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Kourtney Vest | Head of Marketing and Development | CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC

Beyond Mortgages: Kourtney Vest’s Inspiring Leadership Journey

Kourtney Vest is the driving force behind CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC‘s marketing and development endeavours. Kourtney’s journey isn’t merely a tale of career advancement—it is a story of her steadfast dedication to education and empowerment. Having embarked on her career as a graphic designer within the marketing team, Kourtney’s ascent to the position of Head of Marketing and Development has been defined by her acute understanding of the company’s diverse needs. She emphasizes, without directly stating, that her central focus lies in equipping others for success.

With a sharp eye for recognizing gaps within the organization, Kourtney strategically addresses these needs, transcending departmental boundaries. Her passion for education is all-encompassing, she believes in imparting knowledge to borrowers, loan officers and even strangers on the street, empowering them to make informed decisions that secure the best outcomes for their families.

At CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC, Kourtney embodies the essence of their vision: to become the most referred mortgage lender, leaving a lasting impact on the communities they serve. She is not just a part of the team; she’s a vital catalyst for their mission. Working with over 7,000 dedicated professionals, Kourtney is part of a collective of doers, innovators and mortgage makers, each contributing significantly to the company’s success.

Connected by a shared culture and proven through stellar performance, Kourtney and her team at CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC celebrate victories both big and small. From hosting community events to their annual Sales Rally, the spirit of camaraderie prevails, fostering an environment where every success is cherished.

Let’s delve into a narrative of shared values, education, empowerment, and community impact!

Thriving Amidst Chaos

Kourtney, a graphic designer turned industry expert, whose journey began over five years ago. Back then, she confesses, “I didn’t know the difference between a purchase and a refinance.” Little did she know that this lack of knowledge would fuel her determination to create a real impact in the field.

As Kourtney delved deeper into the mortgage industry, she realized the prevalence of misinformation surrounding rates and industry practices. Fueled by a desire to bridge this gap, she recounts, “I wanted to make sure people weren’t misled, especially by the media and uneducated sources.” Her turning point arrived amidst the chaos of the pandemic. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the industry experienced an unprecedented 200% surge. For Kourtney, failure wasn’t an option, it was a time for her to adapt and thrive.

Driven by this determination, Kourtney shifted gears from her role in marketing to training and recruitment. The goal was clear—ensuring the team was not only appropriately staffed but also equipped to provide high-level support, even while working remotely. “There was no room for error,” she states.

A little over a year ago, Kourtney’s journey took an exciting turn when she joined CrossCountry Mortgage. Here, she discovered a technological marvel that transformed the way tasks were handled. “The technological advantages were mind-blowing,” she exclaims, marveling at the efficiency gains. Tasks that once demanded manpower could now be streamlined through cutting-edge technology.

With her newfound expertise and the innovative tools at her disposal, Kourtney’s focus has shifted. She is now passionate about sharing CrossCountry Mortgage’s core values and technological prowess with fellow industry professionals. Her mission is clear, “I want other producers to know, and be able to benefit from, how much easier our system works here.”

Unapologetically Authentic

In the competitive realm of sales, where authenticity often takes a back seat to closing deals, there’s a refreshing presence—Kourtney. With resolute confidence, she asserts, “I am unapologetically myself.” In a world where many might compromise to make a sale, Kourtney finds strength in staying true to her values. For her, it’s about educating and bringing genuine value to prospects and clients.

In her team, there’s no room for negativity. Kourtney is clear, “I don’t hire or work with assholes.” Her branch thrives on a self-sourced, customer-centric approach seeking individuals who align with their core values. They aim to uplift, placing people in better positions professionally.

Kourtney’s honesty sets her apart. She declares, “I am a straight shooter.” Her colleagues and clients appreciate her candour knowing they can always rely on her for the unvarnished truth. Unlike recruiters who use tales to entice, Kourtney stands firm. “I’m not the recruiter that is going to tell you what I think you want to hear.”

In a world rife with broken promises and illusions, Kourtney stands as a living embodiment of reliability. Her word is her bond and she emphasizes, “If I tell you I’m going to do something, I deliver.” Her steadfast approach not only builds trust but also sets a standard in an industry where integrity can be a rare commodity.

Complementing Processes with Tech

Kourtney’s approach is crystal clear, “Our model is coaching and development.” Her team is made up of self-sourced loan officers who understand the value of cultivating strong relationships with referral partners. They consistently outperform offerings from internet lenders like Rocket Mortgage, proving that the personal touch still reigns supreme.

Kourtney recognizes that buying a home is one of life’s most significant financial decisions and trust is paramount in the same. She astutely observes, “People want to work with someone they trust.” In an era where new mortgage technologies continually emerge, Kourtney’s perspective is grounded. “We should be using technology to complement our processes, not replace them,” she stresses.

