Elizabeth Squires Named a 2020 MReport Rising Business Leader Award Finalist

Safeguard in the News
September 12, 2020

Source: MReport

In a year of challenges, it’s all the more important to recognize excellence. One way we do this at MReport is our annual September Women in Housing issue. Packed with content driven by female mortgage leaders, within this edition we also announced the 2020 Keystone Award finalists.

Throughout the next few weeks, we will be rolling out profiles on the women who were recognized as finalists in each of the five Keystone categories. Today, we start with the Rising Business Leader Award. The Rising Business Leader Award recognizes individuals who have “demonstrated an outstanding capability to lead and drive progress.”

To read the rest of the finalist profiles click here—and stay tuned to the October issue of MReport where we will reveal which of these deserving women will take home the Rising Business Leader award.

Emily Chavarriaga, Default Operations Manager, Bayview Loan Servicing LLC

Since she joined Bayview Loan Servicing nearly eight years ago, Emily Chavarriaga has worked across six different departments including foreclosure, title, asset management, modification conversions, and non-performing loan operations. In her ongoing work as the operations administrator for the company’s government loan servicing team, she is responsible for maximizing efficiency at both automated and human-interaction levels.

In a 2019 interview with MReport, Charvarriaga noted how her collaborative efforts with the company’s Enterprise Optimization Team (EOT) resulted in a significant upgrade on the department’s operations.

“Using software with artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities, the EOT team and I went on to create an additional six bots that completely changed the landscape of the government servicing claims department, ensuring lower operational risk, improved internal processes, and reduction of cost,” she said.

Chavarriaga has also gone the proverbial extra mile in building strong relationships with her colleagues, Bayview’s vendors and customers, and her peers in the industry. She serves as Chairwoman of the Bayview Events Committee and is a member of several different industry groups including mPower, Willpower, and the ALFN Marketing and Event Planning group. Last year, ALFN honored her with its Junior Professional & Executives Group Picture the Future Award.

Amanda Preaux, Director of Operations, American Destiny Real Estate LLC

Based in the Pittsburgh-area office of American Destiny Real Estate, Amanda Preaux joined the company in May 2013 after previously working in the healthcare management field. While the connection between the two industries may not seem immediately obvious, Preaux bridged this gap by presenting a vital skill set that is equally at home in both fields: a holistic-level of empathy for those in the midst of frequently stressful situations, a subtle level of communication that enables her to explain strategies with clarity and cogency, and an active and hands-on approach to taking charge of difficult tasks and ensuring they are completed without delays.

Preaux realizes that a real estate professional does not merely exist as an isolated figure but rather should be viewed as a vibrant leader within a community’s daily ebb and flow. Last year, Preaux reached out to City Mission, a nonprofit working with the Greater Pittsburgh area’s homeless population with the goal of transitioning them into stable and secure housing. Preaux represented American Destiny by presenting a check for $1,000 to help finance City Mission’s important work.

Preaux is also a Director with the Washington- Greene Association of Realtors, a regional trade group that works to strengthen the business standards of the real estate profession. Preaux serves as the association’s secretary on the executive committee, which puts her in line for the group’s presidency within the next few years.

Elizabeth Squires, Director of Client Account Management, Safeguard Properties

 Elizabeth Squires joined Safeguard Properties in 2011 as an REO specialist after a career as the owner and director of a Cleveland art gallery. She quickly began to take on additional duties and responsibilities within the company, including business analyst, supervisor, and manager. “After I lost my job and small business during the Great Recession, I was fortunate to land a career within this industry,” Elizabeth Squires told MReport. “The relationships I have fostered helped define me and provided stability for my family.

In her nine years with the company, Squires has repeatedly displayed the qualities that define leadership. She was a member of the inaugural Emerging Leader Program at Safeguard in 2017 and has served as a featured speaker in Safeguard’s annual webinar series and as a moderator at the National Property Preservation Conferences. Squires was among the Safeguard representatives at the Five Star PR18 Summit held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, following Hurricane Maria’s devastation, where she offered much-welcomed insight on complex considerations ranging from title issues for properties in securing FEMA assistance to improving communications between banks and impacted property owners.

