When Leah was 17 years old, she had little idea how much of a life-changing decision she was making by joining the United States Army.
"I enlisted for the sole reason of paying for college, which I did," she says. "But I stayed 10 years for a different reason: love of country. At 17, you don't have the capacity to understand how big it is to be in the military. It's bigger than you — it's bigger than all of us."
Leah uses that sentiment to describe Freddie Mac. "We are a part of the U.S. economy and a huge player in the housing market. I don't think people give much credence to that. You are making more of an impact than you think."
Leah enjoys her role as a structured transactions manager in the Single–Family Business Servicing Capital Markets. She joined Freddie Mac in 2017 with a soft spot in her heart for the company's work with homebuyers and borrowers.
"Freddie is so customer centric," she says. "They slow down to take a holistic view of the customer."
Leah often draws on her military experience for inspiration, especially when it comes to taking risks in life and her role at Freddie Mac.
"My past encourages me to be braver. I'm only 5'3" tall, but in Basic Training, I went through a gas chamber and in Officer Candidate School, I jumped off a high dive into the deep end of a pool wearing full gear and carrying an M16 rifle. These exercises taught me that even though I'm afraid, there's no room for fear in those moments — just action. Step back, take it all in and take risks. You will survive. No one is going to lose their life in this choice."
Her husband, a U.S. Navy pilot, has just been re-stationed out west and is currently deployed in the Middle East. After moving every 24 months for the past eight years, Leah found Freddie Mac to be the perfect support in her new found, but temporary, role as a single parent.
"A few of my directors and other colleagues are former military or retired veterans, which makes it easier. It's great to have such a strong military group while my husband is deployed. They and their families have all been through many moves and deployments, so they understand what it's like for the family unit as a whole. They allow me to have a work-life balance and focus on my son."
After nearly two years with Freddie Mac, Leah sees more similarities between our company and the US Army.
"Freddie Mac's mission is tied to the love of country, just like it was for me in the military." She explains, "Affordable housing has a special place in my heart. Our work helps move risk off our books, so we can provide liquidity and affordability to the housing industry and give people the chance to achieve their dream of home ownership. To be in the group that I'm in, with the colleagues that I have and doing the work I'm doing is great — I love it."