Previous pageNext page
Women With Vision Magazine
Contact us

“Stay positive. Love your life.”

by Laura Brandao
Ashley Filitor is a senior loan officer for First Option Mortgage. She lives and works in Woodstock, Georgia, her hometown and where she grew up influenced by a strong role model: her mother, who worked in the operations department for a loan company. Ashley remembers her mom starting off as a processor and working her way up to operations manager. Ashley’s mom had a passion for her work; she was inspired by the loan officer who helped with the purchase of their family’s first home. It was this loan officer who persuaded her to take the job as a processor which eventually became a multigenerational profession.
Ashley grew up hearing her mother talk about the work and how helping people was what kept her committed to the job and what she enjoyed the most. In turn, this convinced Ashley to enter the industry, and she has had no regrets about that decision.
"My journey into the mortgage industry began in 2015. Following a brief stint as a service provider, I stepped into the roles of setup clerk and junior processor before transitioning into the sales side of the industry. I was no stranger to the world of mortgages: my mother had been in the industry for over 30 years, working in operations. Watching her passion for her job and the intriguing complexities of the work was a source of inspiration for me."
For Ashley, being a Woman With Vision is a commitment to personal and professional evolution. In her words, "It's about nurturing a mindset that welcomes growth, encourages continual learning, and aims for improvement with every passing day. It’s about embracing each sunrise as an opportunity to be better than the day before."
"I never actually thought I could be someone who excelled at sales, but it was something I discovered that I wanted. Being able to envision myself doing that job and working to be the best I could be in that position kept me driving forward toward that goal without letting doubt slow me down."
Both professionally and personally, Ashley has been impacted and inspired by various outstanding women who touched her life. "I am privileged to have been influenced and guided by a constellation of exceptional women. My mother, of course, has been a significant figure. Her tenacity and dedication left an indelible mark on my understanding of the industry. Then there's Kiran Shah, who took a chance on me at First Option Mortgage and gave me my first opportunity in sales. Christine Beckwith of 20/20 was also instrumental in shaping my path. I am forever grateful for these women and the roles they've played in my career."
In a field like mortgage where financial and emotional futures are intertwined, the capacity to truly understand a client's needs and concerns is invaluable. Ashley defines her superpower as being able to listen, empathize, and tailor services to suit each client's unique situation.
Realizing the importance of coaching and continual learning was a critical point in Ashley’s career. She speaks easily about her own coaching experience, "I can confidently say that embracing coaching and learning from my peers every single day has been pivotal to my achievements today."
Mentors provide guidance and impart knowledge you might not have even known you lacked. They can introduce you to fresh goal-setting strategies, innovative marketing techniques, and new ways to succeed. Ashley has coached and mentored others in their careers, and finds it is a satisfying experience. "I can recommend having a mentor but also being one and paying it forward. I am not actively coaching anyone now, and I find I miss the challenge. I am looking forward to being in the role of mentor again as soon as I am needed."
Asked what advice she would give to a woman starting her mortgage career, Ashley said, “Don't wait until you feel you're ready. Take the leap and dive in headfirst. Despite fear, despite uncertainty, just go for it. Surround yourself with a diverse network of professionals at different stages in their careers, from whom you can learn and grow.
And keep learning. Take every opportunity offered to learn something new and keep up with the fast pace of our industry. There is always a new technology or technique on the horizon and being proactive about having up-to-date knowledge.”
Success means something different for each person. For Ashley, success is fluid, it’s constantly evolving and in sync with her personal and professional life. It's about setting goals, achieving them, and then setting new ones; an endless cycle of growth and achievement.
When she’s not working, Ashley loves spending time with her family, friends, and two dogs. I have a penchant for the outdoors and take delight in weekend trips that allow me to explore new places. "My family and I are close, so we are always having family dinners and outings. We spend a lot of time together and I wouldn’t have it any other way."
Asked how she recommends people navigate an ever-changing and growing industry, Ashley’s said, "The best way to stay afloat is to embrace change and remain observant. Align yourself with people and organizations that keep pace with industry shifts and changes. The mortgage industry is a dynamic one that demands a level of personal energy and commitment that is essential to providing the very best service to our clients. Striving to maintain a high level of excellence means working toward the goal of having home ownership within the grasp of anyone who wants it and not letting up until we get there."

Ashley wants to be remembered as someone who genuinely cared. It’s important for Ashley to foster real connections with the people she works with which includes both her customers and her peers. "My passion for my job includes listening and trying to understand what they are saying, even if it doesn’t come out in words. I like to say that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason."
Her voice has been cultivated through practice. She said, "The more I practiced, the more confident I became, the clearer my voice grew. If not for finding my courage to speak, I might not have had the impetus I needed to get into the sales role that I love so much."
Ashley’s biggest fear is the thought of not being enough, not being able to assist her customers when they need her. "I am deeply passionate about my work and care profoundly for the people I serve. I work hard to give my best every day, and through that work ethic, I can overcome that fear and not let it become an obstacle to me professionally or personally."
Ashley feels we can boost more women into leadership roles through mentorship. "The key to encouraging more women to step into leadership roles within our industry lies in mentorship. Through guidance and support, we can empower more women to ascend to leadership positions. Women need to align and surround themselves with women who inspire them and can be role models of success. I would encourage women to find those people who can show them the path they have walked and learn from them. I listened to my mother talk about how the industry has changed from being almost exclusively male in leadership roles when she started out 40 years ago. We have come a long way from there, but we still have work to do to give women equal opportunities and a full voice in the upper management suites."
In five years, Ashley sees herself setting bigger, bolder goals, and crushing them one by one. The journey of personal and professional growth is never-ending, and she is excited for the challenges and triumphs that the next five years will bring. "Professionally I want to have a team of loan officers working for me and to be able to mentor and help them succeed in their careers as well as serve our clients in the best way possible. On a personal level, I would love to have children someday and be a mom. I adore kids and am looking forward to raising them and guiding them to be valuable community members as my parents did for me and my siblings."
"I also want everyone to know that you don’t always have to be perfect or do things that don’t make you happy. It has taken me a long time and a lot of hard work to understand that and be kinder to myself. I have been in therapy on a personal level for years and I want others to know that it is through personal growth and learning to be self-aware that I have found the role I am passionate about and that I love to be in every day. I have found therapy to be not only helpful but a huge support when I have doubts and I need to answer within myself. Love your life. Work hard and enjoy the benefits of your success."