We are thrilled to announce that our 2024 Kim Newby Heart of a Champion award winner is Margaret Carley (Sr. Product Specialist).
Margaret is our fourth recipient of the Kim Newby Heart of a Champion award, which was introduced in 2021. This internal recognition is given to a Waterstone Mortgage employee at the beginning of each year.
Named after our former SVP – Product Development & Investor Relations, Kim Newby, who passed away in 2023 after a courageous battle with cancer, the Kim Newby Heart of a Champion award honors a Waterstone Mortgage employee who:
- Exemplifies caring, concern, and commitment to their teammates at an extraordinary level
- Represents Waterstone Mortgage internally and externally with grace and dignity
- Authentically takes the time to make a difference in their teammates' lives
Overall, the Kim Newby Heart of a Champion Award was designed to honor someone who brings purpose, authenticity, enthusiasm, and positive energy to the workplace… and we couldn’t think of a more worthy recipient than Margaret!
A Dedicated Problem-Solver
As our Sr. Product Specialist, Margaret is the go-to gal for all information related to our mortgage products and programs. She oversees our Loan Scenario Desk (also known as Product 411) and helps our loan originators decipher challenging situations for potential homebuyers. Basically, if our team members have a question about loan guidelines, tricky loan scenarios, or more, Margaret offers a wealth of expertise and information.
“Margaret works with almost every person in origination and production at Waterstone Mortgage,” says Cindy Mitchell (Processing Manager, Gilbert, AZ). “She answers every email and question with a thoughtful, well-researched answer. Her knowledge of our products is second to none. She treats every person and question with grace.”
What’s more, Margaret is exceptionally gifted at working with others, even when the inevitable pressures of deadlines cause challenges.
“She is skilled at handling the individual personalities involved and does the utmost to keep everyone's stress at a minimum,” Cindy says. “And she is always kind. It does not matter if she is helping the newest loan originator with the most basic questions, or a seasoned person with a very complex situation. She wants everyone at Waterstone Mortgage to succeed, and she does all that she can to help make that happen.”
Margaret’s manager, Jennifer George (VP – Investor Relations & Credit Policy), echoes a similar sentiment when talking about Margaret’s strengths:
“Margaret’s passion for helping people is evident in the mantra she has become known for: ‘I won’t tell you no. I’ll show you how.’ No words have more truly been spoken,” Jennifer explains. “Margaret understands the hurdles our loan officers experience every day and understands the challenges our borrowers face. She diligently looks for solutions in every situation because of her passion to help put homeowners into homes or help them improve their situations. She doesn’t do it for the glory or the accolades. She does it because she genuinely cares about every individual.”
As a talented problem-solver, Margaret finds joy in the day-to-day complexities of her job. “Every day is a new challenge — you never know what you’re going to get!” she says with a laugh. “I always challenge myself to find a way to make the most difficult loan scenario work. When I can take a loan that another lender denied and find a way to say ‘yes’ to that customer, I take a lot of pride in that.”
A Well-Respected and Valued Colleague
Margaret is also known for her contagiously positive attitude. Despite the challenges that our industry brings, she brings a smile and an optimistic outlook to the workplace each day.
“Margaret’s love of Waterstone Mortgage and her commitment to all of us can be felt by everyone in the company, and even by our external partners. She’s well respected by colleagues and lending partners alike,” Jennifer says. “Margaret exudes empathy and compassion as she understands that each and every inquiry she receives not only impacts the families looking for these opportunities, but also the families of every Waterstone employee.”
A Seasoned Mortgage Professional
Margaret has worked in the mortgage industry for 35+ years, so she truly understands the nature of our work. As our mortgage product, program, and pricing specialist, she is a key contributor to our organization’s success. She also is highly involved in the development of our product-based marketing content and is an effective trainer on new and existing loan programs.
Originally, Margaret was interested in becoming a loan originator, before realizing her talents were better suited for a “behind the scenes” role.
“I respect our sales team and understand the challenges they deal with on a day-to-day basis,” Margaret says. “The best thing I can do for them is to help them be successful, because I couldn’t do what they do.”
A Testament to Her Mentor
Interestingly, for over 20 years, Margaret was mentored by Kim Newby, who inspired this award's creation. They worked in the industry together for many years prior to joining Waterstone Mortgage. In 2014, Kim came to our company as VP – QC & Investor Relations, and Margaret joined shortly after — in January 2015.
“Kim had a lot of confidence in me, even more than I did in myself,” Margaret says. “I learned the things I know today from her. That’s why this award is so meaningful to me — because I had a very special connection with Kim. She brought me to Waterstone, and that was the best gift that anyone could have given me. I love this company, and I’ve never worked anywhere like here; Kim gave me that gift.”
Another little-known fact: Margaret is affectionately known as “Maggie” to many of our team members here at Waterstone Mortgage — and Kim was originally the one who coined this nickname for her.
A Worthy Recipient
Aside from her sterling accomplishments in the mortgage industry, Margaret has also led what many would consider to be a successful and meaningful life outside the workplace. She and her husband of 37 years, John, have three children (John Ryan, Cailin, and Lauren) and one grandson, Nolan, who is “the love of my life,” Margaret says.
Margaret enjoys horse racing and is a huge Kentucky Derby fan. She is also an animal-lover and has adopted many rescue dogs over the years. For 42 years, Margaret has also volunteered for Milwaukee’s Irish Fest — leading dispatching efforts, answering calls, overseeing the lost and found, and handling security issues.
Overall, Margaret has made an authentic difference in the lives of many people around her — both professionally and personally.
“I cannot think of a more deserving individual for this honor than Margaret,” Jennifer George says. “She’s the shining example of the type of person I strive to be every day… serving our employees and their communities with all the love in her heart by finding ways to make the dream of homeownership a reality. What better way to honor both Kim and Margaret than to present this award to someone who so graciously carries on Kim’s legacy every day!”