Open Book is a series of interviews for you to get to know the incredible people of Opendoor. After years of working in mortgage underwriting and investment management, GeLisa joined Opendoor with an interest in using her skills to empower people to sell their homes. Here’s a look into her role and what she loves about working at Opendoor.
Hi GeLisa! We’re looking forward to talking with you today. Can you tell us about your path to Opendoor?
I started my career working as a mortgage underwriter after the 2008 financial crash. In that role, I spent my days reading letters from people who had been seriously affected by bad mortgages, and it was tough to see so many people who were negatively impacted by the housing industry. I later transitioned to the investment side where I helped manage rental portfolios and residential flips, but I was looking for something more structured and stable, and that’s when I found Opendoor.
Learning about Opendoor’s approach to real estate lit a fire in me, and I instantly loved the idea of empowering people with the freedom to buy or sell a home in a way that works for them. I joined the team in early 2019 as a pricing analyst, which involves sending offers to customers looking to sell their homes. My role has evolved a lot since then! Now, I also serve as the national pricing trainer, collaborating closely with pricing analysts to make sure they’re fully prepared to work with our customers.
We’re so glad you joined the team. What was your first impression of Opendoor? Is there anything particular about the company or culture that stands out to you now?
Opendoor really embraces the startup vibe. The office environment is laid back and I hadn’t experienced anything quite like it before. In fact, when I came in to interview for my position, I was told to dress casually—I came in wearing slacks and a sweater, and I still felt overdressed.
Having been at Opendoor for a couple of years now, I can confidently say the culture is second to none. We call ourselves the “petri dish crew” in the Pricing department because we all come from really different backgrounds as we actively develop our culture together. We have people who were realtors and home inspectors, as well as teammates with no real estate experience at all. We’re always looking to support one another and fine-tune people’s passions in ways that empower them to help the team.
Working on the pricing side, what’s been your most interesting learning? Has anything surprised you about Opendoor?
We’re figuring some things out as we go, which I love. When I joined the team two years ago, it was often difficult to find information and it was tough to keep up Opendoor’s growth. One of my projects I’m most proud of is a system we built to help departments centralize and organize their documents. This has made our workflow a lot smoother, helped us work more efficiently, and empowered us to keep up with growing demand from our customers.
Which other teams do you work with?
That’s a great question. We work with everyone from Operations, Homes to Customer Experience. Pricing is at the core of our business.
There’s a lot of work that happens in the background when it comes to securing offers for customers looking to sell their homes. For example, we work with our Homes team to get quotes on any necessary home repairs that may impact the offer. We also work with different teams on the training side. And when Opendoor is rolling out new features, I help develop training materials for teams to make sure everyone knows how the features work and how they’ll be most helpful for our customers.
Have you found any unique opportunities within Opendoor that have helped you grow, either personally or professionally?
First, I was selected to participate in an internal employee group working to create more equality within the broader housing industry. This opportunity allows Opendoor to cultivate solutions we implement to reduce the barriers to entry for minority groups such as access to credit. I feel incredibly grateful to contribute to such a powerful initiative with a team of talented, passionate professionals.
Second, Opendoor also connected me with Michelle Meyers, one of our general managers. Michelle has been an incredible mentor for me. She created a small group for women at Opendoor who want to explore personal growth, and we spend time together every Thursday discussing everything from books and podcasts, to leadership skills and our mindset in the workplace.
What’s kept you feeling motivated and inspired while working from home this year?
Working away from the office has been tough, but my husband and I love to travel so we try to take a socially-distant road trip every few weeks. It’s great to get out and explore new places, and it really breaks up the time we’ve spent working from home. In the past year we’ve gone to Las Vegas, San Diego, and Utah, and I’m looking forward to taking more trips in 2021.
Interested in joining our team? Opendoor is hiring across all teams, including GeLisa’s! Check out our current open positions!