Press Release updated: Sep 26, 2017 04:00 PDT

Lendistry’s Vice President of Business Development, Janet Perez, has only been with the company since April but has already made an indelible mark on the small business lender. By August, she was the company’s top closer. For Janet, that achievement is more than a career milestone, it’s a tally of the small businesses she was able to help, a number the tireless executive hopes to increase each month. Hailing from a family of small business owners, Janet knows firsthand the impact her work has on not just small businesses but on their local communities.

“I understand what it means to dedicate your life to building something, and sometimes that also means sacrifice,” Janet said. “Many small business owners face financial setbacks like not being able to make payroll or having to lay off employees due to economic downturns. Because of my background, I know and understand what that feels like. I understand the urgency business owners have when they say they need capital as soon as possible because they need to pay employees.”

Janet joined Lendistry because of a shared mission to help small businesses, particularly in historically underserved communities. One of the ways Lendistry broadens access to funding for all small businesses is by personalizing the approval process. While other online lenders leave the approval process up to a software program, Lendistry’s team knows each business has a story to tell and these stories factor into the approval process. For Janet, these stories hit close to home: “Hearing business owners’ stories makes me want to work harder for them, because at the end of the day, we share a common goal: to be successful and contribute to our communities and our economy.”

I believe opening the eyes of male professionals to see women in an equal light will change the impact women have in the business world for generations to come.

Janet Perez, Vice President of Business Development

A graduate of California State University, Fullerton and of USC’s Latina Global Executive Leadership & Entrepreneur Institute, Janet attributes her recent success to Lendistry’s leaders, who took the time to mentor her in her role of forming and maintaining business partnerships.

“In any successful organization, I believe you must have a passionate leader, as well as someone who is willing to teach others. Having leaders like Lendistry CEO, Everett K. Sands, and our Chief Credit Officer, Lynn Fernandez, by my side is what makes me great and makes me want to be better. They always take the time to teach me something new, and most importantly they help me grow in my role by giving me constructive criticism. Having my own ‘personal board of directors’ has made me a better leader and individual. They allow me to see things from different perspectives and, as my CEO would say, ‘skip steps.’ Leaders and mentors are truly the key to success.”

Janet’s reverence for Lendistry’s CEO is reciprocated not just by him, but by the whole company. “Janet has been of amazing value to our TEAM,” said Everett K. Sands. “Her determination to be the best sparks the entire sales team. In my 20 plus years in banking, it’s rare to find an individual who has both the skill set and the ability to execute all in one.”

In a role based on business relationships, Janet’s youth has contributed to her ability to connect with other professionals by leveraging social media for networking, something not available when more veteran bankers were coming through the ranks. Janet has garnered 16K followers on LinkedIn alone, a feat impossible to achieve by attending traditional in-person networking events. “LinkedIn has been an extraordinary tool that I utilize on a daily basis to connect me with individuals and organizations directly and instantaneously,” Janet explains. “Ultimately, it gives you people’s résumés upfront, allowing you to quickly determine if you have common business interests.”

While Janet has found success early in her career, it’s not without its challenges. A study of 50 of the world’s biggest banks and financial institutions found only 25.5% senior positions were held by women. A separate study found only 5.8% of Fortune 500 companies were governed by female CEOs. For women in a male-dominated industry, life is not always easy. Janet is often put in awkwardly unprofessional situations by business contacts calling her “sweetheart” or asking about her relationship status. “It is disrespectful and undermines me as a professional and individual,” Janet says. “First, I am seen as a young woman, then after proving my knowledge, I am seen as professional in the finance industry.”

Unfortunately, Janet’s experiences are not rare. According to a ABCNews/Washington Post poll, one-in-four women have experienced workplace sexual harassment. In a role that requires building relationships with professionals at other companies throughout the country, the challenge can seem daunting. Janet has combatted the unprofessional behavior of some members of the business community by leading by example. “It has taught me to understand how to establish working relationships with male peers while having equal respect for one another,” Janet explains. “I believe opening the eyes of male professionals to see women in an equal light will change the impact women have in the business world for generations to come.”

Janet credits other women for finding the strength to overcome the challenges she faces as a woman in the banking sector, and encourages other female professionals to do the same. She often quotes Dr. Yasmin Davidds’ advice, “Always negotiate for what you are worth, men naturally do it, you should too.” Far fewer women than men ask for a salary commensurate with their skills and capabilities. “Every woman who works hard to shatter the glass ceiling is my hero,” Janet said. “It takes determination, passion, and hard work to keep fighting a battle women have fought since the day we came on this earth. But, because of these women, every day gets easier.”

Being a top performer at Lendistry, working hard to help small businesses grow, and advocating for women in business would be a full plate for most but not for Janet. She also continues to participate in events hosted by the Latina Global Executive Leadership & Entrepreneur Institute and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Community Action Partnership. Janet believes engaging one’s professional skills with local non-profits has a significant impact on communities. “Sitting on a non-profit board has allowed me to see things from a different perspective. When the local economy is not thriving, it allows me to question ‘why not, and what can I do?’ It also allows me to put my unique skills to work and give back.”

Janet Perez’s passion for small business is not singularly focused, it’s all-encompassing. Whether it’s helping small businesses acquire funding for growth, inspiring other small business professionals through her success, or lending her skills to community non-profits, small business isn’t just a career, it’s a way of life.

Janet Perez’s Top 5 Tips for Women in Business

  1.  Trust yourself and never compromise your values. Your values will keep you grounded and help guide you.
  2. Trust in your abilities. Even when people doubt you, trust your skills and your talent.
  3. Create your own “personal board of directors” with people who will guide you and mentor you in your professional and personal life.
  4. Work hard. Be as passionate about the mission of your organization as well as what you do for them. Their success is your success.
  5. Brand yourself. You may be a part of an organization, but you are also an individual — separate yourself from the rest.

Source: Lendistry

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