Talk Data to Me: Home for the Holidays [Episode 20]


Talk Data to Me: Home for the Holidays [Episode 20]

December 29, 2022
Certified Credit

Home For the Holidays Live Event (Part 1)


Home For the Holidays Live Event (Part 2)

Talk Data to Me: Home for the Holidays LinkedIn Live Event

They say home is where the heart is. But for many this holiday season, the dream of home ownership can seem out of reach.

In this episode of Talk Data to Me, we take a look at our recent Linkedin Live event where Certified Credit is teamed up with Convergence Memphis, and those marking a difference in underserved communities to talk about the barriers to entry for minority borrowers, decreasing housing affordability, and how the mortgage industry can better support disadvantaged communities.

Learn how Phyllis Robinson of Convergence Memphis, Wonda McGowan of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Ella Harris of Cadence Bank & Chair of the Memphis Impact Committee, Laird Nossuli of iEmergent, Gabe del Rio of Homeownership Council of America, and Marisol Pintado of Certified Credit are tackling the challenges of homeownership inequality in Memphis, their communities, and the mortgage lending and real estate industries.  Though out the conversation, we will explore:

  • The data behind housing inequality
  • Where homeownership inequalities stem from and ways to help borrowers overcome them
  • Special programs and resources available to underserved/unserved communities
  • The growing concerns about housing affordability
  • Way we all can support minority and disadvantaged borrowers

See the data behind the gap in homeownership equality from iEmergent.

About Our Guests

Phyllis Robinson

Executive Director, CONVERGENCE Memphis, Inc.

In April 2022, Phyllis G. Robinson was named the Executive Director of CONVERGENCE Memphis, Inc. Before becoming the Executive Director, Mrs. Robinson served as the Project Coordinator for CONVERGENCE Memphis.
With over 30 years of Federal Government service and 15 years in Senior Leadership, Mrs. Robinson is leveraging her leadership experience specializing in operations management, and national and regional collaboration of cross-functional teams in her role as the Executive Director.

Mrs. Robinson’s goal is to ensure that the mission of CONVERGENCE Memphis Inc., to advance racial equity in homeownership, is achieved in the Memphis community through collaboration with community stakeholders, partnerships, and other organizations outside the housing community to close the African American homeownership gap by using a unified approach through Consumer Outreach and Education, Affordable Products and Programs and Market Solutions and Resources.

Mrs. Robinson has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and is a graduate of the Federal Executive Leadership Institute, Charlottesville, VA. In 2018, Mrs. Robinson retired from the U.S. Department of Housing, and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General -Investigations as the Regional Special Agent in Charge, Fort Worth, Texas.


Ella L. Harris

AVP, Cadence Bank

Ella Harris' career in the real estate finance industry expands over four decades and includes work in retail and wholesale, sales, operations, secondary and compliance. She has worked with the bank side, independent mortgage banker side, housing finance industry and the old savings and loan real estate finance participants in the industry.

Currently she is an Assistant Vice President with Cadence Bank in the Community Lending Division supporting our lending divisions to remain aware and compliant with CRA and Fair Lending participation benchmarks. Previously she worked with the State’s Housing Finance Agency, THDA, supporting the lending and real estate communities seamlessly participate in the downpayment assistance programs.

Her interest in homeownership also led her in the real estate sales side of the business (as a licensed real estate agent) for about 5 years to get a more rounded understanding of the industry.  Ella worked as a sales agent and preferred lender on different occasions with a few builders during my career to enhance my overall industry knowledge. As a result, Ella was a top salesperson while in real estate sales and a million dollar producer as a loan originator.

Ella actively participate in and support civic and trade organizations that promote home ownership, financial literacy and skills development for minorities interested in entering the industry either through real estate sales, real estate finance or all aspects of residential construction. She holds the distinction of being the first African American in the State of Tennessee to hold a CMB (Certified Mortgage Banker) designation from our industry premier trade association, the Mortgage Banker Association. She is also a graduate of an HBCU, Tennessee State University and a Rotarian. 


