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MOTHER'S DAY: Following in Mom's footsteps
Longtime area loan officer talks working with daughters
DeAnn Ellis-Davidson
Kayla Ellis (left) and Haley Ellis (right) stand with their mother DeAnn Ellis-Davidson inside the Element Funding – Ellis Mortgage Team’s office on the Covington Square. - photo by Taylor Beck

COVINGTON, Ga. — DeAnn Ellis-Davidson has been a leader in the mortgage industry and local business scene for nearly three decades, and now she’s helping her daughters follow in her footsteps.

Ellis-Davidson, a senior loan officer for Element Funding, has run her own office on the Covington Square for more than eight years after relocating from Conyers. What has kept her in the business for so long is the joy she gets in helping clients get into a place they can call home.

“I love helping people achieve their dreams of home ownership,” she said. “I also enjoy helping people achieve their financial goals, whether they are purchasing their first or fourth home, refinancing, debt consolidation, remodeling, reverse mortgage — we have all the mortgage products to fit their needs.”

Now, Ellis-Davidson finds even greater satisfaction in her work because she gets to operate side-by-side with her daughters Kayla and Haley.

Kayla, 23, is a loan officer assistant currently studying to become a licensed loan officer like her mother. She is in charge of reports, customer service, assisting with other loan officers and aiding in marketing projects.

“I started out of high school knowing this was what I wanted to do,” Kayla said. “I wanted to follow in her footsteps.”

She described working with her mom as “fun” and “easy” due to their strong relationship outside the office.

While her career aspirations might be a little different, Haley also loves working with her mom.

Haley, 20, works part-time for the Element Funding group as a marketing assistant and public relations. She also recently opened an online clothing boutique with her mother, Worthy Clothing and Company.

Years ago, Ellis-Davidson said she owned and operated a boutique in addition to her mortgage lending work, and it was her success as a pure businesswoman that motivated Haley to start a clothing store.

“She was a big inspiration,” Haley said. “She’s helping me turn my business into something that I want it to be. She’s successful in this business, so I’m hoping my business can take off as well.”

Ellis-Davidson said she and Haley were still working through the dynamics of the company and continually working on its website daily.

“Her vision for the boutique is to make every woman know that even though we are all flawed, we are still worthy; that is where the name came from,” Ellis-Davidson said.

While working together can be easy, at times it can be difficult to separate her roles as mom and boss, Ellis-Davidson said.

“I am very hard on them because I want them to be the best they can become,” she said. “I have high expectations for them, and sometimes I feel like I press too hard, but one day they both will see it is necessary to have an accountability partner and to press them to always strive to meet your goals and set the bar high. I coach them every single day and try to instill above normal work ethics. I also want them to know that nothing worth having comes easy … and your hard work is very rewarding. However, it does not come over night, and no one gives you anything; you must work hard for everything you have.”

As her daughters chase their career goals, Ellis-Davidson said she was proud of the growth each have made in recent years.

“I am so proud of Kayla, and seeing her have interest and the passion in learning this business is so exciting,” she said. “When she started, it was really natural for her; the basic understanding of the business was almost instant. It’s exciting to see that everything I have worked for one day will become hers. She is very dedicated to becoming the best in the industry, and I am 100% she will achieve her goal.

“And I am so proud of Haley,” Ellis-Davidson continued. “She has an entrepreneur spirit just like me, and our boutique will very soon be successful. I see the drive, the vision and the dedication every single day … I am excited to see what the future holds for our boutique and to see her grow the business to the highest level of success.” 

Ellis-Davidson encouraged other parents to get involved in their children’s goals and try to provide them tools and confidence to pursue their passions.

“If you see your child has an interest in your business, encourage them to get involved and see if it is something they really want to do,” she said. “Give them the advice to become successful and provide the tools. But if it’s not in their heart to give it 100%, find out what their other interests are. Maybe you can help them achieve what their hearts’ desires are. Open a business with them, work alongside them to help them become the best they can be. Provide the tools and knowledge and be their accountability partner. Often times, they may not want exactly what you want for them; they have their own dreams and you have to differentiate the two.”