Embrace Employee Spotlight: Sondra Shemer and Ian Shemer
There’s a lot to love about Embrace Home Loans, but one of our strongest assets has always been our employees. We have teammates who have been with us for 10, 20, even 30+ years. And we’ve also been hiring new employees at a furious pace this year — new employees that many of us haven’t met yet as we continue to work remotely during the pandemic.
In this Employee Spotlight, we’ll be featuring two Embrace teammates each week — one new employee, and one employee who has already been with us for a while. Each will give different perspectives on the Embrace experience and a little more personal info so you’ll be able to get to know them better.
Want to nominate someone to feature in a future spotlight? Email Mary Mack at [email protected]
IAN SHEMER, Loan Officer
What is your official title and what do you do at Embrace?
My official title at Embrace is Loan Officer. My role is to assist and educate potential borrowers with any mortgage needs through refinancing or purchasing a home. Works closely with realtors, builders, and advisors where they refer clients to me to ensure they are in the best financial position with any home needs.
What did you do before Embrace and what made you want to work here?
My previous job was a sales representative for Audi of Bethesda. My job entitled educating consumers on the Audi product by going on test drives and reviewing specifications of vehicles to find the right car with the right features, right payment, and right price for that consumer. I am a big car guy! So that was one of the reasons I got into the business. I was fortunate to be around some of the coolest cars and help some people get into the car of their dreams.
I worked in the car business at the luxury levels for years, but I realized that the environment of being a car salesman was not fit for me. There was constantly a negative stigma held over your head as a “car salesman.” People feel that when they walk into a car dealership they are being sold constantly and the salesperson was not acting in ones best interest. I never felt like I was a salesman, I always considered myself a car enthusiast and my goal was to be that client’s trusted advisor.
Looking into new careers, I wanted something where I could be that trusted advisor — and on top of that, be able to work around a group of people that would help me learn, grow, and most importantly, get along like a family. Here at Embrace, I have found an environment that is comfortable, supportive, and everything I could ever want in a company and more! And the reviews about our company speak for themselves!
How has it been starting a new job during COVID? And just working for Embrace in general?
Starting a new job during COVID has been quite a wild experience. I left my job as a car salesman in January of 2020 and started a career in the mortgage business March 2nd of 2020 — which was right when COVID caused the stay at home order — and have been working from home ever since.
Being in the car business you are reporting to work every day and on weekends. Now, I am able to create my own schedule. Finding one that works for me to remain efficient, motivated, and successful was probably the biggest challenge.
Since my change in career paths, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Embrace. The team is a family and I have never been part of not only a super motivating group but a supportive group of people that only want to see you succeed. This is a company that displays a value and culture that is everything and more that I have been looking for.
We’d love to get to know you better! Tell us about yourself.
I’m a Maryland native. I’m currently living in Rockville, MD, I was born in Silver Spring, MD and grew up in Potomac, MD. I am the middle child of a family of five with an older brother, Bryce, who is 28 and a younger sister, Brynn, who is 22.
Baseball has always been my favorite sport. I went to play at the collegiate level at Frostburg University and went on to finish my degree in Communications at Towson University.
I have since hung up my cleats and now play softball once a week and I also enjoy playing tennis, golf, biking, and running. I love going to the beach and traveling when I can. I have a big pallet so one of my absolute favorite things to do is to try new food and restaurants, as I am a big foodie!
SONDRA SHEMER, Producing Sales Manager
What is your official title and what do you do at Embrace?
I am the Producing Sale Manager of our Rockville, Maryland office. In addition to originating my own loans, I am here to support our staff of loan officers in their day-to-day functions, whether it be pricing exceptions or helping them with structuring loans. In addition, I am actively involved in recruiting to grow our team.
How long have you worked for Embrace?
I started with Embrace in December of 2009.
What made you want to work for Embrace?
I came to Embrace as a result of their acquisition of Mason Dixon Funding, where I worked since July of 1996 – guess I’m loyal 🙂
What’s one of your favorite Embrace memories?
One of my favorite memories was a team building event we had. It was a scavenger hunt where we broke into teams, everyone piled in a car, and drove around the county doing “good deeds” — from giving food to a homeless person, to cleaning a table for a customer at a fast food restaurant, among other acts of kindness to perfect strangers.
Each team was given a time frame within which to accomplish all the tasks and the team that finished first won. Of course, it was our team 🙂 We met up at the end for a happy hour and shared our stories. It was a lot of fun and a great “feel good” day.
How has it been working from home for most of this year? Has Embrace made it easier for you in any way?
Working from home has been fine and actually more productive, as there’s no travel time or distractions, and I find I am able to balance life a bit better working from home.
Fortunately with technology today, we can do our jobs with a computer and phone — I hate to think what this would have looked like 20 years ago! But I do miss the human interaction with my Embrace family in Rockville.