Women in Business

Building Entrepreneurial Spirit One by One

In an environment where people are always asking you to do more, the fact that this company focuses on what you really want to do is refreshing.

Jan 01, 20214 minute read

While your typical high schooler today is focused on social life, homework and sports, that wasn’t the case for Nelda Cales, Area Sales Manager in North Carolina. At just 16 years old, she attained a work-study to be able to work during school hours.

Fast forward some 20 years in the financial industry and now you’ll find that same hard work ethic still rings true to this day.

“Work is the one thing I know how to do,” Nelda says.

She embarked on her career at just 18 years old working for a call center. Then, she moved to North Carolina and worked for a bank.

After a short six months in, she was offered the assistant manager position.

“I’ve been really fortunate to build trust at an early age and work with people, lead people and be seen as someone who can help manage” Nelda says. “For five years I worked in banking until a friend who worked at Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) said I really needed to get into lending as a mortgage banker.”

She was nervous about making the transition to commission only, but she was tired of answering to an Excel spreadsheet day after day logging her duties.

“Becoming a mortgage banker appealed to me, getting back the work that I put in was something I wanted. I ended up making double my income the first year doing it, and I’ve never looked back."

Nelda continued working for larger financial institutions in the lending department, then went to work at another nonbank lender. However, she didn’t see a clear path for growth until an opportunity became available at Atlantic Bay.

“I could see a wide-open opportunity with Atlantic Bay, and I thought these people really understand mortgages and everyone wants to continue to hear my ideas,” she says. “Atlantic Bay felt right. They focus on their people.”

Equipping her team for success

In January 2016, Nelda joined Atlantic Bay.

“One of the biggest differences at Atlantic Bay is that there are so many people there for you, you don’t have to do it all,” Nelda says. “In an environment where people are always asking you to do more, the fact that this company focuses on what you really want to do is refreshing."

Nelda is about as real as they come, so making sure that her team is realistic with their goals is always top of mind .

Her special sauce to coaching her team in North Carolina is to equip them with the tools they need to succeed.

She’s ensuring that they can get in front of the right people they need to by way of public speaking at networking events or just picking up the phone. She makes sure she’s supporting them from every aspect of their life, not just work.

How Nelda empowers…

“I deal with a lot of men, my team is actually predominately men and I think it’s okay to be your vulnerable self. You don’t always have to be tough. I think it’s important to be open about making mistakes, apologize for mistakes and being honest and open. As a woman, I don’t think you have to work harder necessarily but you have to be strong enough to make your mark.”

“Last year, I attended an industry event where there were 10 percent or less women . There’s definitely a lot of older men in this industry. I look for other women who are like me, and I very much connect with them. When I meet with women we usually talk about building confidence and working on becoming stronger in our business. That’s why it’s so important to support other women in this industry.”

“Generally speaking, I don’t compare myself to what other people are doing,” Nelda says. “It’s more about what can I do. There’s always this underlying tone of growth in this industry. I think it’s important to win things one by one regardless of your gender.”

Creating a Culture of Support

When her team needs her, they know she'll come through.

At Atlantic Bay, one of the pillars of support offered to mortgage bankers are non-producing sales managers who can step in and close loans when needed. Nelda recalls one of her recent mortgage bankers needing to step out of pocket for a medical procedure, but still had a commitment to close two loans.

Without hesitation, Nelda stepped in and provided support for those loans closing so her mortgage banker could focus on health and wellness.

“They depend on me,” Nelda says. “Working for them is working for their next customer. Without that, I don’t think I’ve earned my job.”

It’s not just helping them in the current, but it’s setting up a successful future that motivates Nelda in her role as a Sales Manager. “To show them the vision of being in charge of your own business and celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit gets me excited,” Nelda says. “I love watching people use the Atlantic Bay vehicle to build their own ride.”

And it doesn’t stop at the mortgage bankers’ success. The downstream impact to her team’s family continues to push Nelda in her role as a Sales Manager.

“Hearing what people are doing for their families from their business gets me excited,” Nelda says. “The day-to-day moving the notch one thing at a time is still exciting to me.”

These are personal anecdotes from each individuals experiences that are unique and not representative of Atlantic Bay's views or practices. Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, L.L.C. NMLS #72043 (nmlsconsumeraccess.org) is an Equal Opportunity Employer.