International Women’s Day is a wonderful chance to celebrate the strong women all around us. Here at Homestead, we’re surrounded by smart, hardworking women who help our company grow and improve every day. In honor of this day, we interviewed our Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, Daniela Bigalli, who is just one of the many exceptional women at Homestead.
Tell us about your background and what you do now.
I am a first generation American. My parents were born and raised in Italy and emigrated to this country in the early 70’s. I was the first female to go to college in my family, and I worked my way up in the mortgage industry. I am currently the Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Homestead Funding, which allows me to lead a team of great individuals who all have the same goals in mind. We all strive to help our borrowers achieve their home ownership goals and help the people in our communities.
What would you say was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to get where you are today?
Personally, I have had many challenges. English was not my native language, and this caused some issues early on in my education. My parents worked around the clock to support us, so I grew up very quickly. Much of my childhood was spent helping them with the restaurant they owned instead of participating in normal childhood activities. This upbringing instilled a determination and strong work ethic in me.
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
First and foremost, my two amazing little girls are my biggest accomplishment. Secondly, finding a partner in life, my husband, who is very supportive and my greatest champion. Regarding my career, I always knew I wanted an executive leadership position where I could make a difference and help other people reach their maximum potential. Whenever I see someone achieve their personal mark for success and they feel that my leadership was a part of that success, I feel I have accomplished something great. Working with the right team to ensure people achieve the dream of homeownership with the least amount of friction is what gets me excited every day.
What advice do you have for girls and women aspiring to be successful in the professional world?
Know you are only restricted by the limits you impose on yourself. The ceiling only exists if you allow it. Work hard and smart and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. At all costs, do not sacrifice or compromise your personal values and don’t be scared to follow your instinct. Finally, find a mentor, male or female, who will help and guide you.
What advice do you have for men to support women?
It is important to look at what value a person brings to the team. Recognize that everyone, men and women, working together will create the best environment for everyone to be successful. Some of the smartest and most successful men I know realize that value, loyalty, and intelligence is not defined by gender.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Today is a day to be proud of and thankful for all the strong women around us, so remember to show the women in your life how much you appreciate them.