Sagent Standouts: Cheryl McKenzie

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 you’ve stopped by Sagent’s booth at an industry event in the last few years, chances are you’ve been greeted with a special blend of warmth and enthusiasm that is a trademark of Cheryl McKenzie, Senior Sales and Solutions Consultant at Sagent. But Cheryl’s impact is broader and deeper than her welcoming presence at industry events because she expertly guides Sagent’s new customers as they implement our reliable solutions to lower costs, power compliance, and deliver positive outcomes for the homeowners we all serve. We sat down with Cheryl to learn what makes her tick and how she relentlessly combines positivity with expertise to drive a superior experience for our customers. 

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 single mother of two daughters and one grandson.  I live in Burleson, Texas, but I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and was the first out of 10 siblings to graduate from college and obtain my master’s degree. And I purchased my first house at the age of 19. 

Do you get to spend much time with your grandson? 

He lives in Indiana with my daughter, so I met him when he was born, then the next time when he was about six months old. That was this year for my daughter’s first Mother’s Day and my first Mother’s Day as a grandma, then I’ll get to see him again in just a couple of weeks when they come to Texas. Can’t wait! 

What do you like to do for fun? Hobbies, music, movies, sports? 

I like to draw, ride my mountain bike, and line dance. I like watching Marvel movies, movies that depict superpowers, comedy, and a few movies that re-enact history.   

You must tell me more about line dancing. Since you’re line dancing in Texas, I assume you listen to country music? 

I do listen to country, but my line dancing is mainly soul-line dancing. It was huge in Indiana, and I grew up as a dancer – I used to break dance when I was young (I’d probably break a bone now). But it wasn’t fun because people wouldn’t dance with me. I’d go out there and wait for the guys to come ask me to dance, but they’re like “Oh no, she’s a good dancer.” So, when I didn’t get a lot of dances, I started gravitating to the “singles” type of dancing like line dancing. 

Good to know… that info might come in useful at one of Sagent’s upcoming parties. Do you do any volunteer work or have a soft spot for a charity in your community? 

I am a woman of faith, so that guides my decisions as I give back and stay involved in my community. I have my own nonprofit organization where I give back to the community through my Kindness Program with several Ambassadors of Kindness throughout the United States who love to show kindness to others and post or talk about their experiences.  I usually volunteer on the weekends or holidays. I was able to be approved for my own VISA Rewards Card for my nonprofit. It took me 9 months to finally get approved. Funds donated are deposited on the card, and in turn, it is sent out to the Ambassadors of Kindness so they can do good deeds in the community they serve. I don’t have a lot of time to commit to it, but I try to host one event per year until I retire, then I can volunteer full-time. 

Do you have a role model?  

Michelle Obama because I like how she is determined to accomplish anything she puts her mind to. She makes sure her daughters understand the challenges that life may throw their way and encourages them to be all they can be. 

What is your educational background? 

I have my Master’s Degree in Business Administration and over 20 years of Grant Procurement, Nonprofit Development and Mortgage experience. 

With such a diverse range of experience, I must know what was your first “real” job? 

My first real job was a summer job cleaning and picking up trash in the summertime. However, I convinced them to allow me to paint a mural of Downtown Indiana on a wall in the community center, so I didn’t have to work in the hot weather.   

Sounds like you were making smart moves from the beginning. Tell me more about your career journey. Highlight a particularly positive or negative experience and what you learned from it. 

I grew up in a poor neighborhood, not realizing at the time I was poor. Several teachers embraced me and made sure I was given job opportunities that others in my school did not receive.  I was chosen for several scholarships and was placed at Methodist Hospital to work in several departments so in turn I could become one of the leaders of the hospital. I worked in a pharmacy, where I became an IV Admixture Technician. I also worked as a Chemo Technician, Human Resources, Medical Records, and Health Promotions, and became a Child Car Seat Technician. Lastly, I was the Program Director of the Willing to Wait Program where I raised millions of dollars to help prevent teen pregnancy.  I worked for the Criminal Justice Institute where I worked with the National Traffic Safety Administration (Seat Belt Law) Click it or Ticket Program. 

How did you get into mortgage fintech? 

I worked at a nonprofit organization called Community Action of Greater Indianapolis. I worked at HUD as a Housing Counseling Director where I became certified in Pre-Purchase and Foreclosure, Financial Literacy, etc. I worked mainly with the consumers helping them to understand their rights when it comes to homeownership. It was later downsized and was hired by a large mortgage company in Indiana. 

You recently received a promotion to your current role as Senior Sales and Solutions Consultant. So first, congratulations! What does your “day to day” look like in your role at Sagent?  

I truly enjoy working at Sagent. I work with New Prospects and other team members throughout the company. Most of all, I prepare demos, RFPs, presentations and provide solutions for new or old processes.  I enjoy this role because I can use my creativity and develop ways to deliver demos based on what the prospect is looking for.  I like the fact that I used to work in their field, so I truly understand their needs. Plus, I love the opportunity to meet new prospects and hear about their pain points. 

With your broad experience, I’m sure you have a unique perspective on servicers’ needs and how technology can help them and homeowners. In your opinion, what is the greatest impact of building cloud-native servicing technology?   

I feel the biggest impact of building cloud-native servicing technology is that it allows servicers to have a voice in what is best for their company. It provides them with more options and the reassurance that their servicing system is working for them and not against them. Most of all, we live in a time when every dollar counts. If we can reduce their total cost per loan, then they are able to re-direct those funds towards other things like providing more jobs, training and education for their employees, better benefits, etc. 

It’s obvious that you’re personally invested in what we’re doing at Sagent, but tell me specifically: What excites you about Sagent’s mission to lead the evolution in loan servicing by solving its most complex challenges?  

It excites me because it is a long time coming. I have a learning and development background and the more complex your products are, the harder it is to train new and existing employees on the system; which increases errors and in turn causes the regulators to come knocking at your door. We’re doing the opposite by simplifying servicing operations with a focus on reducing costs, empowering compliance in every workflow, and delivering an excellent customer experience for both servicers and homeowners.  

When you think about Sagent’s values of “Relentless, Relevant, and Reliable” which of those resonates with you most?   

The one that resonates with me is “Reliable” and a close second is “Relentless”.  I am very dependable when it comes to work and meeting deadlines as well as I truly exhaust every option to find the solution. 

Speaking of Sagent’s values, what is your experience with Sagent’s culture?   

I have seen new employees come into the company with a predetermined thought of “Sagent’s Culture Needs Help”. I always feel it’s better to work with honey than vinegar.  Overall Sagent has a “Relentless” culture, meaning we have die-hard employees that work hard and will go the extra mile for their colleagues. It’s also the opposite when individuals have a selfish mentality or self-serving attitude, then most of the employees will allow you to figure it out on your own.  I have found most of the employees I met, treat each other like family. (Good not Bad) lol. 

What is your favorite thing about working for Sagent?   

I like working in an environment of trust, and I feel accomplished as we finish our work each day.  

We always like to ask our Sagent Standout’s colleagues for insights into what it’s like to work with them. Will Gehl, Senior Sales Support on Cheryl’s team, shared this: 

“After working with Cheryl for over two years now, I’ve learned she never does anything without putting 100% of herself into that task. All projects are much better off after they’ve been Cheryl-ified.” 

 

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