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MBA Education Path to Diversity Scholar Profile: Hilary Pelican

By MBA Insights Staff
September 17, 2018

Diversity and Inclusion
Hilary Pelican
Waterstone Mortgage Corp.

(One in a recurring monthly series featuring efforts of the Mortgage Bankers Association's Diversity & Inclusion Committee, part of MBA's commitment to increase racial, gender, sexual orientation and ethnic diversity within the mortgage banking industry.)

Hilary Pelican is Compliance Manager for Waterstone Mortgage Corp., Pewaukee, Wis. She is a Lubar BBA-Marketing graduate from the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee. She enjoys many hobbies, but mostly "unplugging" and exploring new places and cultures with her family.

MBA INSIGHTS: How did you hear about the Path to Diversity program?

HILARY PELICAN: During my routine exploration of the MBA Education website, a banner for the scholarship caught my eye, so I decided to click on the link and research further.

INSIGHTS: What inspired you to get more involved?

PELICAN: One of my main focuses at Waterstone Mortgage is fair and responsible lending, which means that I am constantly thinking of protected classes, minority groups, female equality, etc. I fall into all of these groups myself, and opportunities for free education don't come along often enough. I need to do what I can to take advantage of the tools available to me. Fair lending has developed into a strong passion of mine, and eventually, I want to be a voice and a trusted resource for my fellow underdogs. Although I am a Compliance Manager, I still have so much to learn in this industry--hence, my application for the scholarship.

INSIGHTS: Did you find the application process to be easy?

PELICAN: Not only was the process easy, it was quick. In fact, I feared that I did something incorrectly! One of the things that I like about the MBA Education website is that it's so easy to see what is offered, and I happily click around to find things, like this scholarship, for example!

INSIGHTS: Have you had a mentor or mentors who encouraged/supported you?

PELICAN: I am happy to say that yes, I have been lucky to have many. However, my current compliance leadership team at Waterstone Mortgage has supported me more than any before. I met Kate Johnson, VP-Compliance, at a conference. After meeting her, I quickly decided that I needed to work for her. Once I came on board, Chris Hatton, AVP-Compliance, has always been that resource that I've been seeking, and he continues to be a beacon of knowledge. Both Kate and Chris are excellent team players, and they continually boost my confidence and support my need to learn.

INSIGHTS: How has the Path to Diversity scholarship benefited you, personally and professionally?

PELICAN: The benefit is that there are benefits! Earning the scholarship led me to take an MBA course, which left me hungry for more. I used the funds to take SOMB-I, which is a fantastic, high-level overview of how the industry works. I have never taken a course before that discusses the functions of all industry parts, including secondary and capital markets, commercial lending, and real estate law. It was very informative! Professionally, I have improved upon my knowledge that I can take with me anywhere that I choose to go. Personally, I have learned that there are many roads to the same end goal, so why not take the roads without a toll, if they're offered to you?

INSIGHTS: What have you been able to bring back to your company as a result of the Path to Diversity program?

PELICAN: I have encouraged others within my organization to apply for this program. I think that sometimes we need a little reminder that we can all be valuable assets to any company, and we shouldn't let our assumptions on color, gender, or "diverse" natures get in the way of success. Being the recipient of a scholarship such as this one can greatly affect a person's confidence and motivation--so much so, that it can be the tipping point to creating a better employee overall. The next recipient could be a colleague and our first female President someday! I think my company would support that--who wouldn't?!

About the MBA Path to Diversity Scholarship Program
The Path to Diversity Scholarship Program recognizes existing industry professionals who are seeking to advance their careers through continuing education. Recipients receive a voucher to cover course registration fees, up to a maximum of $2,000, for popular MBA Education courses and designation programs. This education opportunity enables employees from diverse backgrounds to advance their professional growth and career development.

MBA recognizes that a strong, responsible and sustainable real estate finance industry requires a workforce that is reflective of our society at large.

For more information about the Path to Diversity Scholarship Program, click


The MBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed in 2013 to provide leadership and guidance to help the real estate finance industry gain a competitive advantage by increasing diversity in leadership, workforce and suppliers.

MBA encourages its members to support these efforts and to recognize the competitive advantages of embracing a diverse and inclusive workforce and marketplace. For more information about the MBA Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, click

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