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 first-time homebuyers, home builders, and new construction projects, among others to 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!
Simply Remarkable Financing
Since 1988, Cornerstone has made a positive difference in people's lives. Our staff of caring, seasoned mortgage professionals is passionate about helping people become homeowners.
Founded by Marc N. Laird and Judy Belanger in Houston, Texas, Cornerstone has steadily grown into one of the largest privately-held mortgage companies in the country.
Cornerstone by the Numbers
- More than 1,000 team members in 100+ branches throughout the United States
- Licensed to lend in 41 states
- #1 non-bank lender in Texas (Based on HMDA data for Cornerstone Home Lending and its affiliates)
- Cornerstone's CEO, Marc Laird received the Top Workplaces CEO Leadership Award in 2017, among Houston's largest companies
- Houston Chronicle Top Workplaces Winner - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019
Mark Johnson knows how complex getting a mortgage can seem. That’s why education and communication are at the forefront of his amazing service.
“I love meeting with my customers face-to-face to go over their options and what to expect during the process,” he says. “We also talk about the current market so they have a better understanding of what’s happening in the industry. And I always encourage my customers to reach out to me at any time.”
A love of real estate and renovation inspired Mark to join the industry in 1999. Throughout the years, he has helped everyone from first-time buyers and move-up homeowners to new construction customers and investors. Enthusiastic, creative, and knowledgeable, he explores every opportunity to help his clients secure their homeownership dreams.
Mark also personally manages the details of the loan transaction. Every Wednesday, each customer can expect a call from him with their weekly loan status update. Plus, he is available on weekends to answer any questions or concerns. Mark ensures his customers are at ease with the process and have all the information they want to make confident home buying decisions.
Mark grew up on a wheat and lentil farm in Washington. After graduating from the University of Denver, he worked for Bose Corporation in marketing and sales, which took him to Boston, San Francisco, and Honolulu. Mark has called beautiful Santa Barbara home since 2010.
At the end of each work day, Mark heads home to his real boss, an adorable three-year-old labradoodle named Plover, who loves 5-6 mile hikes along the beach. In his spare time, Mark also enjoys traveling and has explored Europe, Egypt, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Fiji, Costa Rica, and Machu Picchu, just to name a few!
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.
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.
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
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.
Front Office Administrative Assistant
Fiercely client-focused, Brittany’s greatest joy is finding ways to let clients know how important they are. She was attracted to Cornerstone because of this shared value and is thrilled to serve clients alongside her team. She brings with her positivity, diligence, and impeccable organization skills.
A native of Elk River, Minnesota, Brittany came to California to attend the University of California Santa Barbara, where she earned a BA in Communications and a minor in Education. Before joining Cornerstone, she worked as a box office manager for several live theaters in downtown Santa Barbara. Outside of the office, Brittany enjoys spending her time going on adventures with her boyfriend and their dog, Pipsqueak.
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.
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.
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.