One Step At A Time To Success

By Donna Iwane
Wednesday - June 06, 2007
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The eMortgedge team: Erica Aplaca, Jocelyn Kimura, Wanda Tanaka, David Delaune, Kimberly Russell, Shawn Peterson, Heather Selvitelle, Kimberly Matsumoto
The eMortgedge team: Erica Aplaca, Jocelyn Kimura, Wanda
Tanaka, David Delaune, Kimberly Russell, Shawn Peterson,
Heather Selvitelle, Kimberly Matsumoto

Strength and courage are innate to Hawaiians. Growing up in Wahiawa, my beloved father and mentor instilled these traits in me.

Reflecting on my life’s accomplishments, I think not of my successes, but how those qualities would prepare me for life’s highs and lows, all of which I faced as a single mother and entrepreneur.

Upon graduating high school early, my dream was to become a pilot. This goal proved to be too much for my father, who worried about my “office” being 20,000 feet above the ground. But tragedy struck on my 21st birthday with his death, leaving me emotionally stranded and yearning more than ever for his guidance.

My mid-20s also were an emotionally difficult time for me. I was married and divorced by 30 with two children. Receiving no support from my ex-husband, I was forced to drop out of college, and the bank foreclosed on my house.

But if I learned anything from my youth, it was that giving up and not claiming a stake in my future would be a worse fate than anything life could spring on me.

Finding jobs as a waitress, I eventually worked my way towards becoming a loan processor, officer and then a mortgage broker. After obtaining my sought-after degree, those years of hard work started to reap dividends. I took $5,000 and a big leap of faith to an auction of foreclosed homes, and left as the proud owner of a two-bedroom townhouse in Wahaiwa, where I grew up. This simple twist of fate proved that you can always go home again.

While I never became a pilot, I soared in 2001 as an entrepreneur, establishing Pacific Monarch Financial, where I charted and executed the company’s strategy. Soon, I expanded the business nationwide while launching and operating other successful start-up ventures.

From my real estate experience, I realized that the public had a thirst for quality information from mortgage experts.

This led me to create an hour-long radio show called Mortgage 101, and for four years, I demystified the complicated world of residential financing. With my life finally back on track, I would need all the strength and courage I could muster for what would be my biggest undertaking thus far.

My father always taught me that life rewards those who are independent and want to make their mark on the world. For years, I had been exasperated with current mortgage software programs that are slow, inefficient and keep clients at the whim of brokers. I drew upon Dad’s lessons of being a trail-blazer while creating a new online program called 1003POWER for eMortgedge Inc., another company I founded. Now professionals can easily interact online with their staff. Clients can view their loan status without having to wait for phone calls or e-mails from their broker. Loans are now created in minutes from anywhere in the world with Internet access. Completely web-based, it is unlike all software programs that need to be ordered, installed and continually updated.

The technology is so versatile, it sets a new precedent in loan origination and processing. I am most proud of this revolutionary accomplishment that will transform the mortgage arena.

My life has come full circle with the recent birth of my daughter.

To paraphrase the saying, my journey of a thousand miles began with a single step. Hard work and a little luck played a big role, but I would be remiss if I didn’t take a step back and acknowledge how the lessons of my youth provided me with the necessary guidance to navigate the tough seas of my life.

Next Week: Fred Paine, general manager of Pearlridge Center.

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