Gabe del Rio

President & CEO, Homeownership Council of America

Gabe is President & CEO of Homeownership Council of America (HCA) and thought leadership in solutions for underserved communities in homeownership. He serves this work by providing vision, technical assistance, and lender services to CDFIs and investors in affordable and minority lending.  Gabe has extensive experience building products, delivery systems, and technology focused on increasing access to credit for underserved communities. 

Gabe has been instrumental in providing transformational consulting to nonprofit lenders through HCA’s CLIMB program nationally.  Gabe has authored a technical paper entitled “Untapping the Potential of Underserved Communities,” illuminating underserved homeownership lending problem statements and solution options.  Before joining HCA, Gabe was the President of Springboard CDFI and the Nationwide Mortgage Collaborative.  He created the first national nonprofit CDFI mortgage bank, laying the groundwork for hub & spoke models.  Before that, Gabe was COO for Community HousingWorks, while serving on several boards in community development, banking, and homeownership.  He previously trained homeownership and housing counseling professionals for seven years with NeighborWorks America.  

Gabe has spent decades implementing and building best practices in housing counseling & education, down payment assistance lending, affordable housing, and mortgage lending for underserved communities.  He currently serves on the Mortgage Bankers Association Consumer Affairs Advisory Council and the CONVERGENCE Memphis, Columbus, and national Advisory Boards.  Gabe was also appointed by HUD Secretary Fudge to the Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee and is currently serving his term. He has a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and is a graduate of the School of Mortgage Banking with an Accredited Mortgage Professional designation – as the only AMP working in nonprofit nationally.  Gabe also completed the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Program, Achieving Excellence in Community Development.


Wonda McGowan

Principal Broker and owner of Property One Real Estate Services

Wonda McGowan, Principal Broker and owner of Property One Real Estate Services in Bartlett, Tennessee. 22+ years of experience, with a proven sales record. I can generate business through aggressive prospecting, advertising, and networking. Successful in closing residential sales transaction; working with buyers and sellers and developing long term relationship with clients.

I am a full-service agent knowledgeable in all phases of real estate that makes the experience of buying and selling convenient, efficient, and reliable. My business is conducted with integrity and trust. My mission is to assist all families within my reach, including the low to moderate and the underserved communities.

  • Currently serving as the President of the National Association of Real Estate Broker Memphis Realtists (2021-Present)
  • Newly appointed Director of The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc., the oldest African American Trade Organization in the United States of America. (2022)
  • National Association of Real Estate Broker, Inc. Insurance Committee Secretary (2022 – Present)
  • Former housing counselor, licensed loan originator and branch manager for Tennessee and Mississippi for a national Non-Profit HUD certified Homeownership and Advocacy organization.
  • Conduct bi-weekly homebuyer education seminars in various churches and libraries in Memphis, Tennessee (2011 – Present)

Laird Hedlund Nossuli

CEO, iEmergent

As CEO of iEmergent, Laird help lenders, loan officers, and communities use data to identify where diverse lending opportunities and potential will be - and support them with comprehensive insight to capture that opportunity. 

Through proprietary census-tract level forecasts and integrated data platform Mortgage MarketSmart, she puts the power of market intelligence in lenders’ hands to:

  • Find market hot spots, missed opportunities and gaps in coverage
  • Examine market demographics to identify untapped opportunity zones
  • Leverage Realtor sales data to identify strong referral partners
  • Find, recruit, and retain diverse sales talent that matches market opportunity with info on loan officer production and contact info
  • Analyze competitor metrics to get ahead
  • Look at operational data to find opportunity for product and efficiency optimization

Marisol Pintado

Client Success Manager, Certified Credit

Marisol has been in the mortgage industry for over 33 year and services clients in Puerto Rico and the Hispanic Communities.  As Client Success Manager at Certified Credit, she is dedicated to helping clients and lending partners improve the credit reporting experience, drive better lending decisions, optimize employment and background screening, enhance the borrower experience, and refine lead generation. 


Listen to the Episode Audio (only)