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“I learned what to do and what not to do by working with and watching managers I had throughout my life.”

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Daniel Milstein, is an entrepreneur and successful loan officer residing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. He is the CEO of Gold Star Financial, which is one of Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies.

Daniel has been honored by numerous publications including the Scotsman Guide, in which he was ranked the No. 1 Loan Officer in the United States for the past two years. National Mortgage Professional Magazine lists Mr. Milstein as one of the 40 Most Influential Finance Professionals in the United States. Crain’s Detroit Business Magazine also selected him as Detroit’s Top 40 Executives under 40 list and Mortgage Originator Magazine honored him as a Top Originator.

Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group is a full service mortgage business with its main headquarters located in Ann Arbor, MI. It is their primary goal to build and develop relationships with their clients that are professional and last a lifetime.

Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group

MO: How have you managed to lead Gold Star to Inc. magazine’s coveted 500 Fastest Growing Companies list during one of the worst recessions the United States history?

Daniel:  When the global financial meltdown hit, I knew we could get through it. I’m confident I could sell sand in the desert but (at the time) we cleaned out our balance sheet and put the pedal to the metal. Additionally, we never engaged in subprime lending that got other financial institutions in trouble. We put the client before profits and always made ethical business decisions. We also doubled our advertising and marketing at the time which helped to propel us to the place we are today.

MO: Why do you think that Gold Star has been selected as one of the top places to work in Michigan by the Detroit Free Press for the past three years?

Daniel:  We weren’t selected by the people of Michigan; it was our employees that were given anonymous surveys that won the title for us. We have extremely low turnover rate for this industry and I believe it’s because we treat our employees like family. I know their professional lives and personal lives and my door is always open for them to come in a discuss issues, failures and successes. Gold Star truly puts its employees first.

MO: What leaders inspire you?

Daniel:  There is no one that particularly inspires me. I read biographies of successful executives and take bits and pieces from each. I respectfully learn from people who have been in the business for a long time.

MO: Within the financial field, you’ve worked your way up from assistant consumer lending manager, general manager, and underwriter, to becoming Chief Operations Officer within various financial institutions. How has the process of working your way up the ladder influenced your management style and your vision for the company?

Daniel:  Mainly I learned by observing others. I learned what to do and what not to do by working with and watching managers I had throughout my life. I always make sure to show my employees that as the leader I am the first one in each day and the last one out. I am always available for them, nights, weekends, etc. I treat all employees like family.

MO: You’ve received a remarkable amount of awards and recognition within your field, both nationally and internationally. Which award has held the most significance for you?

Daniel:  Inc. Magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies is one of the ones I am most proud of. When I received the letter we would be honored, it was a tearful moment accepted on behalf of the company and not an individual. When I accepted the award in DC, it was because my company assisted me in leading through the financial crisis to get to the pinnacle.

MO: Congratulations on recently winning first place in the General Non-Fiction category of the DIY Book Festival, in LA for your book , “The ABC of Sales: Lessons from a Superstar.” Can you talk about what inspired you to write the book and perhaps give our readers some tips or advice to improve their selling technique?

Daniel:  Writing a book about my life was always something that was on my bucket list. The moment that really propelled it into action was when I was in DC for the Inc. Magazine award presentation. I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Chris Gardener. Gardener was the character portrayed by Will Smith in the movie the “Pursuit of Happiness”. Our similar humble upbringings- me a refugee coming to America at 16 with only 17 cents in my pocket and speaking no English- was something that we were able to relate to each other. He encouraged me to tell my story. Inspirational stories such as ours don’t come around often.

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