Alumni Spotlight

Wendy Nastasi

Wendy Nastasi

Class Of 1987, 1989

Why FIT?  I participated in DECA in High School, and worked in retail as well.  I felt that I would love to be a Fashion Buyer, and I knew someone who had attended.  It was a scary proposition for me to commute to NYC right out of HS, but once I started going, I knew this was the right place for me.

Year graduated?  Graduated FBM in 1987, and  Marketing-Home Furnishings/Product Development in 1989.  

LIfe after FIT?  After FIT, I worked for Bonwit Teller, Russ Berrie, and Macy’s before leaving the industry.  I was in between jobs, and took a “temporary” job in the Mortgage Industry.   I am still in the Mortgage Industry 23 yrs later.   In 2000, I started  Crossroads Finance Discount Mortgage.  I am licensed to do loans in NY, NJ and CT.  I started in my third bedroom, and never looked back. 

Where do you find inspiration?  I find inspiration in running my own business.  Being my own boss has been the best part of my career.   I have always been able to be flexible over the years attending all of the important milestones in my daughter’s life.  You may work harder than you ever have as an entrepreneur, but when you are free to do what you want, it never feels like work.   There is something incredibly satisfying when, instead of getting a paycheck, you know you have actually “made” your own money. 

What is your most memorable experience while attending FIT?  I was not accepted to FIT right off the bat.  My first year, I took classes in the Continuing Ed Department to stay on track, and then I reapplied to the program for my second year.   My most memorable moment was when I was accepted my second year to full time day classes.  I worked very hard that year to get in, and continued to work hard to get accepted to the Marketing Program.  After competing to get in and stay in for the first three years, I was very happy to graduate with both of my degrees.

Did you stay close or in contact with any of your college friends?  Three of my friends from FIT were from my home town, so we are still in close contact today.  I do stay in contact with some others on social media, but most are not near me.  We all have such great memories of attending school together and love to share them.

Advice to spring graduates?  My advice is to speak to as many people as you can so that you are networking all the time.   You never know what opportunities will come just engaging in a normal conversation. Don’t ever sell yourself short. If you have a great opportunity, take it. Try as many new things as you can.  You have your whole life ahead of you. 

What experiences led you to who you are today?  So many things and people have impacted who I am today.  I’m a single mom, a business owner (in a predominantly man’s industry), breast cancer survivor,  have four rescue dogs, and I practice Kundalini Yoga.  All of these things and the people that I have come across in life have contributed to my successes, my failures, my tough times, and my joy in life.   Some of the best work experiences I have had include working with the press to inform people about the Mortgage Industry.  I have been a part of many, many newspaper articles, and have been interviewed by CBS Evening News twice, and appeared in a BBC World News story as well.  These experiences have been fun and exciting.

Daily routine?  My daily routine is to get in the office early before the phones start ringing, and go though my email to set the priorities for the day.  I try to practice some Yoga every day since it is helps manage my stress at work.   After working anywhere from about 8-10 hours at the office, I look forward to getting home to see my doggies and my people at home.  Although doing mortgages is a lot of paperwork, I get to meet so many different people from all walks of life.  That is the part of the job I love.   Every day is different.

Where are you from?   I am from a small town in NJ called Pompton Plains.  

How did this shape the person you are today?  Growing up in a relatively small town is nice because you pretty much know everyone.  Growing up in a small town can be frustrating because everyone knows you and your business!    I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but going to college in NYC was a real culture shock.  It was extremely exciting and scary at the same time.

If you could translate your style into a person, place or thing what would it be?  My personal style revolves around simply being comfortable.  You would not see me all decked out unless I was going to a business function.  I like to work in casual clothes that are as comfortable as possible. 

What do you find that sparks creativity?  In my line of work, creativity really is sparked when you get into problem solving.  You have to be creative to make a loan work when it is difficult for whatever reason.  I have to do a lot of writing to underwriters to understand some compensating factors that may sway them to approve a loan that may be questionable.  I always tell my borrowers, that it is my job to present them to the underwriter in the best light possible on paper since she will never meet them in person.  I know it may seem hard to believe, but this is a creative process.  A lot of thought goes into it. 

What three things you can’t live without? My family, my dogs, and music.

Future projects you are working on?  I would like to explore writing in the future.  I believe that I have at least one book in me, and have been slowly putting that together. 

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