“I feel privileged to work in an industry that offers so many amazing programs and services for those needing assistance, “Squires said. “I get to witness this every day through the clients I work with and see, first-hand, their commitment to their borrowers. As more and more individuals find themselves in positions of hardship due to the current pandemic, I feel honored to be working in an industry that employs so many hard-working individuals who collaborate to meet the challenges faced in our ever-changing world.”

Amber Todd, VP of Default Oversight, RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation

Amber Todd joined RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation in 2012 after holding leadership roles at a law firm where she was responsible for the strategic oversight and day-to-day operations of the foreclosure department. During her tenure at RoundPoint, she has grown her career in default servicing from a Foreclosure Specialist to a Default Program Manager and rose to become a Default Leader.

Todd is recognized as an expert in default technology and has tapped into this skill-set to transform the company’s foreclosure and bankruptcy departments. She has implemented several internal processes and controls to ensure continuous regulatory compliance in an ever-changing environment. Todd’s high-tech savvy skills came into full play when she spearheaded the effort to build robust processes within the Black Knight Financial Services’ LoanSphere technology. The result of these processes maximized efficiencies internally, as well as on the law firm side. It is an accomplishment that brought positive comments regarding RoundPoint’s approach to default automation from the company’s partners.

Todd’s willingness to “roll up her sleeves” and take charge of difficult situations has made her a servicing industry leader. Todd is also a prominent figure within the industry. She is involved in the BKFS FAC Committees, USFN Eviction and Bankruptcy Committees, and ALFN’s Women in Legal Leadership.

Marissa M. Yaker, Managing Attorney of Foreclosure, Padgett Law Group

Marissa M. Yaker has been in the default industry since 2013 and has quickly received national attention for her legal knowledge and passion in the area of foreclosure law, particularly regarding FHA/HUD Servicing Handbook 4000.1 and Regulations.

Yaker told MReport, “I have a respect for this industry, and I’ve always been excited to contribute to the development of the law, move our industry forward, and to leave it a better place to practice and do business.”

Yaker has become a much-welcomed figure within the servicing industry through her authorship on a series of magazine articles and as an articulate guest speaker across industry webinars and trade conference panels. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including being named Top 25 Women in Law by DS News. She is also a member of the Legal League 100’s Special Working Initiatives Group, the MBA’s FHA Subcommittee, and several other key industry groups.

Yaker loves the practice of law and values industry collaboration such as attending/ conducting webinars and working with the agencies for items of clarification. She is a huge advocate of the motto that “it never hurts to ask.”

“Padgett Law Group gives me the room to pursue my academic interests, which is partly what drew me to the law in the first place, and to combine that with practical application every day for our clients. So, when our clients get alerts or I seek clarifications from HUD, it’s coming from a place of genuine interest and excitement to apply what I’ve learned.”

On December 9, 2019, Yaker achieved one of the greatest goals any attorney can pursue when she was sworn in and enabled to argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

x

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Alan Jaffa

Alan Jaffa is the chief executive officer for Safeguard, steering the company as the mortgage field services industry leader. He also serves on the board of advisors for SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Alan joined Safeguard in 1995, learning the business from the ground up. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2002, and was named CEO in May 2010. His hands-on experience has given him unique insights as a leader to innovate, improve and strengthen Safeguard’s processes to assure that the company adheres to the highest standards of quality and customer service.

Under Alan’s leadership, Safeguard has grown significantly with strategies that have included new and expanded services, technology investments that deliver higher quality and greater efficiency to clients, and strategic acquisitions. He takes a team approach to process improvement, involving staff at all levels of the organization to address issues, brainstorm solutions, and identify new and better ways to serve clients.

