Meet the Team: LaKisha Gant — From Temp to Senior VP of Commercial Real Estate
Here at CDC Small Business Finance (CDC), our team is the root of our success. They are self-starters who have a passion for helping others all while showcasing our core values of Integrity, Commitment, Teamwork, and Making a Difference.
We sat down with LaKisha Gant, Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate to learn more about her passion for helping small business owners get the capital they need to her favorite memory working at CDC Small Business Finance and more.
Tell us about your current role?
My current role is Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate. It is an Executive Management role and I am responsible for our SBA and non-SBA commercial real estate products.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is the People – the people I work with and the borrowers we have the opportunity to help.
How does your job help small-business owners?
We provide businesses with access to capital and the opportunity to purchase a commercial property they otherwise may not have been able to through traditional bank products. We give business owners permanency for their business operations as well as the opportunity to retain some of the capital they would have otherwise had to inject if they used a conventional bank loan.
Tell us about your professional background?
I have been with CDC Small Business Finance for the past 20 years. I started at the company in May 2001 as a temp Staff Assistant. I was hired on permanently as a Staff Assistant on September 27, 2001 (I have no idea why I remember that date so specifically). In May 2002, I was promoted to Loan Processor and worked as a Loan Processor for several years. I was then promoted to Loan Coordinator.
I thought I was ready to be a Loan Officer and applied for a position we had available in the Riverside area in 2007. I got the job! However, after about 10 months in the role the economy crashed and although the Loan Officer position for Riverside was eliminated, I was offered a Loan Processor role. I chose to take a layoff from the company (my ego kept me from accepting the Loan Processor role ).
Around June of 2009, I was stir crazy at home and began looking for work. I had the hardest time because I could NOT imagine working for any of the companies where I was applying. I called and asked if CDC Small Business Finance was hiring and they were! I was brought back to the company as a Loan Processor.
I was promoted again back to Loan Coordinator and worked happily with our TeamLA group in this capacity for years. In 2016, I was promoted to Loan Processing Manager. I assumed the Closing Department a couple years later and my title changed to VP of 504 Loan Operations. In April 2021, I was promoted to Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate.
What’s your favorite memory of your time at CDC Small Business Finance so far?
My favorite memories are the pranks we played on my boss, Mike Owen. One of my favorite pranks involved car freshener trees and Mrs Kimberly Moore. We bought car freshener trees in various fragrances – new pine, pina colada, new car smell, etc. We had tons of them! We taped them to every covered surface in his office – under his chair, under his keyboard, under his computer – I mean everywhere and we closed the door to his office. When he came in, it smelled awful! He brought in a couple of fans and left his office door open but he couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from. In true Mike Owen fashion, one day, he walks by my desk and casually throws all the car freshener trees on it as he walks out the door – never saying a word. We busted up laughing and we still tell that story today.
Which CDC values do you identify with most and why?
All of them. Integrity, Teamwork, Commitment and Making a Difference. Every action I take on behalf of the company is done with integrity. I am committed to the company and to the communities we serve. I am a huge believer in Teamwork – we could not accomplish any of the things that we do without teamwork. I try to Make A Difference within CDC as well as within my personal life. I give back to my community, I volunteer and my family feeds the local homeless monthly.
Describe your team/department in 3 words.
Passionate – Determined – Honest
What inspires you?
My inspiration has always been my children. They are my motivation every day.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A gynecologist because The Cosby’s was my favorite show growing up and Dr. Huxtable delivered babies and I wanted to deliver babies. My senior year of high school, I took a class to become a certified Medical Assistant. I observed a biopsy and quickly realized that I cannot stand the sight of blood – they had to give me smelling salts and that career choice quickly went out the window. I have the utmost respect for medical professionals, hahahaha.
If you could be any athlete for a single game, who would you be and why?
Kobe Bryant of course