People always ask me where I got my vision for Movement Mortgage.
Where did I get the foresight to help start a company with a mission to love and value people? How did we develop the framework for an enterprise that strives to be a Movement of Change in our industry, corporate cultures and communities across the country?
My answer is always the same: my dad.
For years, my father, Dennis Crawford, owned a True Value hardware store in inner city Washington, D.C. He may not have articulated “love and value people” in his business the way we do at Movement, but my dad modeled those words daily.
He loved all of his customers and treated them with dignity, respect and care.
He devoted his time and talents to helping the less fortunate, whether that meant volunteering with a nonprofit that provided counseling, guidance and support to individuals and families, or ministering to prison inmates.
And he never looked down on people because of their station in life. For instance, he employed ex-felons. When others looked at their criminal histories and turned them away, my dad gave them a job and the chance to become part of a community — a family — that respected and cared for them.
As a result, those same employees learned to love each other.
I remember one such employee named Earl. He was one of my dad’s most trusted team members. Earl was a nice, quiet guy and a good worker. As it turns out, he was a better friend.
One day, Earl went into work and quit. Understandably, my dad was baffled.
A few hours later, another guy walked through the door, announcing that he heard the store had a job opening. My dad would later find out that Earl and this guy attended the same church. Sometime earlier, members of the congregation had prayed that the man who needed a job would find one.
That’s why Earl resigned — so a fellow church member could take his job.
Earl’s sacrifice made an impression on my dad, and both men would end up with jobs at his hardware store.
That’s just the kind of culture my father cultivated. It’s the same type of culture we intentionally foster at Movement, where our team members pour into the lives of their colleagues; where co-workers uplift and cherish one another; where teams are like family.
My dad’s humility wasn’t just apparent at work. It started at home.
He awoke at 5:45 a.m. every day, including Saturdays, to provide for me and our family. He did it with a smile and demonstrated the true meaning of servant leadership.
He inspired me to live a life of integrity and find value in serving others. My sister and I still benefit from and work to honor those lessons today.
But don’t think Dad was the only one to make a mark on our household. My mother, Susan, was right at his side. She, too, was an entrepreneur, and taught personal and professional development classes to companies across the country for more than 20 years.
Between both my parents, I was blessed with living, breathing testimonies of what it meant to be an influencer in business and in people’s lives.
That’s how we aim to operate at Movement. Our mission is encapsulated in Matthew 22:37, the New Testament passage where Jesus tells believers to love God with all their heart, mind and soul, and to love their neighbors as they love themselves.
My parents exemplify that verse.
I hope we do the same at Movement. I hope we understand that, no matter how many loans we process and underwrite, no matter how many branches we open or how good our marketing looks, we’re serving people.
And like my dad did with his customers, it should be our goal to serve them with the utmost dignity, honor and fairness.