March is Women’s History Month, and we are celebrating by showcasing some of our amazing team members! We asked women across our organization to reflect on their careers, accomplishments, and what Women’s History month means to them. Throughout the month, we’ll be highlighting their answers on our blog and social media channels.
Yazmin Palacios is the AVP of Real Estate Operations for Amplify and has been with the credit union for over eleven years. With a career in real estate that spans over seventeen years and multiple senior management roles, she is an incredible reservoir of expertise. Yazmin is skilled in all facets of Real Estate Lending, including Loan Origination, Operations, and Leadership.
We asked her some questions surrounding her career, her experience at Amplify, and her thoughts on Women’s History Month. The following are her responses to these questions.
Why did you choose your profession?
I always like to say that this profession chose me! My background was in accounting before I stumbled across mortgage. When I moved to Austin in 2003, I took an opportunity to work with a small mortgage broker handling accounting and receptionist duties. About a few weeks into my new job, one of the loan processors in our office went home sick, and I was asked if I could help out with her pipeline. I jumped in and was completely intrigued by the inner workings of the mortgage loan process and thought to myself, this is fun, I can do this, this is what I should be doing! It was then that I realized that working in mortgage was my calling.
“Helping people and problem-solving are my passions.”
What do you love most about what you do?
The mortgage industry is always changing and evolving, every day is fast-paced and a different adventure, and I absolutely love that about my job! Helping people and problem-solving are my passions. I also love that what I do every day has such a positive impact in their lives. Helping people attain their homeownership goals and helping our team provide our borrowers with the best experience possible is very rewarding.
What made you choose Amplify Credit Union?
I had very specific expectations of my future employer when I decided that it was time for me to make a change. I was going to choose to work for a company that truly embraces their culture, that offers opportunities for growth, and that has a vested interest in their employees. Amplify was an easy choice because it met my expectations and was exactly what I was looking for.
Tell us about a professional success here at Amplify that you’re proud of.
I am very proud of my professional growth at Amplify. I started my career at Amplify in 2010 as a loan processor and it has been very exciting to see us grow from a department of six, to a department of over fifty. Throughout the past 10+ years I have been able learn so much and advance in my career by taking on several projects and different roles within the department, which has ultimately led my current leadership role.
What do you think is the key for success in a role like yours?
Being a visionary, flexible, collaborative, and innovative—these are all qualities for success in a leadership role in the mortgage industry.
Tell us about a woman you look up to and why.
There are so many remarkable women that I look up to! Personally, I look up to all the amazing women in my family. My grandmother migrated to the United States from Mexico in the early 1950s and overcame many diversity challenges to pave the way for the future success of my mother and aunts. Growing up around them and seeing many of them become matriarchs of their households while becoming successful in their careers helped me understand early on that both personal and professional successes are achievable. They all have inspired me to strive to be the best mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, employee, and leader I can be.
Do you have a mentor?
I have several mentors; my mom, my sisters, and my aunt, all of which are much older and younger than I am. They are all in different stages of their careers and lives, and I enjoy going to them for advice and hearing their different perspectives.
“Don’t be afraid to take risks.”
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to take risks. Take that leap of faith; it is ok to make mistakes, you will learn from them and will be part of your growth.
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in your field, industry, or just in general?
Be bold and ensure your voice is heard; don’t be afraid to provide your input–especially where it is merited–for change. It is important to understand that challenges are opportunities to learn and grow. Know your value, never stop learning, invest in yourself, and surround yourself with people who share your professional goals; do not underestimate the benefits of mentorship.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I became a young mother at 18 years old. I found myself with different responsibilities and family took priority after graduating from high school; pursuing higher education was not an option for me at that time. Society made me believe that my career options were going to be limited because of that choice. When I decided that mortgage was my calling, I knew that I had to figure out how to fast track my learning. Since formal training was not something that my employer offered, I decided to enroll in a few mortgage industry courses that were offered at Austin Community College at that time. After class one day, one of my professors asked what my professional goals were. I told her that I felt like my choices were limited since I did not have a college degree, but I knew that I wanted to be great at my job and eventually maybe become a lead processor one day. She responded with “Don’t let your prior experiences or past choices define your professional future. Work on being the best at what you do, and you will see that anything is possible, and in this industry it can be with or without a college education. You are in the driver’s seat, never not sell yourself short, the sky is the limit.” I left class that day with a different outlook and plan for my professional future.
How are you breaking barriers faced by women in your field?
The mortgage industry is a male-dominated field, and there is a very small percentage of Latina women that hold leadership positions. Early on in my career, I saw less racial diversity in the workplace and more and more men in C-suite and upper management positions. Experiencing this firsthand, I felt that moving up in my career was going to be a big challenge. I became focused on becoming the best I could at my job and proved my abilities with results, and that provided me with opportunities to continue to advance in my career. When I joined Amplify, I was very excited to see so much diversity in the workplace AND women leaders. I realized that what I thought was maybe out of the realm of possibility for me in terms of my professional goals truly wasn’t, and breaking the glass ceiling was certainly attainable for me.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Women’s history month to me is a time to recognize women in history and reflect on their contributions and challenges they overcame to pave the way for the triumphs that women experience today. It is an opportunity to recognize the trailblazers today that raise the bar and continue to pave the way ahead. It is also a great time for women to celebrate their own personal and professional accomplishments. I am proud to be a Latina woman making my own history. #GirlPower
Supporting Our Team
Whether you’re starting your career or an established professional, we all have something valuable to learn from every woman at Amplify. Join us over the next few weeks as we recognize, listen, share, and support these amazing women!