August 16, 2022

By Eileen Wubbe

The Secured Finance Foundation, in conjunction with SFNet’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, developed and launched a Mentoring Program that provides the next generation access to the knowledge and expertise of the most talented and respected executives in the secured finance industry. The mentoring initiative was created to serve the secured finance community by bridging the gap between established veterans and those new to their careers. By focusing on inclusivity, SFNet hopes to offer a missing component in its members’ professional trajectories.

Candice Hubert, senior vice president business development, Republic Business Credit, LLC is head of the mentorship initiative and says the program serves as a bridge and another avenue to create partnership and advocacy across the industry.

“This program is a big step in the right direction,” Hubert explained. “We have so many talented industry leaders dedicated to seeing equitable advancement for all, and they are willing to share their stories, experiences, and career advice. I personally love that the SFNet is dedicated to supporting such a program; everyone can benefit in having a mentor and an advocate!”

This virtual Mentoring Program is conducted through a LinkedIn group and features various virtual events over a three-month period. Shortly following the mentor and mentee application window, held June 15-July 14, the mentors and mentees were accepted and welcomed to the program. There are 22 mentors and 22 mentees. Each mentee selected five mentors that they wanted to meet during a speed mentoring Zoom event on August 4. Afterwards mentees selected their top three preferences and received their final mentor/mentee match.

Betty Hernandez, executive vice president-chief credit officer, SLR Business Credit, and chair of SFNet’s Diversity, Equality and Inclusiveness Committee, had the opportunity to meet five potential mentees during the August 4 speed mentoring event.

“I’m very excited to participate in the newly launched SFNet Mentoring Program,” Hernandez said. “From one meeting alone, I know that I have made valuable connections to future leaders in our industry. It is not only a great way to foster younger diverse talent in our industry, but it also is an opportunity to meet new people and learn from them.”

Each mentee/mentor pairing will be tasked as a team with participating in discussion groups, Zoom gatherings and paired homework, all geared towards professional development. From August 15-September 1, mentors and mentees can take the time to get to know each other better before the program launches on September 1.

Once the program is launched, there will be weekly organic discussion prompts posted on Tuesdays, and a structured group virtual gathering or event on Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. ET. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to plan to participate and attend as many events as possible to ensure they get the most benefit out of joining.  Organic discussion prompts will include weekly discussion topics, meeting with another mentor/mentee pair or meeting with a mentor about a specific topic, while structured group gatherings will be comprised of resume review, job shadowing and reverse mentoring.

Terry Keating, chief executive officer, Access Capital, Inc., is a mentor and looks forward to sharing the obstacles he’s had to overcome and lessons learned along the way in his career.

“My life and career have been a winding journey,” Keating said. “I am keenly aware of the advantages and helping hands that made my journey easier.  This program affords me the opportunity to make a difference and hopefully help others become more confident, find their voice, learn some important lessons, or have a door opened that otherwise may have seemed to be a barrier. Equally important, it is an opportunity for me to learn and better understand the world through a different lens than mine.”

Mentees, on the other hand, are looking forward to having a mentor who can listen and provide advice and share their experiences that are different from their own. Tessa Brend, vice president at SLR Business Credit, is excited to participate in the program, having never been in an official mentoring relationship for the almost 14 years she’s been in the industry.

“I look forward to working with someone who can guide me and be a sounding board for ideas, ambitions, and questions,” Brend said.

“I feel very fortunate to participate in the inaugural SFFoundation Mentoring Program,” added mentee Will Kemp, vice president business development, Republic Business Credit, LLC. “I know everyone has busy schedules, so YoPros are fortunate to have so many impressive mentors volunteering. I look forward to working with someone who has a different background, career path, and experiences from mine. I hope to be able to return the favor someday down the road. The development of future leaders is vital to the success of this industry as we will have tough times ahead (and good times of course!)”

The Mentoring Program’s closing event will be on November 3, marking the end of the program and individual participation. SFNet will provide mentors and mentees with a certificate of completion and they will be asked to fill out a survey on their experiences. They will be invited to reapply for the next iteration if they are interested in continuing with the program. Each iteration will last three months before resetting. Applicants (mentors and mentees) will be accepted during a designated timeframe, prior to the start of each iteration. For more information on the program, please contact Ryan Green, program manager, at


About the Author

Eileen Wubbe 150x150
Eileen Wubbe is senior editor of The Secured Lender magazine and TSL Express daily e-newsletter.