Hello VLTA Members! I am Stephanie Campbell, Your VLTA President for the 2021/2022 Term.
We have faced a great many challenges over the last year and are finally seeing a sense of normalcy return to life and business. Deemed essential by the Department of Treasury, our workloads doubled if not tripled. We were forced to find creative solutions to keep people safe, while keeping our businesses open and real estate transactions closing. We have had many obstacles to overcome; we have done it with grace and kindness. Taking pride in our industry and in each other.
Over the last twenty-two years, I have served as a VLTA member, a volunteer, a committee member, a co-chair, a committee director, a speaker and/or presenter and literally “jack of trades” for VLTA. I would be remiss however, if I did not mention that my most important role to date, has been and is currently as an Officer on the Board of Directors. I understood early on, the importance of getting involved and knew that with hard work and dedication, I could and would make a difference in my profession. When I look back, on who I was in the beginning of my career and who I am today, there is no question that “we” are two very different people.
Our immediate Past President, Julie Rutledge, continued the initiative of her predecessor, Megan Meloon and the Workforce Development Taskforce, by asking our membership to consider becoming a mentor to someone who was or is relatively new and working in our industry. When the Workforce Development Taskforce was created, the directive was to develop a career path for new industry professionals and to find ways to attract new talent to the industry. The Workforce Development Taskforce has done an incredible job of doing just that. In addition, they have expanded their focus and have begun to foster relationships with local educators. Educators who have direct access to graduating students. Students who would soon be entering the workforce and not necessarily thinking about a career in title and settlement.
Let’s be honest, when you were little and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, you probably didn’t say “I want to be a Title Insurance Underwriter” or “I want to close real estate transactions”. That said, the important work the Taskforce is doing by creating partnerships with local educators is most valuable. This will create interest and awareness about the title and settlement industry and the many different career paths that our profession offers.
While it is extremely important to create interest and awareness outside of our industry, it is also important to look within. I implore those people who are in a position of authority in your organization to take notice of the folks you work with every day. Talk to them. Look for their bright light, their interest, their passion. Often others see things in us that we do not see ourselves. By having conversations with your office administrator, your processor or even your post closer. You may find that you have someone right under your thumb that would be a great leader.
In the eloquent words of the Dalai Lama, “We can see that all the desirable experiences that we cherish or aspire to attain are dependent upon cooperation and interaction with other sentient beings”. Furthermore as said, by Vince Lombardi “Individual commitment to a group effort-that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work”.
This year’s theme “Value, Veracity, Vision – This is VLTA” encompasses that message. We cannot know whom we are or where we are going, unless we know where we came from. We take ownership of our commitment to the American Dream every day by igniting the drive and resilience to keep the moving parts of a real estate transaction together until closing day. In doing so, we are sharing in the joy so many feel when the signatures are complete and the keys are placed in the hand of a smiling face.
We strive to protect the integrity of the Title, the transaction and the consumer. We know the Value of our role, we focus on the Veracity it takes to accomplish the impossible and we have the Vision to get it done.
Collectively, we want to see our industry continue to thrive and grow. It is important for us to share our knowledge and experience with as many people as we can. Take that high school student and offer them a summer internship. Take that college graduate who can’t find a job under your wing. Share your expertise and career path with someone who may have never considered a career in title and settlement. Ignite their fire by showing them YOURS. If we do this, there is no doubt that we are expanding our commitment to a sustainable and strong workforce that will carry us forward in the coming years.
Mother Teresa said it best “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot, together we can do great things”.
Embrace YOUR Value, Spotlight YOUR Veracity, Expand YOUR Vision and Invest in YOUR Industry! THIS is who YOU are! THIS is who WE are! THIS is VLTA!
Stephanie Campbell is Southern Virginia Agency Manager for Westcor Land Title Insurance Company. She has worked in the Title and Settlement Industry since 1988 and has been a licensed Title Agent since 1998. She was appointed as a licensed CE Instructor with the Virginia Bureau of Insurance in 2011 and appointed by the Virginia Department of Professional Occupational Regulation as a Course Instructor for the Real Estate Board Education Section in 2015. She has been an active member of the Virginia Land Title Association for many years, serving as Director of Education Chair from 2009 – 2012, and again from 2017-2019. She currently serves as President on the 2021/2022 VLTA Board of Directors.