In 2008, Alan was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business in its annual “40-Under-40” profile of young leaders. He also was named a NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist in 2013.

x

Chief Operating Officer

Michael Greenbaum

Michael Greenbaum is the chief operating officer for Safeguard. Mike has been instrumental in aligning operations to become more efficient, effective, and compliant with our ever-changing industry requirements. Mike has a proven track record of excellence, partnership and collaboration at Safeguard. Under Mike’s leadership, all operational departments of Safeguard have reviewed, updated and enhanced their business processes to maximize efficiency and improve quality control.

Mike joined Safeguard in July 2010 as vice president of REO and has continued to take on additional duties and responsibilities within the organization, including the role of vice president of operations in 2013 and then COO in 2015.

Mike built his business career in supply-chain management, operations, finance and marketing. He has held senior management and executive positions with Erico, a manufacturing company in Solon, Ohio; Accel, Inc., a packaging company in Lewis Center, Ohio; and McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply company in Aurora, Ohio.

Before entering the business world, Mike served in the U.S. Army, Ordinance Branch, and specialized in supply chain management. He is a distinguished graduate of West Point (U.S. Military Academy), where he majored in quantitative economics.

x

CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER

George Mehok

George Mehok is the chief information officer for Safeguard. He is responsible for all strategic technology decisions, new systems deployments and data center operations supporting a national network of more than 10,000 mobile workers.

George has more than 20 years of leadership experience dedicated to high-growth companies in the mobile telecommunications and financial services industries, spanning startups to global industry leaders.

George played a senior role in the formation of Verizon Wireless, leading the IT product development and strategic planning team. He led the integration planning for the Verizon merger including: GTE, Vodafone-AirTouch, Bell Atlantic Mobile and PrimeCo.

As chief information officer at Revol Wireless, a VC-backed CDMA wireless communications network operator, George’s team implemented an integrated technology infrastructure and award-winning business intelligence platform.

George holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Eastern Michigan University and an M.B.A. from The Ohio State University. He is a board member of Akron University’s School of Business Center for Information Technology, in addition to an advisory board member for OHTec.

In 2013, George won the Crain’s Cleveland Business CIO of the Year award for his team’s work in completing a major acquisition and technology transformation at Safeguard. In 2015, George’s team was recognized by InformationWeek’s annual Elite 100 ranking of the most innovative U.S.-based users of business technology. The mobile inspection technology developed at Safeguard was selected as InformationWeek’s “One of the top 20 ideas to steal in 2015”.

x

General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Linda Erkkila, Esq.

Linda Erkkila is the general counsel and executive vice president for Safeguard, with oversight responsibilities for the legal, human resources, training, compliance and audit departments. Linda’s broad scope of oversight covers regulatory issues that impact Safeguard’s operations, pro-active risk mitigation, enterprise strategic planning, human capital and training initiatives, compliance and audit services, litigation and claims management, and counsel related to mergers, acquisition and joint ventures.

Linda’s oversight of the legal department along with multiple compliance and human capital focused departments assures that Safeguard’s strategic initiatives align with its resources, leverage opportunities across the company, and contemplate compliance mandates. Her practice spans almost 20 years, and Linda’s experience, both as outside and in-house counsel, covers a wide range of corporate matters, including regulatory disclosure, corporate governance compliance, risk assessment, executive compensation, litigation management, and merger and acquisition activity. Her experience at a former Fortune 500 financial institution during the subprime crisis helped develop Linda’s pro-active approach to change management during periods of heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Linda previously served as vice president and attorney for National City Corporation, as securities and corporate governance counsel for Agilysys Inc., and as an associate at Thompson Hine LLP. She earned her JD at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Linda holds a degree in economics from Miami University and an MBA. In 2017, Linda was named as both a “Woman of Influence” by HousingWire and as a “Leading Lady” by MReport.

x

Chief Financial Officer

Joe Iafigliola

Joe Iafigliola is the Chief Financial Officer for Safeguard. Joe is responsible for the Control, Quality Assurance, Business Development, Accounting & Information Security departments, and is a Managing Director of SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Joe has been in a wide variety of roles in finance, supply chain management, information systems development, and sales and marketing. His career includes senior positions with McMaster-Carr Supply Company, Newell/Rubbermaid, and Procter and Gamble.

