Meet the Mark Johnson Team
The Mark Johnson Team is ready to help people in the Santa Barbara area become homeowners. We enjoy helping people see how much they can really afford, and then how to make that happen for them. The client meeting is in fact our favorite part about the loan process, as we enjoy being face-to-face with clients and building relationships with them.
Mark Johnson’s years of experience in the mortgage business, paired with Cornerstone’s variety of different loan options, equips us to serve people with different needs and desires. Mark is specifically known in the Santa Barbara area for being a builder project expert lender. We have been able to help a variety of different people finance local dream homes.
Cornerstone is a full-service mortgage lender. We offer a variety of mortgage options, home loan programs, and competitive pricing from a wide range of national investors. With in-house processing, underwriting, and funding, Cornerstone is 100% committed to on-time closings and satisfying home-financing experiences.
We look forward to serving you!
Sr. Loan Originator
A love of real estate and renovation inspired Mark Johnson to become a loan officer more than 20 years ago. Whether working with first-time buyers or investors, he takes a hands-on approach to his role as a mortgage advisor.
“I love being part of the process, checking in with my clients regularly and making sure they know exactly what to expect at each step,” says Mark. “Having a dedicated team at my side gives me more time to stay connected with customers and deliver the high level of service they deserve.”
Mark has extensive experience in residential lending. He has helped homeowners secure financing for The Hideaway, a luxury townhome community in Santa Barbara; Vineyard Village, a condo complex in Santa Ynez Valley; and Pasadera, the largest new development in Santa Barbara County with over 800 single-family homes.
Mark grew up on a wheat and lentil farm in Washington state. The University of Denver graduate worked in sales and marketing at Bose Corporation for more than 10 years before transitioning to in-house mortgage lending at Berkshire Hathaway in 1999.
When he’s not helping people achieve their homeownership dreams, Mark spends as much time as possible with his husband and their beach-loving labradoodle, Plover. You can also find Mark at the local farmers market, searching for the perfect ingredients to create his next culinary masterpiece.
Jr. Loan Originator
As Jr. Loan Originator, Ben works with homebuyers and his team to facilitate a smooth and successful loan process. Before joining Cornerstone, Ben worked in real estate development for six years. His goal of working with a team and having the opportunity to directly help people led him to pivot into a career in home lending. Helping others fuels his fire and he gets immense satisfaction through seeing clients reach their goals.
Ben was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and attended the University of Colorado Denver, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in finance. Now Ben calls California home – he fell in love with Santa Barbara while on vacation and never left. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors with friends and family.
Mark offers trusted guidance gained from more than 16 years of experience in residential lending and financial services. He is skilled in finding solutions to fit the needs of a variety of homebuyers, including self-employed clients and borrowers seeking jumbo loan options.
Mark works closely with his customers, making sure they understand what to expect at each step. His background in processing gives him insight to help clients move effortlessly from application to underwriting. Both customers and partners value his clear communication, responsive service, and unwavering dedication to close loans on time—every time.
“When my customers and their realtors are happy, I’m ecstatic,” he says. “So I do whatever I can to make the process as simple, stress-free, and streamlined as possible.”
Born in San Francisco, Mark grew up in Sunnyvale. The UCSB graduate was a stock trader and scuba diving instructor before taking the plunge into mortgage lending. He joined Cornerstone Home Lending because the company’s mission aligned with his personal passion: To make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Mark’s time outside of the office is usually spent on the water. He is the Vice President of the Santa Barbara Outrigger Canoe Club, and has raced in events in California and Hawaii.
Front Office Administrative Assistant
Before joining the Cornerstone team, Emily served as Director of Weddings and Events at Crushcakes, curating special celebrations for some of life’s most important milestones. In her position, she developed exceptional organizational and customer service skills, which are now hard at work in support of another important milestone – homeownership.
As Front Office Administrative Assistant, Emily is often the first to greet clients, prospective clients, and partners when they call or visit the office. With a positive spirit and eagerness to help, she facilitates communication and manages details between parties.
When she’s not working, Emily loves spending time outdoors with her dog, Daisy, hiking, and going to the beach.
Loan Set-Up Specialist
Kess was inspired to join the mortgage industry because of its dynamic nature and the opportunity to help others. She brings her impeccable organizational skills, a keen eye for detail, and a cheerful disposition to her team and everyone she encounters, both inside and outside of the office. Before joining the Kelly Marsh Team, Kess served her community in hospitality. In her previous position, she was awarded employee of the month in April and July 2019.
A lifetime Californian, Kess was born and raised in Hesperia and now lives in Goleta. She is pursuing a degree in Business from Santa Barbara City College and enjoys spending her free time with family, friends, and her pets, preferably at the beach.
Loan Set-Up Specialist
Energetic, optimistic, and with a keen eye for detail, Loan Set-Up Specialist, Kaitlin Rudnick works closely with clients and her team to gather information and ensure every point is in place for a smooth loan process. She is delighted to work in the service of others and is always eager to provide the most possible value.
