As senior vice president of Doorway Home Loans, Michael Sunnaa, a mortgage veteran, embodies the concept of “servant leadership.” He is a leader of the common good, and both his staff and the firm thrive in a unique culture of engagement, commitment, and teamwork, with their clients as the ultimate beneficiaries of his dedication to this philosophy.
In his role at Doorway Home Loans, a 33-year-old residential mortgage origination company based in Santa Ana, California, Michael is the engine that drives the firm’s growth. He focuses on bringing on new branch offices and loan officers, conducting ongoing staff training and integration, seeking out new products and loan programs, establishing broker and investor relationships, streamlining operational efficiencies, and assisting with secondary, compliance and human resources. In every facet of his position, people are the fire that ignites his passion and enthusiasm for his work. On the heels of a tumultuous 18 months for the mortgage business, Michael has been able to replace and grow funded volume by over 250% from early 2019 to Q4 2019, while maintaining loan originator attrition of less than 18% in an industry where attrition averages 70%, making him an easy pick for the Top 100 in Finance.
As a former mortgage CEO himself, Michael has experienced a variety of organizational cultures. At Doorway Home Loans, he found the ideal match to his leadership style in Matt Danilowicz, Doorway’s CEO, which fits perfectly with the company’s flat management structure—an uncommon design for the mortgage industry. As Michael explains, “We don’t have layers in between the production staff and executive team. We’re unique in the sense that our originators have direct access to the people that make the decisions for the company on a daily basis.” Michael goes on to say that “Working with Matt has been an eye-opening experience in the mortgage industry as Matt uniquely sees loan originators as people and not just pipelines, which is unlike any other mortgage CEO.”
The company’s flat structure is even more unusual given its wide service area, both in terms of breadth of services offered and geographic reach. Doorway Home Loans offers all-inclusive residential mortgage products for clients in 14 states, from Florida to Hawaii. It caters to “everyone,” from first-time home buyers to families refinancing to remodel their homes or lower their payment to senior citizen clients seeking mortgages so that they can retire comfortably.
Michael points to a quote by Zig Ziggler as one of his guiding leadership principles and a key to his success: “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” He takes this to heart, making himself available to his staff 24/7 and eschewing vacations or time off to help them reach their goals. Michael’s approach to supporting their aspirations is as unique as his leadership style. “I don’t have goals that I set for each individual person,” Michael explains. “They set their own goals. I meet everyone where they’re at, establish what their personal and professional goals are, and their goals become mine.”
Already armed with an MBA, Michael’s dedication to serving his company and staff inspired him to pursue a doctorate degree in organizational behavior to deepen his understanding of people and help them succeed. As a cancer survivor, Michael intimately understands that strength, dedication, and sheer will can make the seemingly impossible possible, and he draws on this to help others overcome obstacles and see their own goals realized. His commitment to helping people extends well beyond the office walls, reaching into community and family. A dedicated husband and father of six, Michael previously served on the local board of education, and he is a big supporter of organizations that work to improve the lives of underprivileged children, veterans and the homeless population in local communities. Michael believes that it is everyone’s job to leave a positive footprint with every step you take.
Senior Vice President – Doorway Home Loans
200 E. Sandpointe Ave., Suite 650
Santa Ana, CA 92707
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