At the NEXT Women’s Tech Conference in Dallas, HousingWire Editor-in-Chief Jacob Gaffney started off the day with the panel “A Conversation with HUD Deputy Secretary Pamela Hughes Patenaude.”
Patenaude is a 2013 HousingWire Women of Influence winner, and she received support for her nomination for her role as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from both sides of the political aisle.
During the panel, Patenaude discussed her role at HUD, what it’s like being a woman in the housing and finance industry and working under HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
When Gaffney asked the deputy secretary about her experience being a successful woman in the industry, Patenaude opened up, saying “I doubted myself at times.”
In fact, she explained that even still today she continues to wonder if she is up to the task, even after all the success she has accomplished in her career.
“There’s been days when I doubt if I’m up to the job right now, but I don’t know that it has anything to do with being a woman,” Patenaude said.
But she said once she reached her fifties, she became more confident. However, the younger generation, Patenaude said, referencing her daughters, don’t see the setbacks, and are much more confident and heard in their jobs and industries.
And while there are several women in high-level positions at HUD and in other areas of the housing industry, Patenaude explained that the industry still needs more women, saying, “I think women are still really under-represented in the field.”
What about working under the current administration? Carson has received much more criticism than HUD’s deputy secretary, and Patenaude explained working with him has been a different experience than she is used to, though maybe not in the ways his critics would expect.
“Working with Secretary Carson has been an extraordinary experience,” Patenaude said. “I’ve worked with four HUD secretaries, and they’ve all been great, but with Secretary Carson there’s something special.”
She pointed out that he wants to change housing for the better, and is committed to bringing the dream of homeownership to as many Americans as possible. “The secretary would like to leave HUD in a better place than he found it,” she said.
Read more about Carson’s vision for HUD in HousingWire’s October magazine here.
As for President Donald Trump’s other nominations, Patenaude gave her approval of the nomination of Kathy Kraninger as director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“She’s an amazing woman, incredibly capable, she could be doing something at a much higher level,” Patenaude said, saying she’s known Kraninger for many years and is confident in her capabilities to lead the bureau. “I’m thrilled the president nominated her. I think it’s a very positive for your industry.”