Q: What is your current role and what do you do day-to-day?
I am the founder and CEO of Cardinal Capital Group. We are a private money lender based out of the Northeast with creative financing for many different loan products. We have created seamless systems and processes to get a loan from start to finish quickly. My day-to-day consists of calls with clients, team meetings, underwriting loans, and reviewing our pipeline. Additionally, I spend ample time managing the market and maintaining our relationships with fund investors and capital markets.
Q: Why did you chose to enter this industry?
I knew I was meant for this industry the moment I discovered it. As a child, my father’s passion was building homes. I loved watching the homes evolve from nothing to something incredible. My passions were business and finance. I thought I wanted to be a realtor, but it did not feel quite right. When I realized what private money lending was, I knew it was the right fit. This industry allowed me to marry all my passions into one career. I find immense joy in helping people and working in the realm of underwriting real estate, and the private money lending industry allows me to do both.
Q: What excites you about your role today?
Everything excites me about my role. This career, and this company, is my dream job. I love nothing more than helping my clients grow and cultivating a team that thrives.
Q: Can you explain a time where you faced adversity or had struggles early on in your career? Where did it all begin? How did these experiences mold and shape you into the leader that you are today?
There was a ton of planning that went into launching Cardinal Capital Group. Even though I had already faced adversity being one of the only female-owned private lending companies, I still managed to launch Cardinal. A few days after the company broke into the market, I experienced a tragic family loss. Since I was the President and Founder, there was no turning work off. However, this struggle forced me to have perspective, prioritize necessary tasks, focus on the objectives that had to be done in a timely fashion, and filter out what was unimportant. This event showed my team that we will thrive and grow a successful company, while staying grounded and remembering family comes first. My relationships grew with my clients as well. I believe the vulnerability I showed at that time took courage but allowed me to create a company that
Q: Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself at the beginning of your career?
If I could go back and tell myself anything in my early career, it would be that you will learn more from the failures than the successes. I remember when I would spend countless hours working on a loan, only to have it slip away at the last moment. My view on these circumstances has shifted, and I see these as par for the course in this industry. However, I can say those lost loans, changes in the market, and rejections from initial investors made me who I am today. Another message I would pass on to my younger self would be not to be so hard on myself and continue to improve while having a growth mindset.
Q: Who is someone that has had a significant effect on your career and why?
The person who had the most notable impact on my career is Ben Stoodley with Best Lending Co and Aero Lend Software. When we first met, he was a private lender in San Diego. His company needed a business and marketing director, so I took that job and found myself very interested in what private money was. He was the first person to teach me how to calculate LTV, etc. and the rest is history from there. His passion and knowledge for the industry was what really motivated me. He was a phenomenal teacher, wonderful colleague, and great friend.
Q: What has been your favorite aspect of being in private lending over the years?
My favorite aspect has been the impact our loans have on the communities, and of course, my clients. I have a passion for helping others, and I enjoy watching communities and homes change for the better. Knowing that our loans have provided housing in multiple communities brings me immense joy and contentment. Seeing the clusters of communities go from run-down, uninhabitable buildings to impressive new structures is rewarding. The feedback we receive from our developers and the communities brings my team immeasurable satisfaction.
Q: What would you consider to be the highlight of your career thus far?
The highlight of my career was launching Cardinal Capital Group and becoming one of the largest woman-owned private lending companies in the country. I often think back to when I was one of only ten women in a conference room filled to the brim with men, and my fellow female colleagues were hesitant to branch out in the industry due to being outnumbered. However, I took this as a challenge. Launching this company in a largely man-filled sector was no easy feat, and the societal expectations and beliefs about a woman’s leadership abilities was something I was not immune to. Nevertheless, I stood my ground and have created a company I am immensely proud of.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about your job? Least?
I enjoy underwriting loans, helping clients grow their portfolios, and looking at real estate nationwide. On a larger scale, I love creating systems and processes that this company and my clients can rely on. I believe it is important to be able to provide products that we can stand behind. What I enjoy the least about my job is feeling like there is never enough time in the day.
Q: How do you make sure your company stays ahead in this industry?
One of the main ways our company stays ahead is the daily meetings we have on our processes to ensure we are constantly improving them and adjusting them as needed. We are young and innovative and are adamantly trying to make the private money lending space easy and efficient for developers to grow successfully. I know some of the oldest and most reputable lenders in the private lending world. They have taught me many important lessons which I implement alongside what my team and I believe is best for our company. Creating and forging a path that aligns with your company’s core beliefs is vital to your success.
Q: What tools do you use to aid you in your role to be most efficient, organized, and focused?
There are systems in place to make sure our team stays organized. We communicate daily via Google Meets, in order to stay on top of the changes that quickly pop up on nearly every deal. Our team has been impacted by COVID much like many others worldwide, and we rely solely on technology to stay in constant communication. The face-to-face daily meetings truly help our team to stay on track and hold one another accountable despite some of our team being remote. We work diligently to remain efficient so that nothing falls through the cracks.
Q: Has your role changed significantly to address the current environment?
I am spending much more time assessing the market, and there are many things I must consider daily. I keep my ear to the ground to do my fiduciary duty to my investors and clients as changes occur. It is times like these that it is important to “ride the wave” and remain knowledgeable of what is going on. I remember when COVID first hit and how stressful it was for the industry at first, but that adversity helped me grow in my role and improve as a business owner and leader of my company.
Q: What do you believe to be the best type of real estate investment opportunity available today and why? Do you feel that there will be any changes to the marketplace in 2022 in terms of investment opportunities?
This question is difficult for me, as I believe there is an array of lucrative investments that one can make. I am a strong believer in fix and flip investments. The real estate market has boomed in the last few years, and I believe there is a lower risk to put your money into a short-term product and capitalize on how high the real estate has been selling for. I think there will be some slight changes in the future, but those changes will provide opportunities for more creative financing.
Q: Is time or money more valuable and why?
In my opinion, time is more valuable than money. Money is worth nothing if you have no time, as life is precious. I once read a quote that deeply resonated with me: “if we treated time like money, how would you spend your currency every day?” I believe it is key to do what you love, and if you can make money from it, that is just a bonus.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who has just started out in private lending?
My advice to someone just starting in this industry is to believe in yourself and never give up. As a woman, it took time for people to take me seriously in this male-dominated industry. However, I kept my eye on my goal to launch and maintain an efficient and innovative private lending company.