DONNA CALLEJON Senior vice president Federal National Mortgage Association, Washington
Donna Callejon, a 29-year-old senior vice president at the Federal National Mortgage Association, is the youngest person on our 40-under-40 roster.
But don't count on her sticking with mortgages, or even finance, forever.
Within 10 or 20 years, she muses, she may try her hand at "something like selling running shoes near the beach in San Diego."
That would be quite a change from her current role, which is at the hub of the modern mortgage market. Her job is to coordinate Fannie Mae's purchases of home mortgages from banks, thrifts, and mortgage companies nationwide. She also plays a pivotal role in repackaging the loans as securities for investors.
"She's brilliant," says E. S. Lyons of Great Western Bank, Beverly Hills, Calif. "She's very, very smart."
A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Ms. Callejon picked up a bachelor of science degree in managerial economics at the University of California at Davis in 1984.
She then went to work trading mortgages at Farmers Savings Bank of Davis. The thrift was doing a brisk business in nuying mortgage portfolios from other thrifts and reselling them to Fannie Mae and its rival, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.
Farmers, however, soon became another statistic in the thrift crisis, racking up big losses in a property syndication business. Regulators booted out Farmers' management in 1985 and seized the thrift in 1988.
Ms. Callejon, of course, survived, landing at Fannie Mae in January 1986 as senior negotiator at its western regional office in Los Angeles.
At the end of that year, she moved to Washington headquarters and began a rapid ascent. In 1989, she became cohead of mortgage-backed securities transactions, and last November she was named senior vice president of marketing and mortgage-backeds.
While Fannie Mae has six other senior vice presidents under 40, along with an executive vice president, Ms. Callejon is easily the youngest.
"When I came here, I expected to stay for a couple of years, learn a lot, and go back to California," she says. "It's now been five years."
Who knows? If she can stand to be away from the beach a few more years, she might end up running a bank.