Leading the Industry’s Innovative Charge
Over the past several years, Eddie Oddo has been at the forefront of innovation in the title insurance industry. Whether its been helping develop standards for remote online notarization or the creation of the ALTA Title & Settlement Agent Registry, Oddo has made sure the industry’s interests are well represented as new products are developed to meet customer demand.
Oddo, vice president of corporate business solutions at First American Title Insurance Company, was one of three ALTA members honored at the 2018 ALTA ONE conference with an inaugural Our Values Award. The awards program showcases the title insurance industry’s Our Values initiative, which serves as the industry’s cultural compass and highlights the core ideals ALTA members embrace. Oddo received the We Lead Award for his leadership in the roll out and design of the ALTA Registry, a searchable online database of underwriter-confirmed title agent companies, real estate attorneys and underwriter direct offices.
He was also honored for his contribution on ALTA’s Remote Online Notary task force and at the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO), as he helped ensure that those standards reflected the needs of the title industry and that technologists understood the nuances of real estate practices when building new technology.
As new state laws legalizing remote online notarizations are passed and await implementation, MISMO’s remote online notarization standards provide a blueprint for regulation that secretaries of state can use to expedite the development of draft regulations.
“First American has a long history of industry leadership and innovation, and Eddie’s contributions to the industry build on that legacy,” said Dennis J. Gilmore, CEO of First American Financial Corporation. “His contributions to the American Land Title Association and the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization benefit the entire title and settlement industry and the recognition from ALTA is well deserved.”
Our Values Profile
Name: Eddie Oddo
Title: VP, Corporate Business Solutions
Company: First American Title Insurance Co.
How would you describe your company’s culture in 10 words or less?
Integrity, Teamwork, Leadership, Innovative, Service, Commitment, People
How does the organization support these values?
Through example—our executive leaders set the tone for the company and have for over 130 years. Through support—ideas and innovative projects that align with our culture are funded and promoted through use of the company’s resources. Through recognition—leadership knows that people are the center of our culture, and the best way to motivate and encourage others to adopt and support our values is to recognize individuals when they do so and amplify their accomplishments. We have many methods of doing this internally.
What makes you proud to work at your company?
Many things make me proud, but the primary element is integrity. Since day one of my 23 years at First American, and across the many states I have visited, integrity is at the core of what we do and who we are. Doing things right for our customers and our fellow employees is just in our DNA—even if sometimes it is difficult. We do the right thing. It is something to be proud of.
What role do company values play in hiring and performance reviews?
Our company values play a big part in both. Beyond technical skills, talent and education, the people that excel at First American share and promote our values.
What is a common way your staff exhibits the company culture during a closing?
I have had the privilege to visit many of our closing offices in many states. It is amazing how similar our values are from office to office. Our staff clearly works for the good of the closing and for the real estate agents, lenders and consumers who are directly involved. They simply do everything legally in their power to deliver a successful experience to all the parties involved. Interestingly, this also happens to be the mindset I see, not just in our offices, but in our title agent offices nationwide. Every closing is a major event for someone, and even though we do them all day, every day, our staff never forgets that each one is personal.
Which of We Lead, Deliver or Protect speaks to you the most as a title professional and why?
That’s a tough question, but if you hold my feet to the fire, I have to answer with “We Lead.” I have always been a “fixer,” looking for what is not working well, so I can come up with a better way. First American has a lot of fixers and people coming up with new ideas to help the company, our customers or the industry. We like to blaze new trails and tackle the controversial issues. And I, personally, like to get out front and find the new way. So, “We Lead,” speaks to me the most.
How did you get into the industry?
My uncle, who also worked for First American, suggested I check it out.
What excites you about what you do or what is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Our industry is dynamic and in the midst of exciting changes. We provide a very unique and valuable set of services to so many. It is exciting to have so many meaningful opportunities to make a difference.
Why is the title industry a great career opportunity for those entering the workforce?
As I stated, there are a lot of opportunities for people of all skill sets. And the title industry gives people exposure to every aspect of real estate. It allows one to thrive in title and settlement services or branch out into real estate investing, banking, lending, legal services, etc.
What advice do you have for professionals starting their career in the industry?
Ask lots of questions. There are so many knowledgeable people in this industry. There is so much to be learned that you couldn’t get from a book or a class in college.
Who has been your professional mentor and why?
I happen to collect mentors, so there is not just one. But, if I had to name a single person, it would be John Hollenbeck. John recently retired with close to four decades in the industry and I had the privilege of working directly for him for a few years before he retired. He has done it all: IT, underwriting, settlement, business development, strategic enterprise programs, and on and on. He represents all that is good in the industry. And he forever gives great life advice on generally how to be a good husband, father, brother, friend and employee. He’s just a great guy to know and a great teacher.
Tell us something that others in the industry may not know about you.
I’m a guitar player and not a bad singer.
ALTA Our Values Awards
ALTA is celebrating our members who live these values in the best possible ways with the ALTA Our Values Awards. These awards are given annually to individuals who have put one or more of ALTA’s core values—leading, delivering and protecting—into action. In its second year, the awards program will include a fourth award for one entire ALTA member office or operational team that exemplifies Our Values.
We want to know how you, your friends or your coworkers go to extraordinary lengths to personify Our Values. ALTA is accepting nominations through June 7. Submit nominations at surveymonkey.com/r/ALTAvalues.
Winners will be recognized during ALTA ONE, Oct. 22-25, 2019, in Austin, Texas.
Leading the Industry’s Innovative Charge