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Women With Vision Magazine
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“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” –  Christopher Reeve
I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Meloniece Gaskin, owner/broker of M’Possible Mortgage Group currently based out of San Tan Valley, Arizona. Meloniece joined the Marine Corps right out of high school serving in an administrative capacity in Yuma, Arizona. While working there, the birth of her second child brought joy and unexpected life changes due to the baby having a serious medical condition. Over the next few years, her baby underwent several surgeries, requiring Meloniece to start and stop work each time to look after her daughter. Since then, with grit, determination, and compassion, she has forged her own path to where she is today.
Written by Laura Brandao
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Asked how she started in the mortgage industry, Meloniece said, "I got my start working as a loan originator in 2018 while serving as a local insurance agent for State Farm in Arizona. I was encouraged to get my license and did so. I found out that many veterans like myself could use their VA loan towards education and skills upgrades and mortgage is what I chose to do."
Very quickly she discovered she truly loved working in the mortgage industry and said the biggest part was because she loved sales and the idea of helping her clients with the most important purchase many of them would make in their lives: buying their own home.
"I had to stop working a few times to care for my daughter during her health battles and surgeries, but I always found my way back or was asked to return by the people I worked for and with. They would call and tell me I was needed and that would convince me to step back in. Despite the difficulty of those times personally, I was gratified to know I was valued and needed. As a side note, my beautiful daughter is now 13, healthy, and doing amazing in school and her life. I am eternally grateful for that."
I am proud to say we are the only minority, female, and veteran-owned brokerage in the state of Arizona.
No matter who you are or where you come from, Meloniece’s keys to success are to:
  • Keep moving forward
  • Stay positive
  • Work hard.
Today, Meloniece runs her own brokerage firm, she is licensed in four states with 60-plus lenders, and she has her own insurance team. I got my brokerage license in August of this year, and within one month, we were up and running.
Being a woman with vision means acknowledging the contributions of women in the industry who have broken the barriers for those of us who are following behind and honoring that courage with our own efforts today. I want to be true to the vision of those brave women and encourage myself and others to step out of our professional and personal comfort zones, take risks and be bold and brave when we have a goal in mind and are working to achieve it. She believes having a vision means seeing the goal at the end of the path and striding toward it with your head up and your heart fully engaged in your mission.
I asked Meloniece, which one woman inspired her and made the biggest impact on her professionally and found out the person was not in the mortgage industry, but taught her, by her example, what it means to be committed, valuable and brave.
My godmother, Jacqueline D. Wright, started her own business at a time when most African-American women would not have felt able to do so or been encouraged in the endeavor. She developed after-school programs and set up group homes for teens who were having trouble in their home and school lives and needed support, care, and a safe place to be. As a young child and a teenager, I watched her accomplish these things with intelligence, drive, and, most importantly, love, care, and compassion for the children she was working with. Jacqueline stepped in to look after us as well when our mother was working and not able to be home. She did all of this with grace, affection, and a drive and work ethic that taught me well. In the intervening years, I have seen some of the kids who came under her wing flourish and go on to lead happy and productive lives they might not have had if it had not been for the support and encouragement they received from my beloved godmother.
Jacqueline is no longer with us, but Meloniece said if she could speak to her today, she would let her know her example is still at the forefront of what drives her every day and forms many of the choices she makes, both professionally and personally.
My professional superpower is my commitment to infusing everything I do with love and care. I derive great satisfaction from helping my clients achieve their dreams and goals, and my personal goal is to make sure each person I work with feels they are being given my very best throughout the process. I am adamant about my clients being able to trust me with the enormous financial commitment they are making. To that end, I have been known to tell a client they should hold off on a purchase or a refinancing because my experience in the business tells me the time is not right for them.
It is not about the money for Meloniece, but rather about the interactions with people and the feeling of protecting and guiding her clients in a completely honest and open manner. She wants them to feel safe.
I know the way I handle my clients is important to them as well. I have had clients call me out of the blue years after our transaction to tell me how their lives are going, ask for advice, and share personal stories. We have made a strong and continuing connection, and that fills me with joy.
To date, the pivotal moment in Meloniece’s career was becoming the first African-American female mortgage broker in Arizona, and the first minority female veteran to earn a broker’s license in the state.
