The Future is Female!
By Maria Voorhees Maydan, Marketing Associate, TMC Financing
Barbara Morrison, CEO and Founder of TMC Financing, known for her leadership and advocacy for women and small business owners, received the Industry Impact Award at ELEVATE. ELEVATE is an annual Bay Area wide event honoring diversity and women’s leadership in commercial real estate planned and organized by The Registry, a Bay Area commercial real estate media leader, and the three Bay Area chapters of CREW, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and East Bay. The Industry Impact Award honors a dynamic woman who has made an immeasurably positive impact within the commercial real estate industry through entrepreneurial spirit, deal-making and commitment to diversity.
Barbara was nominated for this award because she is a true trail blazer. She entered the workforce at a time when employment opportunities for women were limited to specific occupations and job hunting consisted of “looking in the local newspaper’s Help Wanted: Female column”. As a child of the ‘60s, Barbara knew her generation was destined to change the world. She had no career script-no road map. One thing led to another until she found what she was looking for.
Early in her career, Barbara was working as a sales assistant at a stock brokerage and asset management firm when she convinced her boss to let her take the Series 7a exam. After passing, she landed a job on the trading desk at a boutique securities firm in San Francisco. All the licensed brokers were men, other than Barbara and all the administrative staff were women. When she asked for business cards, she was told “we don’t give girls business cards”.
After this experience, Barbara realized she wanted a more impactful career so she accepted a position at the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development in San Francisco. Shortly after, with a business plan on the back of a cocktail napkin, she founded TMC Financing. TMC started on the 4th floor of an old, unheated warehouse with only a freight elevator in SOMA (long before it was hip) where six women worked in one large room. Barbara recalls that when clients walked in, she could tell that they were thinking to themselves, “Where are the men?”
Not only is TMC woman owned and founded, more than 50 percent of TMC’s employees are female. Building a company supportive of women has always been a priority for Barbara. As a mother, she believes it is imperative to not only create a work environment accepting and encouraging for women, but also supportive of those who chose to become working parents. Barbara is a living and breathing example of TMC’s mission, which revolves around supporting women and minority owned business. In 1999, she founded Working Solutions, which is a San Francisco based microlender that has a client base that is over 50 percent women.
To the employees of TMC, Barbara is their fearless leader. She runs the company with a spring in her step, inspiring others with her optimism, wisdom, and ideas. Barbara is a dedicated mentor, not only to her daughters, but to her employees and other young women. Offering support, sharing her knowledge, and watching individuals grow into exceptional young women is rewarding and fun for her. “It is essential for tomorrow’s leaders to learn from the past and to recognize how much progress has been made”, Barbara says, “which is why I like to share my life experiences.” Not only is Barbara, the CEO of TMC Financing, but she is also a teacher, mentor, San Francisco City tour guide, storyteller, motivator, and a friend to all.
Barbara recognizes that supporting organizations that advocate for women, advance their achievements, and invoke inspiration among many, are essential to generating more female leaders. Over the course of her career, Barbara has devoted time to various organizations that support women business owners, for example: National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Financial Women Association (FWA), and Women in Commercial Real Estate (CREW). As a longtime member of CREW, Barbara plans to attend ELEVATE next year as a judge and is looking forward to joining the celebration again!
About TMC Financing
TMC Financing is a Certified Development Company (CDC) that has helped over 5,000 small businesses in California and Nevada get financing through the SBA 504 program. The Small Business Administration 504 loan program allows small business owners to finance commercial real estate and other fixed assets with long-term, below-market, fixed interest rates. The motto of TMC Financing is “if you own the business, you should own the building.”