Part of her role involves rigorously vetting the effectiveness of new technologies and then rolling them out to the team with best practices. Kourtney firmly believes in the enduring importance of human involvement in the mortgage process.

However, she also champions the idea that loan officers who harness technology to optimize their time and enhance customized customer service will thrive. She succinctly sums it up, “The loan officers who can leverage technology to provide a higher level of customized customer service will be the ones that succeed.”

In Trust We Prosper

Kourtney reflects on her journey, grateful to be part of a team where gender is never a hurdle: “I have been very fortunate to be on a team of men that have never made me feel like being a woman is something I had to overcome.” In an industry where monumental financial decisions are made daily, she understands the significance of trust.

For her, it’s about connections, “People work with whom they know, like and trust.” With dedication, Kourtney focuses on building trust through her expertise. Her gender is irrelevant —what matters is her commitment: “My team trusts that I’m going to do my job to the best of my ability and the fact that I’m a woman isn’t a factor.” In a world where merit and dedication triumph, Kourtney is a witness to the power of professionalism and trust transcending gender boundaries in the business landscape.

Empowered Teams, Lasting Impact

Kourtney underscores the importance of urgency, “Sense of urgency,” she exclaims. Their branch’s invaluable asset is the unparalleled support they offer, made possible by a meticulous hiring process. Kourtney’s commitment shines through in her pursuit for the perfect match: “We’re determined to put the right butt in the right seat the first time.”

Recognizing the industry’s rapid pace, she seeks individuals capable of seamless adaptation, “Whether on the marketing team or a loan teamyou have to efficiently roll with the punches.” While skills can be taught, Kourtney values qualities like fortitude and strong character. In a world where every moment matters, her approach ensures their team is primed to tackle challenges, providing steady support for their producers.

Empowering Futures

Grateful for her team’s shared perspective on growth, Kourtney reflects, “I’m extremely fortunate that our team views personal and professional development the same way.” Their culture values more than just work connections fostering deep relationships. Kourtney credits her boss for providing essential tools and guidance: “My boss has always given me the tools and advice to grow.”

As a dedicated reader, she delves into two development books annually, believing in building leaders, “Part of leadership is building other leaders.” Through mentoring and guiding others, she finds personal growth, stating, “I feel like I’m learning to be a better leader as well.”

Kourtney attributes her effective leadership to the exemplary guidance she receives, affirming, “I am led well and that allows me to lead well.” In this symbiotic relationship between learning and teaching, Kourtney thrives, a testament to the power of mentorship and continuous self-improvement.

Beyond Words

Recognizing the diversity in communication styles, Kourtney shares her insight: “Everybody communicates differently.” In her early days, she admits to a one-size-fits-all approach, hindering her effectiveness. Now, their onboarding process incorporates DISC and personality testing, a practice she believes is transformative, “It has been a game changer for retention and overall morale.” Understanding how their team members prefer to be communicated with fosters a more supportive environment.

Kourtney advocates tailoring management and leadership styles to individuals and she says, “It’s much easier to make progress when you’re tailoring your approach to the recipient and not just doing things the same way for everyone.” By embracing these personalized methods, Kourtney ensures effective communication boosting team cohesion and productivity.

Mentorship Manifesto

Kourtney advocates for a crucial step in professional growth: “I always recommend that new and even seasoned professionals, find a mentor.” To her, mentorship is invaluable. In a world brimming with successful individuals, she highlights the willingness to help, “There are a ton of outstanding high-quality individuals that are already successful in this field and are willing to help.”

While there’s no shortcut to success, Kourtney firmly believes in the power of intentional connections, “You can definitely expedite your path by intentionally surrounding yourself with people that are already doing it better than you.” By seeking guidance and learning from those who have mastered the ropes, individuals can navigate their career journeys more effectively. This piece of advice is applicable to professionals at any stage.

Rising Above

In the midst of challenging times in the mortgage industry, Kourtney acknowledges the headwinds, saying, “The mortgage industry is tough right now and there is a lot of production that is leaving the business.” Looking ahead, their primary focus in the next 12-48 months is recruitment, with marketing strategies taking center stage. Kourtney’s overarching goal remains steadfast: “My main goal is to put people in a better position.”

Amidst industry layoffs and closures, their branch stands out, emphasizing operational strength and firm support. “Our branch has unparalleled operational strength and is still focused on offering the high-level support that loan officers need to succeed, not cutting the support to save money.” In a landscape where many are retreating, Kourtney’s team is resolute in their commitment to helping professionals thrive, a testimony to their enduring dedication and determination.

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