By Juri Love
As Executive Vice President and Compliance Officer at Eastern Funding, LLC, Nancy Robles-Guess oversees operations, policies, procedures, and human asset management of the credit, documentation, funding, and loan servicing departments. In addition, she serves as the liaison between corporate and Eastern Funding’s HR departments. In her compliance capacity, she oversees all controls, Sarbanes-Oxley related functions, internal and external audits, and compliance policies and procedures. However, what motivates her every day is the team.
“I feel personally invested in the people I work with and have the privilege of mentoring or guiding. I am inspired by the incredibly diverse landscape I see at Eastern and recognize that our diversity is what makes us successful,” explains Robles-Guess. “The biggest rewards are that I get to give people opportunities based purely on merit, which has organically created incredible diversity within the company, a rare occurrence in the banking and finance industry.”
She has been able to mentor many individuals through her years in finance, including many people of color. “Challenges come in many forms, from being the only minority and female in the room during most executive or high-level meetings to making difficult decisions that affect team members.” The rest of the challenges that come from introducing new technology, industry changes, and maintaining the organizational flexibility needed to deal with a changing financial environment are most exciting for Robles-Guess. “I think my edge comes from my continued efforts to continue my education and stay informed about the environment.”
Robles-Guess explains that her primary business strategy is to hire the best people and create an inclusive environment where those people can grow professionally. However, that doesn’t always come via a well-written resume or polished interview. She looks for soft skills that are not always obvious, thinks outside the box, and always does what is best for the people in the company. Those people ARE the company. “There is nothing more powerful than a diverse group of people who are committed to an organization and who can work collectively to create innovative ideas that drive us forward.”
“People of color, like myself, have to navigate an unstable landscape. When we walk into boardrooms or offices, we’re not always seen by others the way we see ourselves. Because we are often underestimated or diminished by negative stereotypes, we have to remember what we bring to the table and be prepared to use our voice,” declares Robles-Guess. “We must remember that as people of color, we deal with adversity every day and, as a result, have developed a stronger sense of resolve. To ensure that you maximize your value, don’t talk just to hear yourself talk. Listen, pay attention to everything and everyone in the room, and contribute with confidence.”