Joe has an MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University’s Honors Accounting program.

x

AVP, Operations

Jennifer Jozity

Jennifer Jozity is the assistant vice president of operations, overseeing inspections, REO and property preservation for Safeguard. Jen ensures quality work is performed in the field and internally, to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. Jen has demonstrated the ability to deliver consistent results in order audit and order management.  She will build upon these strengths in order to deliver this level of excellence in both REO and property preservation operations.

Jen joined Safeguard in 1997 and was promoted to director of inspections operations in 2009 and assistant vice president of inspections operations in 2012.

She graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in business.

x

AVP, Finance

Jennifer Anspach

Jennifer Anspach is the assistant vice president of finance for Safeguard. She is responsible for the company’s national workforce of approximately 1,000 employees. She manages recruitment strategies, employee relations, training, personnel policies, retention, payroll and benefits programs. Additionally, Jennifer has oversight of the accounts receivable and loss functions formerly within the accounting department.

Jennifer joined the company in April 2009 as a manager of accounting and finance and a year later was promoted to director. She was named AVP of human capital in 2014. Prior to joining Safeguard, she held several management positions at OfficeMax and InkStop in both operations and finance.

Jennifer is a graduate of Youngstown State University. She was named a Crain’s Cleveland Business Archer Award finalist for HR Executive of the Year in 2017.

x

AVP, Application Architecture

Rick Moran

Rick Moran is the assistant vice president of application architecture for Safeguard. Rick is responsible for evolving the Safeguard IT systems. He leads the design of Safeguard’s enterprise application architecture. This includes Safeguard’s real-time integration with other systems, vendors and clients; the future upgrade roadmap for systems; and standards designed to meet availability, security, performance and goals.

Rick has been with Safeguard since 2011. During that time, he has led the system upgrades necessary to support Safeguard’s growth. In addition, Rick’s team has designed and implemented several innovative systems.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Rick was director of enterprise architecture at Revol Wireless, a privately held CDMA Wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana, and operated his own consulting firm providing services to the manufacturing, telecommunications, and energy sectors.

x

AVP, Technology Infrastructure and Cloud Services

Steve Machovina

Steve Machovina is the assistant vice president of technology infrastructure and cloud services for Safeguard. He is responsible for the overall management and design of Safeguard’s hybrid cloud infrastructure. He manages all technology engineering staff who support data centers, telecommunications, network, servers, storage, service monitoring, and disaster recovery.

Steve joined Safeguard in November 2013 as director of information technology operations.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was vice president of information technology at Revol Wireless, a privately held wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana. He also held management positions with Northcoast PCS and Corecomm Communications, and spent nine years as a Coast Guard officer and pilot.

Steve holds a BBA in management information systems from Kent State University in Ohio and an MBA from Wayne State University in Michigan.

x

AVP, Business Development

Tim Rath

Tim Rath is the AVP of business development for Safeguard. He is responsible for developing innovative growth strategies for Safeguard and developing and overseeing potential partnerships, mergers and acquisitions.

Tim joined Safeguard in 2011 as project director and has filled numerous roles within Vendor Management, most recently serving as director of vendor management, a role he assumed in 2011.

Prior to Safeguard, Tim worked as director of supply chain at PartsSource Inc. in Aurora, Ohio, a provider of medical replacement parts, procurement solutions and healthcare supply chain management technology services. He also has held sales positions with Rexel, ComDoc, and Pier Associates, all based in Ohio.

Tim holds a degree in marketing and sales from The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. He also earned his FAA Certified Commercial UAS (Drone) Pilot license in 2017.

x

Assistant Vice president of Application Development

Steve Goberish

Steve Goberish, is the assistant vice president of application development for Safeguard. He is responsible for the maintenance and evolution of Safeguard’s vendor systems ensuring high-availability, security and scalability while advancing the vendor products’ capabilities and enhancing the vendor experience.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was a senior technical architect and development manager at First American Title Insurance, a publicly held title insurance provider based in southern California, in addition to managing and developing applications in multiple sectors from insurance to VOIP.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio.