Women's History Month 2023

Reflections from Rania S. Galan, Ballard Spahr Finance Partner

In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to tell the story of a remarkable woman, the late Gaye Beasley, whose influence continues to shape the lives of so many women in finance today.

To those that knew her, Gaye possessed one of the softest voices in the room, but her voice carried the most authority. She commanded respect and rose to the top of the HUD-insured loan industry at a time when the world of finance did not have many women leaders.

A Gaye story that’s been passed down: When one of her deals was in the final closing stages, two men tried to finish negotiations in the men’s restroom without her. Unfazed, Gaye marched herself into that restroom, proudly proclaiming “my money, my closing.” She refused to let others close doors to her. It was no wonder that Gaye owned a HUD lender, was one of the first lenders approved under the Fannie Mae DUS program, and was the first female on the Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s Board of Governors.

Although I will never have the pleasure of meeting Gaye, women who have positively affected my life and career did know her. Mary Jo George, my mentor, is a partner at Ballard Spahr who has made a name for herself as one of the best finance lawyers in the industry. Cathy Pharis, another of my mentors and a natural leader, is the director of the FHA platform at Wells Fargo Bank and an expert in a variety of all things HUD-finance. It is through women like Mary Jo and Cathy that Gaye continues to shape the women who are the leaders of tomorrow.

To quote Cathy: Give back, mentor those behind you, and watch others grow.

I’ll never meet her, but Gaye continues to do just that.