Empowering Clients Through Real Estate

Bushnell University’s distinctive small-knit community welcomes students to connect with one another in fellowship and mutual support across departments. This inviting atmosphere provided recent graduate Riley Anderson ’20, with the opportunity to develop meaningful connections. While studying theology at Bushnell, he cultivated his passion for real estate and connected with other individuals who share that interest. In this Q&A, Anderson provides insights into the importance of the housing industry.

What drew you to Bushnell and the theology program? What are some of the key ways in which the program helped prepare you for your career? 

My decision to attend Bushnell and enroll in the theology program was multifaceted, with the unique opportunity to pursue my academic interests while participating in collegiate basketball under Coach Alexander playing a pivotal role. This combination of athletics and academics was the initial draw, but it was the community and the relationships formed on campus that underscored the true value of my experience at Bushnell.

The intimate setting of a smaller university like Bushnell facilitated a close-knit community, allowing for meaningful connections with teammates, classmates, professors, and administration. This environment not only supported my academic endeavors but also fostered personal growth and development. The direct access to faculty and personalized attention helped me navigate challenges and seize opportunities for learning and development.

The theology program, in particular, was instrumental in preparing me for my career in several key ways. It honed my critical thinking and analytical skills, essential for navigating the complexities of the mortgage industry. The program’s emphasis on ethics and social responsibility also informed my approach to business, emphasizing the importance of integrity and the impact of our work on the community. Additionally, the leadership and teamwork skills developed through both my academic and athletic engagements at Bushnell have been invaluable in my professional life, enabling me to lead with confidence and collaborate effectively with colleagues and clients.

In summary, the combination of a rigorous academic program, the opportunity to compete in collegiate athletics, and a supportive community equipped me with a solid foundation for success in my career and beyond.

What drew you to a career as a loan officer and your role at Nova Home Loans? 

My career as a loan officer and my subsequent role at Nova Home Loans were deeply influenced by my family’s legacy in the mortgage industry. As a third-generation mortgage professional, I was immersed in the world of mortgages from an early age. My grandmother, Ginger Macham, a pioneer in the industry since the late 1960s, and my father, Erik Anderson, who began his career in the 1990s and retired in 2017, served as my early inspirations. Growing up, discussions about interest rates and the nuances of mortgages were common in our household.

While pursuing my education at Bushnell, I seized the opportunity to work part-time for a brokerage. This experience was pivotal; it confirmed my passion for the industry and sparked a fascination with the complexities of the bond market, capital markets, and underwriting guidelines. My aspiration has always been to demystify these elements for my clients, empowering them to leverage real estate as a tool for wealth growth.

The role at Nova Home Loans appealed to me not only because it resonated with my family’s history but also due to the entrepreneurial aspects it offered flexibility in scheduling, the potential for financial growth, and the profound satisfaction derived from assisting others in achieving their homeownership and investment goals. These aspects have been incredibly rewarding, serving as the foundation for my commitment to excellence in the mortgage industry.

Why is your job industry so important? 

The mortgage industry plays a critical role in society, serving as a cornerstone for not only facilitating homeownership but also fostering wealth creation. It intersects directly with one of the three fundamental human needs: shelter. By operating within the housing sector, we are positioned at a pivotal point where we can significantly impact individuals’ and families’ lives.

Homeownership is not just about providing a roof over one’s head; it’s a pathway to financial stability and growth. Real estate remains one of the most effective means for wealth accumulation, offering both immediate and long-term benefits. As mortgage professionals, we are entrusted with guiding our clients through one of their most significant financial decisions. This responsibility underscores the importance of our industry, as we empower individuals to invest in their futures, contribute to economic growth, and, ultimately, secure a foundation for generations to come.

Our role extends beyond transactions; it’s about fostering communities, supporting economic development, and enabling dreams of financial independence. This profound impact on individuals’ lives and the broader economy underscores the importance of the mortgage industry, making it not just a career but a vital service to society.

With your experience, what advice would you give to students who are about to earn a degree and enter the job market? 

Firstly, approach each interview, meeting, and job opportunity as a platform for learning. The initial years of your career are crucial for gaining insights into the dynamics of your chosen field. Seek to understand the depth of knowledge your superiors possess, and be open to learning from your colleagues as well. Every interaction is an opportunity to unravel the intricacies of your industry, enabling you to build a robust foundation of knowledge and skills.

Secondly, embody the principle of service across all levels of the organizational hierarchy. Recognize the value in serving not only those in positions of authority but also those who may be at or below your own level.  This is instrumental in achieving success.

Lastly, view the initial years of your career as an extension of your education. This period is a critical phase of professional development, where practical experiences complement theoretical knowledge. Embrace challenges and feedback as opportunities for growth, and remain adaptable to the evolving demands of your profession.


Bushnell University works to provide all students with meaningful career preparation through internships, aptitude assessments, and other tools. To learn more about Bushnell’s career development services, see here: Career Development – Bushnell University.

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