‘A Career Without Compromise’ — Why This Highly Accomplished Leader Loves Her Company

Sponsored by Freddie Mac

Olufunke T. Owolabi

Photo courtesy of Freddie Mac.

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“If you enjoy creating value and aren’t afraid to test new ideas and do things that haven’t been done before, this is the place for you. It’s certainly one of the top reasons that I choose to work at Freddie Mac. Each day, I get to challenge myself, experiment and co-create new programs and activities that support employee engagement and development. With company values of innovation, leadership and diversity of thought, and inclusive family benefits like fertility/IVF treatments and backup care, I get to have a career without compromise. That’s priceless.” — Olufunke T. Owolabi, Director, Employee Experience & Development, Multifamily Business Management.

Olufunke T. Owolabi is passionate about her job. During her 10 years at Freddie Mac, a company that makes home possible for millions of families and individuals across the country, Owolabi has remained at the forefront of building an engaging and inclusive employee culture.

Owolabi began her career journey at Freddie Mac in its Multifamily division as a business management manager and, through hard work and dedication, grew her responsibilities to include internal communications; learning and development; and recently internal employee engagement in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

As she grew her career, Owolabi’s accomplishments also grew. She launched a diversity speaks series for employees, which opened a new level of freedom and communication to understand the racial and social inequities impacting the housing industry. She also started DEI roundups and an inclusion and diversity advisory group, both of which increased opportunities for employees to look inward and outward for ways to make an impact. As a result of her efforts, Owolabi has more than doubled the inclusive engagement touchpoints for Freddie Mac Multifamily leaders to connect with staff, build community, and increase inclusion and diversity journey awareness. 

Owolabi also spearheaded Freddie Mac’s partnership with Project Destined, where Multifamily staff served as mentors for a 10-week program teaching students at  Friendship Public Charter High School in Washington, D.C., the fundamentals of real estate financing. The students participated in challenges and games, and the program ended with a case competition to show off their skills. 

Through her vision and leadership, Owolabi has cemented her role as dynamic leader. And in 2020, under Owolabi’s leadership, her team was recognized by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) with the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award.

Currently, Owolabi leads learning and development, culture and engagement, internal communications, and the efforts that move the Multifamily team forward to do their best work. Owolabi is a housing insider leading the internal employee engagement that helps Freddie Mac’s 900-member Multifamily team better understand the diverse housing needs of the nation’s 44 million renters.

Learn how Freddie Mac supported Owolabi in her journey, and why she and other women love working at the company. In the interview below, Owolabi takes the time to share her perspective as a woman leader at Freddie Mac. 

What are Freddie Mac’s core values? 

We value delivering on our commitments, leading and modeling behaviors that create an open, inclusive work environment. We deliver results, with our stakeholders' needs always at the forefront. 

What differentiates your company from others in its space and industry?

Hands down, the people. Freddie Mac employees are laser-focused on creating more opportunities for borrowers and renters. We’re committed to creating value in the housing market and using our platform to make real change happen in the communities we serve. We’re a purpose-driven community that inspires me to bring my A-game every day! 

Describe five employee benefits that positively impact women who work at your company. 

  1. Bright Horizons Backup and Elder Care.

  2. Tuition reimbursement.

  3. Behavioral health services for employees and their families.

  4. Coverage for in vitro fertilization and fertility prescription drug benefits.

  5. Women networking memberships, such as Elevate, and other personal and professional development through the Women’s Interactive Network (WIN) business resource group (BRG).

What career development opportunities can women job seekers expect at Freddie Mac? How is career pathing approached? 

There are so many development opportunities to pull from. Two that are top for me include WIN BRG participation and divisional mentoring. They do such a great job of providing programming that speaks to the moment we are in and support us in gaining complementary skills or upskilling. 

I’ve had the best mentoring relationships with women in my business line. It is great to have someone who will help you build awareness and connect to your personal strengths for greater business impact. 

You’re a diversity, equity and inclusion leader at Freddie Mac. What does this mean to you?

DEI is about making a workplace where everyone feels comfortable. And that’s where the “B” comes in — belonging. DEI isn’t enough. It’s all about embracing differences, offering respect, supporting others and being an ally.

Is there anything else women should know about pursuing a career here? 

At Freddie Mac, you really get to chart your own path forward. There are many women leaders across the company, so you get to see an image of yourself and the possibilities. No marketing or window dressing; women are equal players and valued for their contributions at Freddie Mac! 

What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about Freddie Mac that you think they should? 

That there’s a lot of heart in the Freddie Mac community. Our BRGs really help connect the heart and head in the company. There are 10 BRGS that give employees the opportunity to connect with like-hearted staff members to learn, share and co-create. 

What’s one thing Freddie Mac does that you think is particularly unique or unexpected? 

I like the way our communications team looks into the organization to tell the stories of employees you wouldn’t typically hear from. The “Day in the Life” series gives you a peek into an employee's work: why they stay and what they do outside of work that gives them a sense of purpose. I enjoy reading those stories and learning about the whole person; It’s deeply inspiring. 

What do employees say about working at Freddie Mac?

“‘We make home possible’ — that is Freddie Mac’s mission. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work for a company with such a noble mission that goes above and beyond to advance equality in the housing market. This is not limited to our customers; employees at Freddie Mac are encouraged and assisted with affording their first homes. Regarding equity, senior management has been successful in creating a culture in which all employees are encouraged to be leaders, always advance and voice their opinions given that inclusion is an important fabric of the company’s culture. 

Would you like to grow your career as part of the Freddie Mac community? Well, they’re hiring! Browse current positions today.


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