Helping Others Keeps Open Lending VP Stephanie Dawson in Community Financial Services
Open Lending has always supported the credit union philosophy of “people helping people”. Their mission is to serve the underserved by using current technology and big data to satisfy lenders’ goals while still providing competitive rates to the consumer. This desire to serve others is also a tenant that Stephanie Dawson, VP of Account Management, uses as a guiding force in her role at Open Lending.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stephanie and her team of account managers have become even more committed to this mission. “We are passionate about making a positive difference in people’s lives by enabling our client partners to say ‘yes’ to more loans and better serve their community,” she said. “Since the onset of COVID-19 we have found that our client relationships have strengthened. Talking to clients that are now working from home has really changed the dynamic, both with the C-levels and the front-line teams. Strategy has never been more important both personally and professionally for our partners and we find sharing these experiences has increased communication and trust.”
Stephanie’s 15+ years in the financial services space and having already been part of two successful IPO’s, prepared her for the success Open Lending has experienced. When asked what she feels has been a key to growing the team to meet their exponential growth, Stephanie shared “Open Lending and the Lenders Protection™ program has been a key-strategic partner of credit unions and banks for many, many years. We knew early on that as we expanded our account management team, that we wanted to geographically locate those people near their clients whenever possible”. Stephanie went on further to say, “ With this in mind, we worked to develop our team culture into one that would support both local and remote workers, creating a culture of inclusiveness while also developing processes and metrics that support performance, collaboration, training and development”. When asked about the impact COVID has had on her team, Stephanie shared “prior to COVID, half of our team worked remotely, and the other half worked in our Austin headquarters. Since COVID, we all work remotely. The processes and communication already in place allowed this to be a seamless transition.” When asked what they look forward to the most as conditions improve, she shared ‘Traveling to see our clients is our number one priority once it’s safe again.” Stephanie went on to say, “Utilizing the various technology platforms has allowed our team to stay highly engaged and provide the strategic guidance necessary for our clients to be successful, however, we miss seeing everyone in person”. Stephanie shared one of the keys to the very high client retention rates are the relationships the account managers have with their clients.
“We take a very personal approach to developing our business relationships with our clients. We’ve known our clients often a very long time and enjoy some of the strongest and most enduring relationships in the fintech space. Our high-touch approach is key to our mutual success”.
When asked about her management style, Stephanie shared a quote from the book, Leadership is an Art, by Max De Pree, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant”. Stephanie also shared that she admires “the people, the mission and the constant change and growth” at Open Lending and looks forward to the company’s bright future. When Stephanie is not working, she divides her time between Austin and Dallas spending time with family, traveling and boating when there’s time – and of course, SEC football!