Autumn Urling is determined to carry on her mother's legacy.
As the owner and CEO of First Prestige Mortgage Services Inc. – the only female and black-owned mortgage company in New Jersey – Urling said she owes much of her success to her late mother Georgia, a well-known and much-beloved North Jersey native who served as a real estate broker for more than 60 years.
Urling recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the opening of her Montclair-based mortgage company, which was started by her mother. Urling eventually joined the company and was named CEO, working side-by-side with her mother for years.
“My mother worked 24/7,” Urling said. “She was always an entrepreneur and was a pioneer in every sense of the word. Georgia Urling dedicated her life to helping others living in communities in New Jersey. Her interaction with people and passion for life were absolutely amazing. She helped create my mindset and inspired me to help others and showed me how I can make a difference.”
Urling, who has created mentoring programs in local schools and is the founder of an empowerment network for young women, said while she has faced obstacles along the way, it has never distracted her from her mission of giving back to the community.
She is also the author of the book “The Real Deal,” which is described as “part memoir, part informative and part instructional,” has appeared on several television and radio programs and holds educational workshops and other programming throughout the community.
“I, as an African-American woman, have experienced challenges,” Urling said. “The industry is predominantly men and for me as a black woman, I had to work even harder to be accepted. There were days I wanted to quit and walk away, but my fortitude and faith kept me going. Yes, at times you feel isolated, but I have earned my keep no matter my ups or downs.”
While she has experienced several blows in recent years, including financial hardship and the deaths of her mother and sister, Urling has weathered the storms and wants to continue to serve as a role model in her community.
“After you made it through one storm, then the others, it becomes easier to know I will get through and today, the company is still here 20 years later,” she said. “I am proud to be the only black woman left today but now I must leave a legacy, expand and bring others into the industry mentor and train to join this wonderful company.”