Embrace Employee Spotlight: Tom Stewart and Melvin Bernal

Embrace Employee Spotlight: Tom Stewart and Melvin Bernal

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.

This week, in honor of Veterans Day, we are featuring two employees who previously served our country in the U.S. military. Take a moment today to reach out and thank them for their service!

Want to nominate someone to feature in a future spotlight? Email Mary Mack at [email protected]

MELVIN BERNAL, Retail Mortgage Processor

What is your official title and what do you do at Embrace?

I am a retail processor, and I process loans for Embrace on the east coast. I presently work with a few loan officers located in the DMV area and am learning the ins and outs of processing for Embrace, and improving my capabilities each day.

In a nutshell, I request, obtain, and review borrower and loan documentation to ensure there is sufficient information on various ends to send it through to the underwriter. I coordinate with multiple parties involved in each transaction to get the documentation needed to submit a solid file — which results in the end product of closing the loan for the borrower after going through the workflow.

What made you want to work at Embrace?

I was seeking better work opportunities at the time and the recruiter I was in contact with told me about Embrace and what they were looking for. I did my due diligence on the company and culture and felt we would be a good fit for each other, so I went for it.

How has it been starting a new job during COVID? And just working for Embrace in general?

Starting a new job during COVID was a bit scary as I was leaving a comfort zone and heading into a new company amidst all the chaos brought forth by COVID — especially when it comes to job security. I have always been a risk-taker, but still, starting a new job is always a bit nerve-wracking/exciting.

Working for Embrace has been a learning experience, mainly just acclimating to different technology than I previously used. I can say that I like all the support available and fellow Embracees are always a call or message away if I have a question or don’t know where to find something. There are so many resources available and I feel like I matter here at Embrace and that always makes a world of difference.

What did you do for a living before you came to Embrace?

Prior to Embrace I worked at different mortgage company called City Lending, Inc. I was a processor there as well, and have been employed in the mortgage industry for a few years now after leaving government contracting behind.

Tell us about your U.S. military service. Do you think any of the skills you acquired/honed in the military will help you be successful at Embrace?

I enlisted in 2008 with the Virginia Army National Guard as a Medic, and went to engineer school to operate heavy equipment, which I remained as until I finished my first six-year contract. After that, I joined the Army Reserves to become an intelligence analyst and, finally got out in 2017 as a Sergeant/E-5.

I have gone to a few different schools, like leadership schools and crisis management response. I learned a number of skill sets and developed certain character traits that have helped me along my life’s journey and will continue to help me here at Embrace. Among other things, I learned analytics, information procurement, and attentiveness to detail, which specifically help in my role as a processor. Additionally, one of the biggest takeaways was developing the ability to remain levelheaded and cool regardless of the situation, because this allows me to react accordingly to any problem or issue that may arise without delay or loss of focus.

We’d love to get to know you a little better! Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Fairfax, VA, lived most of my life in RVA, and now reside in Ashburn, VA. My parents are from El Salvador, so I am second generation Salvadorean-American. I have a pretty big family as I am the second oldest of six, and have far more cousins than I can count.

I went to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and got a dual degree in Marketing and one in Human Resources, and I crushed that curriculum in less than four years.

I have several hobbies, but presently the ones that take up my time are Latin dancing, skydiving, fitness, and I’m a car enthusiast. I started dancing years ago, and have always loved it. I mainly dance Salsa, bachata, merengue, hip-hop, but have dabbled in other forms of artistic expression.

I have been, and continue to work on, becoming a certified skydiver with my aim being to hop on a plane anywhere I go in the world and skydive solo to see the views from high above. I have two cars — a 2018 Jeep Sahara and a 2010 370z, that I have slowly been modifying. One will be a mean mudding/trailing machine, and the other a show car for the street racing scene. I also work out a lot and am working on getting my personal trainer certification to build a business off of it.

All in all, I enjoy having a good time and am always open to trying new experiences, especially the more dangerous ones like jumping in the shark cages or bungee jumping. Oh, and I have two French bulldogs at home — they are the cherry on top.


TOM STEWART, Producing Branch Manager

What is your official title and what do you do at Embrace?

Producing branch manager. I serve my own clients, but also support our team of loan officers and processors. My “job” is to facilitate the relationships and inter-team communications needed to keep things moving forward, and help everyone enjoy each day as much as they can.

Tell us about your U.S. military service. Do you think any of the skills you acquired/honed in the military help you be successful at Embrace?

I was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I served four years, and was stationed up and down the east coast of the United States. The Marine Corps changed my outlook on life, and other than my family, my time in the service is the thing I’m most proud of.

The Corps is about respect, service to others, and taking care of your troops. Those values so closely align with Embrace’s values, it feels great to be with a company that cares about so much more than finances.

How long have you worked for Embrace?

Nearly five years.

What made you want to work at Embrace?

My wife and her mother are long-tenured Embrace team members. They “worked” on me for years before I agreed to call Embrace “home.” Once I discovered how caring and supportive the culture is here at Embrace, I wish I had joined much sooner.

What’s one of your favorite Embrace memories?

My first trip to Rhode Island to put faces to so many names was fantastic. It was like visiting family. I also really enjoyed the Catalyst Sales Meeting in Rhode Island, it was awesome to have so many different team members from all over the country together in one place.

How has it been working from home for most of the year? Has Embrace made it easier for you in any way?

Embrace has been supportive of their sales community working “in the field” since I started, so working from home wasn’t a big transition. However, I was very impressed at how quickly and efficiently all of the support teams were able to transition from office to home offices. I felt like we didn’t miss a beat in the work processes, and that’s a big accomplishment for such a major transition.

We’d love to get to know you a little better! Tell us about yourself.

I live in Virginia, married for nearly 10 years to my beautiful wife (and coworker!) Christina Swift. We have three children — Sarah, 18, a freshman in college at GMU, Chase, 8, in third grade, and Connor, 5, in kindergarten. We travel as often as we can, spending a lot of time in the Northern Neck of Virginia and the outer banks of North Carolina. Our free time is mostly spent with friends and family, and Christy and I love playing golf and being near the water. During a year that has been difficult for so many people in this country and across the world, I feel grateful every day to have so many blessings in life.

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By Mary Mack / November 11th, 2020 / Categories: , / Tags:

Mary Mack

Mary is the Copywriter/Content Manager at Embrace Home Loans. She loves taking complicated subjects/ideas and making them easier to understand (and enjoyable to read about). Is there a topic you'd love to see covered in this blog? Email Mary at [email protected] to let her know!