Radian is an innovative company doing innovative things in the mortgage, risk, and real estate industries. By leveraging the power of data and technology, the company and its affiliates give homebuyers a way to purchase homes sooner with less than 20 percent down payment, while building a smarter future for mortgage and real estate services from search to close through its pioneering homegenius platform. Radian also helps lenders and investors manage mortgage credit risk through its mortgage insurance and related offerings.
Creating a responsive and disruptive fintech company that sees the potential of technology takes a dedicated team made up of the best minds in the industry. As chief people officer, Mary Dickerson is tasked with building that team.
Over her long career, Dickerson has developed a passion for all things people. She’s created training programs, managed benefits packages, implemented wellness initiatives, and optimized talent acquisition processes. She joined Radian in 2021 to help the company enhance its strong culture by building a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) roadmap and strengthening learning and development programs to drive employee engagement and retention.
The chance to work with like-minded leaders and make a difference together is what attracted Dickerson to Radian. “When you do the kind of work that I do, you want to represent and advance a great company,” she says. “Strong values and engaged leaders are imperative. The environment has to be a supportive one for people strategies to work.”
At Radian, Dickerson found CEO Rick Thornberry and the executive team ready to champion programs, offer input, and encourage efforts to elevate HR initiatives to drive success at Radian.
Dickerson spent her first days, weeks, and months on the job learning Radian’s vibe and structure to inform her approach. She knows no two organizations are alike, and the best HR programs are custom fit to their company.
It’s something she’s seen time and time again throughout her career. The Ireland native studied economics in Cork and came to the United States for an MBA at St. Joseph’s University. A job at Wawa bankrolled her MBA, and when the convenience store’s leaders needed someone to run a training center, Dickerson stepped up.
Suddenly, the twenty-one-year-old student was teaching employees how to make sandwiches and interact with customers. “I saw that the training I provided helped people build confidence, and I loved the moments in which I could see them find new skills and achieve their potential,” she explains. A career in HR was born.
Over the next decade, Dickerson progressed through various insurance and financial services companies before taking on a pivotal leadership role at the Hartford, where she ran a division as its chief human resources officer for seven years. In leading all HR pieces, she learned to work consistently with one voice and style to keep all people strategies aligned with the insurance company’s brand to create a cohesive employee experience.
Pennsylvania-based Radian started in 1977 and trades as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange as RDN. Its data-driven mortgage and real estate solutions power smart lending decisions, while its mortgage insurance affiliate, Radian Guaranty Inc., offers products which are specifically designed to help consumers with less than a traditional 20 percent down payment unlock the dream of homeownership and build financial security.
In 2021, Radian introduced a subsidiary known as homegenius, an ecosystem that uses data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to improve the residential real estate process for sellers, buyers, lenders, agents, and brokers.
Radian is known as an intelligent, savvy, trendsetting company. As its chief people officer, Dickerson is aligning her programs to fit that corporate persona. Under her leadership, the People team worked with LinkedIn to push out curated microlearning modules and embedded learning throughout every part of the employee experience.
Since early 2022, Radian’s nearly 2,000 employees have demonstrated their voracious appetite for the content by watching 180,000 videos and completing 10,000 courses.
Of course, benefits, compensation, and perks are important, too. For instance, Radian is making the homebuying process more affordable for its employees through its Homebuyers Perks program by offering benefits and assistance.
The company also finds fun and innovative ways for employees to support community causes and programs they care about. “Community programs are an important component because they help us make meaningful connections,” Dickerson says.
DEI anchors all these strategies as the company invests deeper into diverse recruiting. Her team doubled the number of employee resources groups, implemented a weeklong “Days of Understanding” initiative, highlighted DEI in revamped leadership programs, and hired a DEI director. They also set targets around minority hiring and included related benchmarks in every employee’s list of annual goals.
Radian has already reached many of the goals and targets the team set. The company met its 2024 minority hiring goals in 2022, one of which was to increase the number of female candidates from 35 percent to 50 percent. They’re now pushing 52 percent.
Another goal was to have a voluntary turnover goal of less than 15 percent and currently it sits at 8.8 percent. As part of her job, Dickerson must present these stats to Radian’s board of directors. She’s excited, and perhaps a little nervous. “I guess they’re going to tell me it’s time to change the targets,” she jokes.
But it’s undeniable that her methods are working. In addressing Radian’s 2021 performance, CEO Thornberry shared that the company had income of $600 million as its mortgage insurance unit, Radian Guaranty, wrote the second-highest level of new mortgage insurance in company history.
Those facts, he said, reflect strong growth in housing and real estate markets around the nation, ongoing demand for what Radian does, and the commitment of one talented team.