I had the privilege of attending ALTA One this year for the first time. Stephanie Campbell, President of VLTA for 2021-2022 and I, in my capacity as President-Elect, flew to New Orleans to take advantage of all that ALTA One had to offer. I was thinking this would be another butt-numbing series of educational sessions, followed by a chicken dinner in the evenings. Boy was I surprised!

ALTA One has a unique format that kept the body moving and the mind engaged. Though the names of all the sections were confusing to me on day one, I quickly learned that Omni Sessions are informational association news, awards, and always a Keynote Speaker. Notables are education sessions, many that offered CE/CLE. There also were Engagement Labs which are basically small breakout sessions lasting half an hour where you can actually speak with the presenter and have open discussions on topic. Most of the Engagement Labs are offered more than once to allow you the opportunity to catch them all (or most at least).

Keynote speakers each day were nationally known experts in various fields. Most entertaining of the three, at least to this non-football fan, was Beau Lotto, a Professor of Neuroscience and author. He is a professor at the University of London, as well as a visiting scholar at New York University. He has presented Ted Talks three times. According to his webpage, “Beau Lotto seeks to pull aside the curtain of why we see what we do in order to create the possibility and agency in deciding what to perceive next.” His presentation was not only entertaining, but truly mind-opening.

Ginny Clarke was the second Keynote Speaker. She was Director, Executive Recruiting at Google for several years. In her role, she led the Diversity, Internal Mobility and the Non-tech Recruiting teams. She really challenged us to think about what diversity means in the workplace, and how to actually achieve it rather than just talk about it. She also stuck around for an Engagement Lab so we could continue the discussion in a much smaller group.

And now back to the football fans. Thursday’s Keynote speaker was Archie Manning, who has something to do with football, and his sons have something to do with football too I believe. Anyway, he’s a BIG deal in New Orleans and the room was packed.

Of the sessions I attended, one of the most interesting was on luring women back to the workforce. Women left in record numbers and disproportionately to men during the pandemic and are finding few incentives to come back. This creates an employee desert in an industry that is recognized for the number of women it employs.

“RPT” was very scary/interesting also. “Real Time Payments” are immediate (within 15 seconds) and cannot be reclaimed. They have the same risk for fraud value as wires, but no ability to claw back any of the funds if a mistake is made in sending them. So, why? So much information was provided that my best advice is to go to ALTA’s website and read their Best Practices for RPT section. They also ask that we advise their RPT Taskforce if we hear that our state legislature is taking up a discussion on the topic.

All in all, it was my first ALTA One, but I am confident in saying it will not be my last.

Oh, and there might have been a party or two or three while we were there – but, no pictures. Well, maybe just this one . . .

Mary Long joined the Stewart Title family in 1987 and currently serves as President of the local affiliate, Stewart Title and Settlement. Her many years of title experience together with prior real estate industry experiences in Foreclosure, Bankruptcy and Hazard Loss, as well as Relocation Coordination and REO properties, have allowed her to become a resource for training in the areas of underwriting, examination and settlement procedures.

Mary is a board member of VLTA and will serve as 2nd Vice President in 2019-2020. She is also President-Elect of Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate (HRACRE).

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