John once stood on the edge of a 764–foot–tall building, looked down — and jumped.
"It was about overcoming a fear in an instant," he says of bungee jumping off the Macau Tower in China. "You first have to overcome your fears and worries mentally to get in a high energy, positive state. When you do that, you can overcome anything."
John's first death-defying challenge was skydiving. Since then, he's gone scuba diving in shark-infested waters and walked barefoot over fiery hot coals without burning his feet. He admits his high adventure hobby is unusual for someone who evaluates risk for a living, but John's ability to face risk head on is part of what makes him a strong member of the Freddie Mac Multifamily underwriting team.
Most of the loans John assesses support Multifamily's affordable housing goals. When he conducts inspections, John meets the people who would benefit from the loans. "I see first-hand the impact we're going to make. I talk to the renters and know they appreciate having a nice place to live that's affordable. It's great to see our work supports people living on lower incomes. We really are making a positive impact."
John was born and raised in Ecuador, but he caught the "Salsa virus" while visiting family in Lebanon, his ancestral homeland. His younger sister invited him to a Salsa event with her dance studio, and he was blown away by the talent around him.
"It was ironic. I went in thinking I'm the brother with the Latino swag. That night, I was unable to dance. I sat and watched the whole night. I was intimidated. They were dancing so wonderfully, and I was frustrated that I couldn't dance like that. So, I channeled that frustration into action."
John took two-hour long dance lessons every day for a year and continues to take classes two or three times per week. Last April, he partnered with Freddie Mac's HOLA employee resource group to teach a 10-week Salsa dancing class. John wanted to share his passion for the dance and connect with the Hispanic community at Freddie Mac.
"Although my parents are from the Middle East, I feel Hispanic at heart. I grew up in Ecuador, I love the food, the music, the people and the culture. I thought it would be neat to have a group at Freddie Mac to get together, network and do something fun."