• Gretchen Wilcox

Honesty, dedication, professionalism & humor

What was your greatest professional accomplishment in 2015?

We have maintained a very high level of business this year and our team remains very strong. Several of my employees have been working at GS Wilcox for over 15 years, which makes our customers committed to our service. This equates to repeat business time after time. Being in the mortgage banking business, the lenders have been most aggressive on pricing this year which benefits the borrowers we work with.

Who has been the strongest influence on your career?

My father has always been my strongest influence. He always treated me as an equal and gave me the confidence to believe I could do anything I made my mind up to do. He was a true family man and set an example for how we should live our lives—family has always come first.

What qualities and/or personality traits do you feel make you most successful?

I am always honest and professional and try to bring humor to the work place. I am also a delegator, which I know is hard for some entrepreneurs. I completely trust my employees to carry out their tasks which empowers them to be very successful.

What was the most defining moment for you in your profession?

I started my mortgage banking firm over 20 years ago—I walked away from a high salary and got a second mortgage on my home. I pretty much risked everything. I did not know it at the time, but I was the first, and still only, female founded commercial real estate mortgage banking firm in the country. We now have 15 employees and service approximately $1 billion in loans.

Do you feel being a woman is an advantage, disadvantage, or no advantage in today’s business world?

Why? Why not?

I think a smart woman in business is an advantage, just like a smart man in business is an advantage. I would say however that the added value of being a woman in my profession is that it comes with free marketing, since there are not many women. What activities do you enjoy during you free time? Entertaining at home, golf, travel, and being with my family.

What word of advice would you give to a woman about to go into your allied field?

I am not sure why there are not more women commercial real estate mortgage bankers—not only in this area, but across the country. My advice to young woman is to work hard and to not be afraid of failing. This is an excellent field to pursue and with dedication and hard work, the profession provides monetary rewards, fun (as it is a people business) and a quality of life for those who want to raise a family and have that be priority.

Tell us about your family.

I have a son and daughter who both went to Bucknell University and are now interested in pursuing careers in the commercial real estate industry. It is rewarding to me to have positively influenced their ambitions.

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