Stephen Kincaid came to Walker & Dunlop nearly sixteen years and six promotions ago. He’s done it all, rising from a cash accountant position to his current role as vice president and assistant treasurer.
“I feel like I’ve had the chance to work on just about everything including treasury, which has always been my bread and butter,” Kincaid says. “Doing all of these roles has really given me a better appreciation for what my team does. I don’t think it’s fair to ask people to do something that you yourself don’t understand how to do.”
It makes sense, then, that Kincaid values trust above all when it comes to his own leadership. He knows the challenges of virtually every role related to his own function, and the VP says the best leaders he himself has had are the ones he implicitly trusted the most.
He hopes he’s earned that same trust among his team. Given the continuing expansion of Walker & Dunlop through multiple acquisitions, he’ll continue working to earn that trust among newcomers and recent additions to the financial services company.
Eyes on the Dashboard
As Walker & Dunlop continues to grow, so too has the need to centralize the treasury function.
“A centralized treasury is critical to ensure visibility across all of our banks, our accounts, and most importantly, our cash flows,” Kincaid explains. “With each acquisition, we get a new team and a group that comes along with their own methodology and strategy. My role here is to gather all that information and develop one strategy management system that enables us to see all of our transactions and cash flows, and to provide insight and strategy for Walker & Dunlop and our cash.”
Kincaid says leadership at the organization has been focused on technological advancement and digital transformation, committing resources to build out a truly forward-thinking finance and treasury function. It’s part of the reason he’s stayed so long. It can be easy for a company as large as Walker & Dunlop to forget that financial functions are the backbone to any successful company, but that’s never been the case during Kincaid’s tenure.
The VP’s mark on the treasury function will be long-lasting. He’s spent the past four years building out enterprise software Kyriba’s ecosystem and ensuring it can perform to its highest standards. Kincaid says he utilizes a number of traditional dashboards to monitor global cash balances in each of the company’s banks, but that wasn’t enough for the treasury veteran.
“I’ve gone a step further because we are a company that has a significant number of transactions that we are processing every day,” the VP explains. “A lot of those transactions are coming across from our loan servicing team, so I’ve created custom dashboards to help me gain better insight into those transactions.”
Kincaid is immediately notified when a returned payment is received. He also created a dashboard to notify him of any problematic accounts, so that as the bank reports its balances and transactions throughout the day, his dashboard is updated in real time. These are all tools that help the finance team act more proactively, letting it know if it needs to get in contact with a bank before any potential issues arise.
Trust and Advocacy
Another reason that Kincaid has remained with Walker & Dunlop is the company’s continuing buildout of its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Kincaid was one of the first employees to join the company’s new LGBTQ+ employee resource group, a group that has grown to between fifty and sixty members and allies.
“I’m proud of how the company is embracing DE&I. Our leadership constantly wants to learn more about how we can enhance our efforts,” Kincaid explains. “I’ve heard some amazing conversations and questions that highlight our commitment here.” Walker & Dunlop has invested $1 million in partnerships and organizations that champion DE&I efforts, as well as participating in the Corporate Diversity and Gender-Equality Indexes.
That increasing advocacy has been important for Kincaid as both an individual and as a leader of teams. The VP says that it’s imperative to understand his team not just as a collection of professionals, but as people whose lives exist outside of their organization.
“I think it’s important for leaders to step back and remember that these are people,” Kincaid says. “Then you can lead with empathy and compassion. When you do that, trust falls right into place. These are critical skills of an effective leader and one I take to heart.”
The executive also says that he charts his own success by that of his team. Having worked in so many of the roles that his team now occupies, he’s able to see their challenges and their victories. He gauges his own effectiveness by his team’s willingness to come to him with the challenges they’re facing.
“I think we have a great relationship,” Kincaid says. “When you take the time to build those relationships, everyone is able to do their best work. That makes me a better leader and, I hope, makes people on my team feel heard and understood.”
The challenge to build those relationships will only continue to grow as Kincaid continues to rise in the organization and Walker & Dunlop continues its expansion. At present, the company has nearly 1,500 employees across every major US market, but given the company’s acquisitional activities, that will likely continue to rise.
Whether he’s there for another fifteen years or leaves tomorrow, Kincaid has left an indelible mark at Walker & Dunlop.