Kaitlin is pursuing her master's degree in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, cooking, traveling, and reading.
Branch Operations Manager
Before joining The Kelly Marsh Team in 2013, Sheila served in accounting and real estate. Her meticulous attention to detail and prompt service help create efficient, seamless mortgage transactions.
Sheila also truly cares about her team members and their clients, and is always ready to lend a helping hand whenever needed. Her commitment to excellence shines in everything she does, and you can always count on her to do the job right and on time, every time.
Senior Loan Processor
When it came time to pursue a career, Cassie didn’t have to look too far for inspiration. Her family has been involved in the finance industry for years. Before joining the lending side of the business, Cassie served in residential and commercial real estate. She offers an insider’s view of the entire home-buying process gained from 13 years of combined experience in mortgage and real estate.
Cassie is a skilled multi-tasker with a passion for hard work. She approaches each day with 100% commitment to ensuring clients have positive home financing experiences. Like her fellow team members, Cassie offers clear communication and prompt resolution of any issues. She works closely with customers and co-workers, making sure loan files are complete and ready for the underwriting stage of the process.
Cassie enjoys seeing the pride and joy homeownership brings. She is especially grateful for the opportunity to help clients who may have been overlooked by other lenders. Because of the Kelly Marsh Team’s broad understanding of investor guidelines, those customers were able to secure the right financing for their needs.
Born and raised in Northern California, Cassie has lived in Santa Barbara since 2000. She graduated from the University of California-Santa Barbara, and spent several semesters studying abroad in Costa Rica and Spain. Outside of work, Cassie enjoys yoga, hiking, and trying new restaurants. She also loves planning vacations, so let her know some of your favorite destinations!
Senior Loan Processor
"My goal is to provide educated and swift solutions in a friendly and concise way."
As Senior Loan Processor, Angelica Chavez works closely with clients and her team, preparing loans for closing, and helping clients get into their new homes. With over 14 years of experience in loan processing, she is knowledgeable and professional, providing exceptional service to all.
Born in Mexico and raised in Santa Barbara, Angelica moved to San Diego in 2013. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and their two boys and visiting her family in Santa Barbara.
Gloria’s enthusiasm, can-do attitude, and friendly personality warmly greet you the second you meet her. An impeccably detailed, organized, and dedicated professional, she expertly keeps day-to-day operations running smoothly. Team members value her incredible support and hard work each and every day.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Gloria immigrated to the United States in 2013. The UCSB graduate holds a communications degree with a minor in education and applied psychology. Gloria stays energized and centered with yoga and meditation.
Erica considers each day an opportunity to learn something new. She loves applying the knowledge she gains to help clients achieve their homeownership dreams.
With her laser focus and boundless energy, she excels in meeting quick deadlines in this fast-paced industry. Dedicated, dependable, and delightful to work with, Erica strives to provide customers and co-workers with above-and-beyond service.
Outside of work, Erica concentrates on improving her overall wellness. She enjoys unplugging from the day-to-day grind by exploring the outdoors, staying active, learning new recipes, and catching up with family and friends.
Catherine lives by the motto, Make every moment count. Whether it’s a walk along the beach with her dogs, a weekend trip to visit her daughter at college, or an outdoor concert under the stars, Catherine finds joy and gratitude in her heart for moments big and small.
Catherine brings this same passion to helping people during a big moment in their lives: Becoming a homeowner. She offers trusted insight gained from nearly 30 years in title and escrow and 10 years in loan processing. Catherine is also quick to jump in and resolve issues that may affect the loan closing. Both customers and team members value her work ethic, instant accessibility, and caring service.
Born in Santa Barbara, Catherine grew up in Carpinteria, where her family was one of the first to reside in the area. She currently lives in Oxnard with her children. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the great outdoors, supporting the local arts and culture scene, and volunteering at her church.
Director of Client Services
Heather wears many hats in her role as Director of Client Services. She's a quick problem solver, a caring listener, a marketing visionary, and a detailed planner of events big and small. No matter the task at hand, Heather's creativity and can-do attitude help team members expand homeownership opportunities in the communities they serve.
Born in Twin Falls, Idaho, Heather has lived in Santa Barbara since 2003. She majored in Communication Studies at Santa Barbara City College and the University of California, Santa Barbara. One of her greatest life experiences was studying and living abroad in Ghana, West Africa for six months during her senior year at University of California, Santa Barbara. Before joining the mortgage industry in 2012, Heather honed her exceptional communication skills and customer service in the retail, hospitality, and real estate fields.
Heather devotes her time outside of work to her husband and two children. She loves being a mom, traveling and exploring new places, trying new restaurants, and spending time with family and friends. Heather also takes time to recharge her mind, body, and spirit with work outs, spin classes, and energizing walks at the beach.