As military matters figured prominently during the event, she was pressed into service to participate in a panel discussion on the theme titled “Enlisting Veterans into the Mortgage Industry.” But it was during her turn as a spotlight speaker at the event that many of her peers learned of her late start in the mortgage game.

Read more: Loan officer goes from military to mortgages

She began her speech by uttering the number 51 in dramatic fashion, complete with pregnant pause. “This is the age that I was when I entered this industry,” she then told the hushed crowd. Veale told MPA how she was instructed to mimic the style of her speech to that of the popular TED talks. Those sessions are put on by TED Conferences LLC, an American-Canadian non-profit organization that posts international talks online for free distribution under the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.”

Veale said of her approach to her Spotlight session: “They left it up to me, but they really wanted me to focus on my story,” she said, describing her former military duty that had commanded her first act – the details of which she shared with MPA in a previous profile. “They asked me to make it TED talk-ish and leave the audience with something.”

And boy, did she. “What I left people with is that it’s never too late to start over or reinvent yourself,” she said. “For me, that was at age 51. If you have an existing brokerage, maybe you’ve been wanting to make a change but you’re scared,” she told the audience. “Don’t be scared. Get out of your own way and do the things you want to do. You have to overcome those fears and know that people want you to be successful.”