Interview with Mallory Walker

Chairman of Walker & Dunlop, LLC


Vernon Holleman III, CLU, sat down with Mallory, in his home, to discuss the history of Walker & Dunlop, his family’s real estate financial services company, his experience following his father, his development of the business, what he learned about family business continuity during his career, and the eventual transition of the firm to one of his two sons, which looked anything but probable.

Vernon and Mallory talk through the key events in Mallory’s life that helped him not only come to understand the fundamental dynamics of family firms, but also helped him build a clear set of beliefs about the key elements and components necessary for a successful private company transition. The issues covered, include: family equability fairness (he had two sisters), leadership decision making, non-family member equity for key executives, what-if planning, and, of course, the specifics of how Walker & Dunlop has made it to the third generation of family leadership.

This interview is filled with deep thinking on the subject of business succession planning and sage advice that will help any family business person be more thoughtful, and prepared, in the decisions they must make.

Notable Discussion Topics:

Among other topics, Mallory discusses the following issues with Vernon Holleman III, CLU:

  • Fairness – Achieving it (or attempting to) with siblings outside the business
  • Decision Making – the Importance of One Decision Maker
  • Relevance and Age – Misjudging Value and Utility
  • Executive Compensation Liquidity Buy-Outs
  • Father-Son differences – Important?
  • Discovering One’s Real Interest in the Family Business


Mallory Walker is Chairman of Walker & Dunlop, LLC., a Bethesda, Maryland based commercial real estate firm specializing in mortgage finance, investments and asset management. Mr. Walker graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in History.

A native of Washington, D.C., Mr. Walker has been active in many community and business organizations for over 40 years. Community efforts include service as Chairman and Trustee of the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, Chairman and a Commissioner of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, a Member of the Smithsonian National Board, and a Trustee of the following organizations: Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, PA, WETA (a Washington public radio and television station), University of Virginia College Foundation, National Building Museum, Greater Washington Research Center, and The Phillips Collection. Mr. Walker has also been a Director of the following organizations: Greater Washington Board of Trade, Board Member of the Fannie Mae Foundation, member of the Federal City Council and a Board Member of the Choral Arts Society of Washington.

Business activity includes 13 years as a Director of Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM), the nation’s largest mortgage lender. He was a founding director of Atlantic Trust Company, which was sold to United Asset Management (UAM), and he was a Director of Charles E. Smith Residential Realty, Inc., (now NYSE: ASN) from the formation of the public company in 1994 until the fall of 1999. He was a member of the American Society of Real Estate Counselors (CRE) from 1983 to March 2002 and of the Multi-Family (Blue) Council of the Urban Land Institute from 1979 to 2007. He has been active in the Mortgage Bankers Association of America having served on its Board and Executive Committee, as well as being Chairman of its Legislative Committee and Political Action Committee, MORPAC.