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Life and Work with Tenby Dahman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tenby Dahman.

Tenby, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The year was 1999. I was fresh out of college the year prior, 24 years old and getting my MBA at the University of Colorado with no idea what I wanted to do for my career. Having grown up an athlete in Colorado and competing as a Division 1 gymnast for the University of Oklahoma, all I knew is that I was glad to be home. My sport was my life’s focus and identity to that point, so I found myself saying “Now what?”

I have always been self-motivated, but I did not grow up knowing what I wanted to do. So, I had to figure it out. When I was introduced to the mortgage industry, it piqued my interest right away and seemed to encompass many life skills that could be carried over from my gymnastics career and things I enjoyed in my education. At the beginning, I knew that to perfect my skill, I had to train. After attending a career fair, I landed my first job in the mortgage industry. As I worked, I devoured training, books, and worked long hours to practice, working with clients all over the county. With a year of corporate experience under my belt, I knew I had perfected my skills enough to take the leap to start building a business on my own.

After 21 years, I have now been working as a Mortgage Planner longer than my 19-year gymnastics career. The love for my work still carries and drives me to help so many through the process of homeownership and financial awareness. I see connections with all new clients as opportunities to make buying or refinancing their homes something they can do with confidence, knowing they are getting the best possible products, price, and advice.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Getting started on your own is never easy, but I have always told myself “If they can do it, so can I!” As a kid, I use to practice in our basement on a carpeted balance beam, handmade by my dad. I remember thinking about an Olympic gymnast and saying that statement over and over to myself.  That built self-confidence before attempting a new trick, while knowing I may not be successful at first. Going into every meeting with a realtor, financial planner, or talking to a new client was like proving myself in a first interview every time and took the same building of confidence. It still is like a first interview each time today, but now I have done it thousands of times. I feel like we professionals must ask ourselves “Would I hire me?” If the answer is “No”, then we must change how we are doing things.

Over the years, I have perfected what I do into something I am exceedingly proud of. The early 2000’s brought about the first recession I had experienced in my career and I was newly married.  Mortgage rates dropped and increased mortgage demand, so I found myself working 60-70 hours a week to keep up. Although the world was hurting, this allowed me to build a solid foundation of clients and establish efficiencies I still use today. As the economy recovered and mortgage rates went up, thereafter, I had to put on my marketing hat to bring in new business. This cycle has continued many times over. There is always work to do.

Starting a family and running my business with the birth of our first daughter in 2004 and second in 2006 added a layer that was so rewarding, but also challenging. I did not want to let go of everything I had worked so hard to build. So, as the economy and my business ebbed and flowed, I had to find a balance for the sake of my marriage and my kids. With the great recession of 2008, there were times when I had to work a full day, focus on family time, then go back to work for hours after putting the kids to bed.

By far, my biggest challenge was being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. Again, not wanting to give up everything I had built, taking this time for my health was frustrating and I felt both sad and angry. Why me? However, I found myself saying again “If they can do it, so can I!” So many women have recovered from this and so can I! After a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, all the while working as best I could with the help of co-workers, friends, neighbors, and family, I was able to keep my business going and thriving. My clients, colleagues, and realtor partners have now been with me through thick and thin and I am so thankful.

Please tell us about Colorado Mortgage Planner.
With every interaction, my goals are education and honesty, especially given the barrage of information out there. It is my job to make sure clients are better prepared and educated after talking with me than they were before. Further, I feel like I become friends with my clients and give them the same advice and level of service I would my own family. As we have conversations about their financial future, I try to get to know them in a relaxed and fun way for them to be confident they have an ally in me and know they can reach out to me anytime.

My moto is Lending Confidence, which means that people can have confidence in the numbers we provide, trust they’re getting the best loan structure, competitive pricing and straight answers, assurance that my team will communicate thoroughly from start to finish, and knowledge that I will go to bat for them all the way through closing.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
This is a tough one. I feel like, as women, we are expected to be so many things and achieve a level of perceived perfection in ALL aspects of our lives. I am guilty of wanting to be the best at what I do while being the perfect mother, friend, daughter, sister, etc., putting myself last on the totem pole. I wholeheartedly feel that this and the stress of it all caused my cancer. That slap in the face gave me perspective and taught me so much. With social media, it is easy to compare ourselves to each other, but we individually have a story and we need to peel back the layers. We need to work on showing our vulnerability and imperfections and see those qualities as relatable and real. Also, we need to practice physical and emotional self-care. That will bring us more happiness and success than anything and set a new precedence for anyone following in our footsteps.

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Image Credit:
Jennifer Johnson

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