In this series, we’re focused on the humans who make up Sagent. We’re fortunate to have a team that is constantly evolving – both professionally and personally – folks from all over the world who bring a variety of experience, education, and perspectives to advance our challenging mission. We’re excited to introduce you to some of these talented people who make Sagent a vibrant, productive community.
If we could “heat map” company culture, there would appear bright spots where the core values burn so fiercely that they readily ignite and spread. At Sagent, anyone who interacts with Kat Keeton Flanagan, Sr Director of Customer Success will acknowledge that she is one of those hot spots because of her passion for sharing knowledge, her dedication to transparent communication with our customers, and her unwavering willingness to lift her colleagues into the spotlight by helping them be successful. Those are just some of the reasons you’ll find her involved in our most impactful initiatives — often leading the way — but also cheering team members on as we execute our future-of-servicing mission. And it’s why we’re happy to introduce Kat as our latest Sagent Standout.
Tell me about your family, pets, where you live, and anything else you’d like to share about your life to help people get to know you.
I am a fairly recent transplant to the Chicago area and have been deepening my roots here. My timing wasn’t great – I moved up from North Carolina in October 2019 and the winter was jarring… then the world shut down due to Covid. However, my husband, Ian, and I leaned into the moment – we got married (a small pandemic wedding with customized face masks), then took advantage of the great rates and bought our house with a yard for our 2 dogs, Betty and Jason. We recently welcomed our daughter, Keeton, in February 2023. I love my new role of mom and learning new skills – like walking my 2 dogs while pushing the baby stroller.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a military family – my father served in the US Army. We lived overseas and in multiple states in the US. I attribute my curiosity, my ability to adapt, and my love of people to moving to new places and meeting new people. Also, the reason why I say regionally opposing phrases sometimes – like “Would y’all like some pop?”
What are your hobbies?
Traveling, golfing, scuba diving, reading, and spending time with friends/family.
What are your favorite movies, music, or TV shows?
I am a sucker for arguably-so-bad-they’re-good action movies – Fast & Furious (yes, I have seen every single one of them), 13thWarrior, or anything with Jason Statham (even the Meg).
Tell me about any notable accomplishments that you’re proud of.
I am proud of building a fantastic team at Sagent. When I had to go on maternity leave earlier than expected, my team stepped up and delivered to our customers and internal teams. They exemplify cross-team partnership, prioritizing the customer experience, and recognizing value. Seeing them grow, take ownership of our initiatives, and transform ideas into something better than I could have imagined is immensely gratifying.
Do you have a role model? If so, tell me about them.
My father, Dennis Keeton, and mother, Beth Ann Keeton, have been exceptional role models for me. In addition to showing me how to be an involved parent, they showed me the power of a strong work ethic, the importance of showing up for others, and the joy of continuing to learn new things/skills. I am very fortunate that I have many moments where I learned life lessons from my parents, which I will get to share with Keeton. For example, when I decided I wanted to learn to scuba dive, my dad dusted off his 30-year-old equipment, got recertified, and became my dive buddy.
What was your first “real” job?
My first real job out of college was as a Market Research Analyst at a regional grocery store chain, Harris Teeter. I led focus groups with customers, developed customer surveys, and helped identify opportunities for the company to deploy new customer engagement strategies. I later moved to a Real Estate Research Analyst role, which helped determine where new stores should be built. It was fascinating and helped develop my customer-centric mentality.
How did you get into mortgage fintech?
A colleague of mine (Murtuza Habibulla) from a data analytics company had joined a point of sales start up. As they were developing their customer success team, he gave me a call. Other than buying my first home (which was scary and exciting) I knew nothing about the mortgage industry. But I jumped right in!
My first home purchase was one of my biggest accomplishments and helping others recognize that dream, while using innovative technology, was right up my alley.
In your opinion, what is the greatest impact of building cloud-native servicing technology?
Freedom of data! Sagent’s cloud-native servicing technology will allow our customers to quickly connect data, systems, partners, and more to optimize their processes. Their customers will have better access to THEIR data and be empowered to understand their homeowner journey.
Because buying a home is just the start – keeping their home is the adventure that can be more complicated than homeowners may realize.
When you think about Sagent’s values of “Relentless, Relevant, and Reliable” which of those resonates with you most?
Reliable resonates the most with me. We are a trusted partner for our customers. For some customers, we’ve been working with them for over 20 years!
Sagent and our products are mission critical for our customers because we have tried-and-true technology that they trust and count on to support THEIR customers. It’s because of that reliability and trust that our customers understand and believe in Sagent’s vision to deliver new, industry-defining products that will help our customers support their customers, drive down their costs, and remain compliant.
What is your experience with Sagent’s culture?
I have been a remote worker for over 10 years now, so I understand the challenges of building strong culture with a remote-first workforce. Sagent has created a supportive and connected culture that treats employees as humans (you know, with lives outside of work). Sagent understands that you are more than your job. I love that our culture encourages getting to know our colleagues beyond their day-to-day work and (if they are comfortable sharing) learning about their families, vacations, hobbies and more. In addition, Sagent offers benefits like Summer Fridays, employee resource groups, inclusive health insurance, which includes mental health, and family planning resources ($10,000 via Carrot).
What is your favorite thing about working for Sagent?
When I returned to work from maternity leave, fortunately, the timing worked out that I was able to attend Ignite 2023, which my team is responsible for. After catching up with coworkers and customers, I had this moment of realization: I was actively watching a vision turn into reality. In Sagent’s mission to build the future of mortgage servicing, a key component is our customers. At Ignite, the excitement our customers had was inspiring, and their passion for collaborating with us was motivating. For Ignite to be successful, multiple Sagent teams came together to provide content, insights, ideas, expertise and more. I appreciate that I can count on my teammates to help me deliver an outstanding experience for our customers.
We always like to ask our Sagent Standout’s colleagues for insights into what it’s like to work with them, and Jesse Decker, EVP Chief Customer Officer, shared this about Kat:
Kat brings a relentless focus on customers that helps keep anyone who works with her focused on what matters: that our customers are successful using Sagent products and driving business value from that use. She consistently goes above and beyond to truly solve problems or close gaps and to bring teams together to achieve common goals. And she does this all with a smile and genuine willingness to take and provide feedback that helps us all improve. She’s an asset to Sagent and helps us help our customers to SHINE.