Unconventional management style puts Supreme Lending back on top

Supreme Lending CEO, Pat Flood, poses behind a group of bobblehead dolls that he has had made of the guests that appear on his monthly podcast at their Alpharetta offices. For the Top Workplaces section (Photo by Phil Skinner)

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

About 700 people working in 34 real estate offices across metro Atlanta tune in once a month to a livestream from Supreme Lending's Southeast regional office.

The program’s primary theme isn’t how to sell and write mortgages; it’s about achieving one’s personal and professional best.

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“We spend a lot of time and our culture focusing on things other than mortgages, and it’s been fascinating,” said Pat Flood, regional operating partner. “People are desperate to have someone encourage them and inspire them to get better in life.”

Flood’s unconventional management style is part of why his company, which closed $1.2 billion in mortgage loans last year, is the AJC’s Top Workplace for 2020 in the small-business category. The residential mortgage broker also took top honors in 2017 and 2018.

The company, which opened in 2007, had $30 million in revenue last year and has increased to a staff of 200. Its organizational structure and mantra of putting “service to others before self” are two vital components of the company’s success.

Supreme Lending’s mortgage sales staff isn’t at its Alpharetta headquarters. They are instead scattered across the region in space Flood rents winthin real estate offices.

“We put our people in a position where they’re closest to the people of influence,” he said.

» Service to others drives values, mission of financial company

Supreme’s Alpharetta office is responsible for the “manufacturing” side of the business — from a homebuyer’s initial application to the closing and all the detail work in between — Flood said.

Employees are expected to set goals each year in one or more of six categories: family and relationships, health and fitness, personal finance, fun and recreation, faith and community service, and business growth. They can track their progress through an online portal and count on others in the office to provide accountability and support.

“We feel like if we focus on investing in people to make them the best they can be, they end up doing the best work they can,” Flood said, “and the profits just naturally follow.”

Senior loan officer John Ragland Jr. said he finds it rewarding to help others achieve their goals.

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

That culture has made all the difference to John Ragland Jr., a producing sales manager who joined the company in 2011, and customer service specialist Cari Baker, who started with Supreme nearly five years ago.

“There’s something bigger going on than ‘How can I close another loan?’ ” Ragland said.

He said he finds it rewarding to help others at work to achieve their goals and decided to try goal setting at home with the family, including rewards for meeting those goals.

Baker has a one-way, 34-mile commute in gridlock from her home near the airport to the company’s Alpharetta headquarters.

“So many people have been like, ‘Are you crazy? Why on earth would you make that commute?’ ” she said. “My answer is always, ‘Because there’s no better place to work. And I truly believe that.’ ”

Customer service specialist Cari Baker makes her 68 mile round trip commute each day because "there's no better place to work."

Credit: Phil Skinner

Credit: Phil Skinner

A single mom, Baker said she can work from home when necessary, however.

She also said her bosses at Supreme “provide me the tools to better myself on a personal level — and that is something I would never get anywhere else.”

One of Baker’s 2019 goals was to lose weight, and Flood supported her by picking up the tab for her to work with his personal trainer for a year.

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Self-improvement is a regular theme of the programs Flood began livestreaming from the headquarter’s state-of-the-art studio he built three years ago.

Two years ago, he welcomed viewers from the real estate industry to view it, and now he encourages employees’ family and friends to tune in.

“We’re not doing it to create more business,” he said. “We’re doing it to reflect the culture.”

Some well-known names in business and politics — including recently retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson — have appeared on the show with inspiring messages.

The broadcast ends with Flood, sometimes in costume as Supreme Man or Pat the Pilgrim at Thanksgiving, asking trivia questions geared around the program’s main talking points. Winners of the trivia contest receive money to donate to a favorite charity, and, to date, more than $100,000 has gone to more than 50 causes, Flood said.

Employees also volunteer to help build one Habitat for Humanity house a year, a tradition Flood started at a previous company and carried forward.

“The whole thing is to make the world a better place,” he said.


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