Effortless Conversations is a Princeton Mortgage podcast highlighting what makes our company and the housing industry so great: the people! Every journey has an inspiring story behind it and Effortless Conversations uncovers how that journey has helped our people thrive. In this first episode, Nicole Gordon, a Loan Officer and Team Leader here at Princeton Mortgage, talks about her amazing journey, from starting her own business with her husband Mark Gordon, to moving south to Charleston, to becoming a top leader in the company.
Nicole Gordon found her passion at a young age: she loved meeting people and building relationships. Early in her professional career, Nicole spent time at a family member's demolition company. Here, she learned exactly what she wanted. “I knew that I wanted to do something that I could run on my own, make my own schedule, work as hard as I wanted and make as much money as I wanted. Commission never scared me,” said Nicole. It was by chance that she found herself in a sales position within the mortgage industry. Her roommate was a junior accountant and asked Nicole to interview there as part of a recruiting contest. “I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere of the company." Nicole fell in love with the company's culture immediately, but it wasn't the only think to spark her interest. It was here that she gained immense knowledge of the mortgage industry and built many personal relationships, including that of her future husband, Mark Gordon.
Due to the impact of the economic downturn in 2008, the company she launched her mortgage career at eventually folded. Together, Nicole and Mark found themselves deciding what their next move would be. “We went home and sat at our kitchen table, put a business plan together, and decided this is what we are going to do.” Nicole recalls the friction she felt from her close relatives after announcing their decision to start a mortgage company during a recession. Despite the odds, the company was a success with all the aspects of the culture and atmosphere that she initially fell in love with.
It was by chance (or fate) again that Nicole and her now growing family’s life would change again. After purchasing their dream home in New Jersey, Nicole and Mark were getting ready to go on vacation while Nicole was pregnant with their second daughter. Due to the Zika virus, their vacation to St. Martin was cancelled. Instead they found themselves visiting Charleston, South Carolina. “We fell in love and we decided we were going to retire there eventually,” says Nicole. That Winter, during a cold spell in New Jersey, her husband's car lost control on a patch of black ice. Shortly after, Mark decided that enough was enough. Nature (or fate) had made the final decision for them. Nicole remembers Mark saying: "We are going to sell the company and we are moving to the beach."
In the midst of this turning point in their lives, they were hit with another curveball. Enter Princeton Mortgage and Rich Weidel. Rich reached out to Mark to discuss some ideas around relaunching a mortgage company with him. What was supposed to be a couple hours turned into several. When Mark came home he expressed that, “We are going to do big things with this guy, he will run the most amazing company.” As they settled into their new lives in Charleston, their journey with Princeton Mortgage began. Nicole took on several hats within the company before settling in as a Loan Officer and building her own sales team and Mark is now the National Sales Director. On working with her husband, Nicole explains that, “I think we can agree that we both wouldn’t be here today without the support of one another. It’s an incredible thing to come together at the end of the day and discuss things that you are excited about or stressed about and have the other person really understand what you mean.”
Together, they have seen the company grow from its infancy into the success it is today. Nicole recalls hearing the formation and announcement of the Princeton Promise, a concept so controversial that several people walked out of the company upon hearing it. “We were figuring out what to do to separate ourselves in the mortgage industry and it was amazing to be a part of that. I saw the culture building and it was just a snowball effect.” The growth has been exponential.
One of the objectives at Princeton Mortgage is to deliver value to customers. A prime example of this is with a customer Nicole worked with who was moving from New Jersey to Charleston. Not only did Nicole help her with the process being approved for the mortgage of her new home, she helped find her a job that would qualify her for it. “She is still working there loves and loves the company. That’s my favorite story,” says Nicole.
Since 2018, Princeton Mortgage’s funded volume has increased by 631% and they have doubled their team, All while remaining in the top 1% in customer satisfaction for all mortgage companies based on Net Promoter Scores. When talking about where Princeton Mortgage is today, Nicole gets a little emotional as she describes, “I started crying at dinner with Mark. I feel so proud of everything he is accomplishing, how this company is growing leaps and bounds, and how we are doing it the right way. The people who are here, want to be here and its completely transparent. To be able to do this and help people grow personally as they are growing in this company is very special.”
Listen to the full story of this inspirational mother and woman here. You can also listen to Nicole's podcast, Meeting Charleston, a natural extension of her passion for meeting people and building relationships in her Charleston community here!