Leadership Corner: De’Andre O., Vice President, Employee Relations
Indianapolis-born and bred, De’Andre O. is based in Fishers, IN, and lives just 10 minutes from the Freedom Mortgage Fisher office. She has been with Freedom Mortgage for 10 years and, before that, was with Irwin Mortgage for three years before the company was acquired by Freedom Mortgage. Her entire career has been in human resources except for a few years when she stepped away to work with her husband’s property management business.
That time out of HR (particularly being managed by her husband) was an experience that ultimately helped De'Andre when she returned to HR.
She explains, “It was very different to pull back who I was and allow my husband to lead while I took in the knowledge that he could give to me. I learned about leadership and how to find my voice and use it.”
As Vice President, Employee Relations, De’Andre leads a team and works across multiple disciplines and departments handling sensitive matters. This takes special skills and a flair for diplomacy, some of which she credits to being a mother.
“My two children are adults now, but even though they grew up in the same household, they needed to be mothered in different ways. I bring that mothering attitude to the workplace. When you manage, each person needs a different kind of nurturing. Just like my kids are different, I need to bring a different emotional intelligence to each employee. Being a mom has allowed me to learn how to pivot in Human Resources, and it’s also helped me work with managers and be great with politics.”
“I like to pour into people and, currently, it’s important to get people to understand that we go through change. The past few years have been a time of crisis in the world, and Freedom Mortgage is in the middle of it. As employees and managers, we have to do more with less. Managers tend to rely on a transactional approach when that happens. I try to help people be more authentic and make changes, because you can’t be the same manager from 2019 in 2022. For instance, check in with your employees instead of just focusing on the job itself. We have to shift with the times.”
"I am very into Ancestry.com lately. Growing up, I saw my father’s black Baptist side of the family, but I never saw my mother’s Russian side or experienced her practicing Judaism. I wanted to learn more about her family. Now, I have traced my father’s family and my mother’s Russian Jewish roots."
De’Andre also played golf in high school.