Employee Spotlight: Lauren Sullivan

Employee Spotlight: Lauren Sullivan

We sat down with Lauren Sullivan for this month’s Employee Spotlight! Lauren radiates positive energy and can make anyone laugh with her witty humor. She’s the real deal when it comes to finding purpose after college and has paved her own way in the mortgage industry. Enjoy our newest Employee Spotlight and stay tuned for next month’s feature!  

What is your title?

Assistant Vice President, Mortgage Business Analyst

Can you provide a basic overview of your job responsibilities?

I analyze how the company operates and seek ways to improve our procedures and increase efficiency, particularly with regard to our customers and loan processes.

One of our current major projects is implementing and educating borrowers on Hybrid Closings. With the Hybrid Closing project, we set out to cut down on time spent at the closing table. This new option will enable borrowers to electronically review and sign a portion of their closing package prior to closing.

How long have you been with TowneBank Mortgage? 

I’ve been with TowneBank Mortgage for 8 years. 

Did you have prior exposure to the mortgage industry?

I majored in Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise, and received a dual degree in Psychology at Virginia Tech. I was essentially a pre-med major but wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to take as I neared graduation. My mom worked as a loan officer for NewTowne Mortgage, so I was familiar with the mortgage industry. I worked as Skip Templeton’s Loan Officer Assistant one summer during college. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with life, but knew I enjoyed it. 

I returned as Skip’s Loan Officer Assistant after graduating in 2014 before being offered a full-time position as Loan Coordinator. I progressed from Loan Coordinator to Closing Coordinator, which led to my current position as AVP, Mortgage Business Analyst. 

What is the best part of your job?

I get to implement positive and progressive change with the best team that you could ask for. 

What are your role models?

Sheri Husser, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operation Officer at TowneBank Mortgage, has my upmost respect. I admire her mind and how it works. She discovers new paths and roads I would never consider for improving operations. 

My parents are also role models for me. Both of them started their businesses from scratch, as a landscaper and a loan officer, which required hard work and true dedication.   

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

I am fortunate to have a lot of flexibility in my role, so occasionally the tradeoff is being available when needed. I don’t often feel the need to check out because I feel so supported by my peers. I make a point of taking my vacations, and when I do, it’s to somewhere really awesome! 

When you’re not at work – how do you enjoy spending time?

I love traveling. Thailand is my favorite country I’ve visited. I got to spend a summer in Spain and fell in love with the people and culture. In November, my fiancĂ© and I are going to London, and I can’t wait to experience it during the holiday season. That might turn out to be my favorite location so far!

I enjoy reading and am an avid member of Book of the Month. One of my favorite books I’ve read lately is The People We Keep by Allison Larkin. I also like cooking at home!

What is the first item on your bucket list?

I have always wanted to buy an Airstream trailer and travel the country with it. We would take our lab, Winnie, along too!

What was your first-time homebuying experience?

My parents heavily encouraged me to purchase a home young knowing that real estate is a great investment. I bought my first single-family home in Blacksburg, Virginia, when I was 19 years old. I was fortunate enough to qualify for the 2008 First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit at the time. I purchased the home with an FHA loan and when I filed my taxes the following year the government reimbursed me for the tax credit, so the timing was ideal.

I lived in that house for about 4-5 years and now I rent it out. 

Any advice for first-time homebuyers?

Make sure to ask your lender any questions that you have. Don’t be afraid to pick their brains. There are no stupid questions. As lenders, we’re here to help educate and support you in the purchase of your first home. 

I would also start by looking at what monthly payment you can afford and what you’re comfortable paying in closing costs. Those numbers could differ from what you qualify for.