As published in The Secured Lender
Volume 76, Issue 6

SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards – Celebrating the Future of the Industry

The Secured Finance Network (formally known as the Commercial Finance Association) 40 Under 40 Awards celebrate the achievements of young professionals in the secured finance industry — the movers and shakers who exemplify true excellence in their careers and who bring a strong voice and commitment to the industry at large.

The SFNet 40 Under 40 Awards are now recognized as both an honor and a tradition in the secured finance industry. The two hallmarks of the Awards have been this issue of The Secured Lender, in which we profile each recipient and the gala in New York City.

Although it is disappointing that we will not be able to honor the Class of 2020 in person this year, we are determined to not let the pandemic diminish our focus on their achievements. In addition to a live event to be held in the future, we will feature videos of the winners’ acceptance speeches this month on as well as congratulatory videos submitted by their colleagues and supervisors.

On the following pages, we invite you to get to know the industry’s future leaders. SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles are featured on Pages 18 – 86.

SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Profiles


Vice President
North Mill Capital LLC

Tessa Brend is a vice president at North Mill Capital LLC’s Minneapolis office. Tessa joined PrinSource Capital Companies in 2009 as a credit team coordinator. PrinSource was acquired by North Mill Capital in 2011 and she was promoted several times, most recently in 2019 to Vice President. In her current role she handles the financial needs of a portfolio of clients as well as developing and using risk management tools for the Invoice Based Financing division. She assists with the hiring and training of new credit staff. She is a board member with the local SFNet chapter. Tessa has organized the Minneapolis offices’ annual Toys for Tots or Adopt-A-Family and food shelf drive each year around the holidays. She also volunteers with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

What is the best professional advice you have been given and how have you implemented it?

“Fake it ‘til you make it.” I spent years being insecure at networking events because I don’t have a finance background. I met someone at an event whose background mirrored mine. She had confidence and put herself out there, no matter the situation. I learned to give myself more credit and be more confident.

What effect has the COVID crisis had on your professional life?  

I’ve had to take on a lot more. I’ve had to pick up some credit and operations roles. It’s essentially the first job I did back in 2009. I’ve had to prioritize my time as I continue to manage my portfolio and work on new business as well.

How have you managed to stay in touch with colleagues and clients during this time of working remotely?

Zoom has been very helpful. I am most thankful for our messaging system on our computers. It has always been a great tool, but now that we’re not in the office together, it gives us the chance to easily “chat” and stay connected daily.

How do you define a good leader?

For me, a good leader has always been someone who gives criticism and encouragement, both structured in a way that helps move you forward in your career.

What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor?

I tell them that there are no dumb questions. I want them to know they can come to me for help. I try to give them the same level of quality training that my teammates gave me when I started. I prefer they ask how to do something or want to know why it’s done a specific way so I can teach them the most accurate and efficient way to do it and explain the reasoning behind the process.

What advice would you give to forthcoming generations of talent aspiring to win this award?

Be the person to put yourself out there and take on more.  I have always offered to step up and take on a task or an assignment. Our team has always been busy and I want to do my part. Taking on more has given me new opportunities plus helped me learn how to manage my time and delegate when needed.

When interviewing newcomers to the industry, what do you say to pique their interest about why they should accept a position in this industry?

I tell them there is so much to learn and lots of room for growth.  I started in finance with zero knowledge of the  industry and have learned an immense amount from my colleagues and associations like the SFNet throughout the years.

How would you encourage young professionals to become more involved in their community or volunteer? How have these activities outside of work helped shape your professional life?

There is no better feeling than being able to help others and volunteering is a good way to learn how to work in a team and be a leader. Volunteers find out quickly how to organize, prioritize, and get the job done. You can make valuable connections with other volunteers and people in the organization. It’s also helped me be more efficient and speak up if I have ideas.

The Secured Lender September 2020 issue

North Mill Capital mentions:

Page 1 & 18
Betty Hernandez

Page 68
Tessa Brend

Page 94
Karen Marino