tells the listener, “You’re uneducated, unskilled, and never prepared.” As a substitute, she suggests phrases like “homeownership journey” or “credit score optimization.” That straightforward rewording, Lisa says, could make all of the distinction. She is aware of that members of her neighborhood don’t want a hero to save lots of them, as a few of these messages would possibly suggest. As a substitute, they merely need the identical alternatives afforded to everybody. And that begins with addressing them with dignity and respect.

Meet Tiffane Vaughn, HR Analyst at APM Dwelling Workplace

Tiffane Vaughn doesn’t want a motive to have a good time her tradition and roots, however when one presents itself, she’s there to take pleasure in it with associates, household, and meals. Rising up in Antioch, California, Tiffane was grateful to have most of her household close by in Sacramento and the Bay Space. This included her grandmother, whom Tiffane lived with on and off. Her grandmother supplied a substantial amount of inspiration because the household’s unbiased powerhouse, reaching all the things she needed on her personal. This served as a supply of steerage for Tiffane’s personal work ethic and success.


Although her household lives everywhere in the U.S., Tiffane is proud that 80-plus members collect collectively each Memorial Day weekend for a picnic. This permits for catching up and celebrating, along with assembly new relations. Tiffane additionally likes to have a good time Juneteenth. She appreciates that it’s turn into a extra nationally acknowledged vacation up to now few years. 

This sentiment shift aligns with Tiffane’s private views, which embody remaining curious, asking questions, and never leaping to conclusions. She believes everybody ought to decide to changing into knowledgeable and ridding themselves of any ignorance they could be holding onto.

Tiffane admits that embracing her tradition and pores and skin shade didn’t at all times come simply to her, particularly in her youthful college days. Nevertheless, with a mindset shift—and a few nice position fashions like her grandmother—Tiffane has turn into the most important proponent of “Black woman magic” as a result of she is aware of there’s nothing ladies like her can’t do.

Meet Amanda Neal, Licensed Mortgage Processor at Golden Eagle Mortgage, NMLS# 1577053

Rising up biracial, Amanda Neal felt blessed to take pleasure in one of the best features of two cultures. Music, for instance, was at all times current in her Bay Space childhood dwelling. Amanda’s dad, who’s Black, launched her to jazz, hip hop, and R&B, whereas her mom, who’s white, opened her ears to nation, rock, and delicate rock. You had been simply as more likely to hear Tupac as you had been Weapons N’ Roses.

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Even immediately, music is on the middle of the household’s get-togethers, which they name “capabilities.” That is the place Amanda, her dad and mom, and her 4 youthful siblings—along with prolonged household—collect to eat, drink, snort, and push each other to be one of the best they are often. What they had been by no means pushed to do, Amanda notes, was “decide a facet.” As a substitute, her dad and mom embraced each their cultures and inspired their kids to be true to themselves.

Nonetheless, the household by no means shied away from racial points, together with what it’s prefer to be a Black individual in immediately’s world. Amanda’s upbringing permits her to method her purchasers at Golden Eagle Mortgage, a subsidiary of APM, in the identical method. It’s been ingrained in her to deal with everybody equally. For Amanda, meaning wanting each consumer within the eye and ensuring they really feel snug, heard, and seen.

Although her dad has a grasp’s diploma and is a working towards CPA, training wasn’t on the forefront of his childhood. Amanda is aware of this is usually a pervasive subject inside the Black neighborhood, which is why she focuses on training and outreach inside her area. She strives to succeed in potential first-generation owners and to beat the limitations that forestall them from constructing wealth. Amanda continues to attend trainings and courses that enable her to greatest serve her purchasers, no matter walks of life they arrive from.

Meet Ron Bennett, Mortgage Officer for APM—Seattle, Washington, NMLS# 57792

Celebrations are large in Ron Bennett’s household. Although Kwanzaa and Juneteenth are towards the highest of his record, Ron’s favourite celebration is his mother’s birthday. She’s the individual he’s seemed as much as most, as she at all times made positive he had all the things he wanted. Her assist led to a basketball scholarship at Seattle College, which allowed Ron to turn into the primary in his household to obtain a school diploma.

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His success impressed his mother to return to highschool, acquiring a couple of levels herself. This then led Ron to pursue his MBA. Information like that is exactly what Ron shares yearly when he and his household descend upon Sandusky, Ohio, his mother’s hometown, for his or her annual household reunion. Naturally, meals is entrance and middle—and there’s no lack of expertise there. Ron’s dad was a prepare dinner within the Navy, although his brother was at all times the prepare dinner of the household. As soon as he handed, Ron’s nephew—his late brother’s son—took over that position.

Ron’s position as an APM Mortgage Advisor in Maple Valley, Washington, allowed him to get his two brothers in a house—a house they had been capable of maintain even after one of many brothers handed. That house is now a part of his brother’s legacy, one thing Ron desires for all African People. That’s why Ron makes a aware effort to companion with realtors who work in underserved Black communities. He desires to focus on the neighborhoods the place there are issues, as a result of these issues can result in alternative when residents perceive and clearly see the trail to homeownership. Ron is so obsessed with this subject that he spends his spare time educating realtors on how they will higher serve these communities.

On the APM facet, Ron appreciates how the corporate views range and appears for tactics to deliver homeownership to the Black neighborhood.

In the event you’d prefer to be taught extra about APM’s dedication to range and inclusion, go right here to examine our mission and technique.


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