Callie Watkins - Success Story

Building Enduring Connections and Success at Guardian Mortgage

For Callie Watkins, her role as a mortgage loan originator for Guardian Mortgage is much more than job. It’s a platform to forge enduring connections, impact lives and unleash her competitive spirit.

With a passion for numbers honed since childhood and a fascination for real estate, especially from an investing mindset, Callie’s journey to success in mortgage lending was inevitable. Her time as a Division 1 soccer player for Gonzaga University taught her that hard work always wins, a principle she carries into her professional career.

Through hard work, determination and following her gut, Callie’s found herself right where she belongs... with the team at Guardian Mortgage.

A Calling to Guardian Mortgage

After college, Callie managed several coffee stands but knew that wasn’t her long-term career. She was ready to make a career change from something comfortable to a place where she could build a future for herself and her family.

Callie Watkins, Mortgage Loan Originator, Headshot

Driven by an innate competitiveness and a thirst for unlimited growth, Callie needed a profession that allowed her to break barriers and climb a ladder on a leaderboard. She was introduced to the world of mortgage lending through a land lender she met during her own home search. He introduced her to a contact at Guardian Mortgage, who brought her in for an informational interview. She immediately felt a pull to the organization. Unfortunately, the team was not hiring at the time. So, Callie kept networking with mortgage loan officers and hoping that one day she’d hear from Guardian Mortgage about a job opening. 

“Call me crazy. I turned down three amazing opportunities before even hearing from Guardian,” said Callie. “But from the moment I met the people, I felt called to Guardian Mortgage. I just knew it was ‘my place.’”

After three months of networking, hoping and waiting, she was notified of an open position within the Spokane Guardian Mortgage team and jumped at the opportunity. She couldn’t be happier that she listened to her gut and waited for an opportunity to join Guardian Mortgage.

“It has been the best thing that has happened to me in my career,” Callie affirmed. “Between the life it has given me professionally and personally – I couldn’t be more grateful for my patience in waiting for the ‘right place.’”

Learning and Growth at Guardian Mortgage

Since Callie had no previous background in mortgage, her first role was as a Loan Origination Assistant (LOA). Her time as an LOA allowed her to learn from the loan originators she worked with daily and from other professionals within their office. She gained an understanding of how they conducted their business, what the loan process entailed, and how she too could serve as an MLO. 

Working for Guardian Mortgage, she learned what it meant to always put the customer first, how to find the best solutions to meet their home buying or refinancing needs, and what it means to create possibility in their lives and her own.

After about a year as an LOA and the birth of her second child, she came back from maternity leave to a Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) position. Once again, she was right where she was meant to be. Callie describes the shift from LOA to MLO as life-changing, and one that took her to the place she had always seen herself long term.

Guardian Mortgage’s Supportive Culture

Looking at what makes Guardian Mortgage so special, Callie’s focus remains on its culture. As the mortgage lending division of Sunflower Bank, Guardian Mortgage provides the benefits of an established community bank, paired with the culture of a boutique mortgage lender. In line with its community bank roots, it cares about the people it interacts with and the relationships formed are familial.

Callie felt this difference the moment she walked into her first interview, and it felt like family. The team and atmosphere are two of the many things she loves about working at Guardian Mortgage. That and the reputation Guardian Mortgage has built within the industry, which makes Callie’s job easier because it’s known and respected by her real estate peers.

From supporting, helping and sharing knowledge within the office to spending time together outside of work, Callie enjoys the people she works with most of all. Whether playing golf, grabbing a drink, or making a difference through work with Habitat for Humanity or other non-profits in town, her team enjoys each other's company and enriching their connections.

group of employees volunteering together outsideCallie Watkins with Guardian Mortgage team members planting trees at a volunteer event with The Land Council

girl standing in between two men with an awardCallie Watkins (middle) with Marcus McCue, Mortgage Strategy & Project Management Director (left) and Josh Martin, Director of Mortgage Loan Sales, SVP (right) at the 2024 Sales Excellence Retreat when Callie was awarded her 2023 Award of Excellence.

Embracing Dedication and Consistency

Callie has found her place in the mortgage industry and encourages like-minded individuals to explore Guardian Mortgage and the industry as well.

“Success isn’t given, you must earn it,” shared Callie. “It takes commitment, dedication and a lot of behind-the-scenes hard work that all creates a snowball effect if you are consistent.”

That consistency has won Callie a place as one of the top-producing loan officers in her region, along with the 2023 President’s Club award and a 2023 Award of Excellence. She takes great pride in building relationships and helping people invest in real estate or say “hello” to home ownership. And since Guardian Mortgage services the majority of loans funded, and originates loans in 44 states, those relationships she works so hard to build don’t end once she’s closed a loan. Callie serves as a long-term partner and advisor for her clients and knows that even if they move away from the area, she can still serve as their trusted lender.

Grateful for the support and opportunities afforded by Guardian Mortgage, Callie remains excited about the future and the prospect of continuing to shape her dream life alongside her Guardian Mortgage family.

“They allowed me to grow, expand and spread my wings,” concludes Callie. “And never let me fall because they helped me every step of the way.”

Learn more about Callie Watkins