I have begun to realize the importance of this achievement. I have only been in this industry a few years and have only recently gotten my license, but I have found that I am being contacted by women (many minority women) to ask my advice and to get encouragement and ask how I have accomplished what I have. The calls and discussions she has had have made her realize she has become somewhat of a trailblazer in Arizona, and she feels a sense of responsibility to be the very best she can be at her chosen career because she is scrutinized and looked to as an example of her gender and ethnicity.
Add to that, she says, being a veteran who has had to forge a new career after the service, and I think it is very important that I continue to work hard and be a good example to those coming behind me and to my children as they grow up watching me in my career and life. The scrutiny adds pressure, especially as my brokerage is still so new, but I consider this good pressure and encouragement to be my very best.
Meloniece describes her advice as simple, but by no means easy.
Get out and do it. When you find your passion and focus your eyes on your goal, keep moving forward and do not look back. There will be missteps and mistakes but use those to your advantage. Learn from them, put them behind you and keep moving.
Don’t allow any real or imagined barriers stop you from getting where you want to go. There will always be doubt and a bit of fear but those are yours to control and by not allowing them to erode your positive and confident mindset, you will brush them aside and reach your goals.
She firmly believes someone out there needs your products/services and you will come into their lives and help them to fulfill their dreams with your hard work and compassion.
For Meloniece, success means setting a goal and reaching that goal. Many people may success as a one-time occurrence in their life. She believes successes can come multiple times and sometimes after a spectacular failure. It is what you do with failure that will dictate your progress toward another success. She illustrates this point with a bit of her past about an insurance agency she started and ended up closing because it simply didn’t work out.
I learned from that experience and am now running a successful brokerage business because I took the hard lessons and learned what to do and, more importantly, what not to do when building a business. So, in a nutshell, success is learning, growing, pushing through failures, and stepping up again. It is a life-long process and not a one-time event.
Outside of work, Meloniece has an active family including three kids, her partner, and herself. She loves outdoor sports and some indoor ones too. Together, they hike, ice skate, and roller skate. She is grateful to live in a state with year-round wonderful weather which allows her family to be out of doors, and they take advantage of it. They have two dogs, and they walk them as well. Her family time is important.
Having a mentor is essential to a successful career and never more vital than when you are starting out in a new industry or profession. I have had mentors in my career. People I looked to for advice and reassurance that I was on the right track when doubt would creep in. That kind of support is invaluable. I have become a mentor lately, as well. I regularly receive phone calls and emails from colleagues asking my opinion and if I can offer advice. It still surprises and humbles me, to be honest. I never considered myself to be a mentor. I have just worked hard and kept moving forward.
She realizes now that others see her as a role model in some ways and it is a sobering responsibility she takes seriously. She offers what her experience has taught her and, hopefully, others find it of some use.
Meloniece wants to be remembered for being a “mortgage mommy.”
By that I mean I would like to be thought of as someone who was compassionate, supportive, and protective of my clients during the mortgage process.
A lot of that goes back to watching my godmother Jacqueline put heart and love into every kid she worked with. She showed me the importance of making the people you are serving feel cared for, safe and comfortable, and I make that a priority in every transaction I undertake for a client.
I build relationships and connections with clients that continue past our initial interactions and that means gaining their implicit trust and maintaining that.
One thing that was drilled into us in the Marine Corps was to always operate with integrity. I want my clients, employees, and colleagues to always feel that I am 100 percent trustworthy and have their best interests at heart no matter what capacity we are interacting in.
She found her voice when she was 19 years old and still in the Corps. It was then she learned speaking up was more honorable than keeping silent. When Meloniece saw something wrong, she spoke out and, although doing so sometimes got her into trouble, she never had a troubled conscience.
The military can teach us a lot and is an old and honored institution. But as in every other organization, there can be incidences of inappropriate conduct and harmful behavior. I saw and was a victim of some of these situations, but I never feared stating my opinion or making it clear that the actions were unacceptable. I have continued that practice in my life and, despite there being an occasional risk to speaking up, I do so as a matter of knowing what is right and being ready to put someone else’s welfare before my own.
Her biggest fear is failure, and as she says, it’s not so much for me, but for the impact it could have on those around me. I work very hard not to allow my actions to negatively affect the life of someone else and although that is not always possible, I will always make every effort to mitigate and minimize any damage or lasting impact. This is a point of honor and care to me and one that I do not ever take lightly.
I want to encourage all women, and women of minority, in particular, not to let barriers keep you from reaching your dreams. I have pushed myself past obstacles and kept my focus positive and my personal values firmly in place to get where I am today.