Deeper Thoughts
The Importance of Role Models – June 1st, 2021

Issue #75: The Importance of Role Models

If you missed our recent LodeStar’s Lending Leaders podcast with special guest, Anh-Thu Nguyen, please do it now. You’re in for a real treat.

She’s a real-life, honest to goodness role model.

Anh-Thu remembers growing up in an underdeveloped region of Vietnam—she lived without electricity until she was 11—and looking up at airplanes flying overhead as a little girl. At the time, it seemed those airplanes were entirely out of reach for her, a woman in a socially conservative society and underdeveloped region. But those planes sparked a lifelong desire in her to eventually “touch that airplane” and, in so doing, touch the skies. 

Unfortunately, as a woman and an Asian, she encountered quite a bit of resistance—overt and otherwise—along the way. Even after moving to the United States when she was 12. It started with her own father discouraging her dreams to enlist in the Air Force. When she was 18, she took her destiny into her own hands, enrolling in flight school. But because of financial struggles, it took her eight years to get her first pilot’s license (it normally takes six months!).

Today, Anh-Thu is an accomplished pilot; a doctoral candidate at Georgia Tech; the founder of a non-profit organization (Asian Women in Aerospace and Aviation) and in the midst of preparing to be just the 9th woman to circumnavigate the globe on a solo flight. 

Talk about a role model!

I think that, right now, it’s time for the mortgage industry to honor its own true role models. Not just our brightest and most successful (although these things can certainly overlap). We already do that reasonably well. But in an industry that’s rapidly aging, what are we doing to inspire younger people—and perhaps people who have to fight a little harder or overcome discouragement—to become mortgage professionals? Our industry isn’t just about making money. We really do help people accomplish their dreams of homeownership.

I’ll admit that there are some companies and organizations who do a nice job of celebrating our role models. But I think many more could. Role models inspire innovation. They encourage people and firms to do the “right thing,” even if it’s tremendously difficult. And I believe we could use a little more inspiration in our space these days. We’re among the first to be bashed in the mainstream. But many times, those critiques overlook all of the good folks we have working on behalf of others. 

It’s time we put more role models forward to inspire our next generation of leaders.

Please consider making a contribution to Asian Women in Aerospace and Aviation ( You’ll likely be encouraging someone’s dream!

Got an idea for Deeper Thoughts or LLL…or an example of good, values-based marketing in the mortgage industry? Email me at