Princess of Title Goes to Washington
The ALTA Advocacy Summit can seem intimidating to those who have no experience on Capitol Hill. In-person meetings with the Congressmen and women who govern the country can feel intimidating and nerve-wracking. ALTA members sometimes hesitate to attend the event because they don’t feel like they can answer questions or be the “expert in the room.”
However, ALTA member Amanda Calloway, Georgia and South Carolina counsel for Calloway Title & Escrow LLC in Atlanta, Ga., as well as the president of the Southeast Land Title Association, decided to attend ALTA Advocacy Summit this year for the first time.
Dubbed “The Princess of Title,” Calloway grew up in the title insurance industry. Her father, Marcus Calloway, started running title searches part-time while he attended law school in the 1970s, eventually beginning his practice in 1976 and founding Calloway Title & Escrow in 1997. Her uncle and aunt, George and Diane Calloway also are long-time fixtures in the title industry. (Diane Calloway was awarded ALTA’s Excellence in Advocacy Award in 2014.)
“There is so much goodwill for me here at ALTA,” Amanda Calloway said.
Even so, Calloway had hesitated to attend ALTA Advocacy Summit during her 16 years working in the title industry for multiple reasons: With a very full schedule, taking time away from her business can be difficult. She felt slightly daunted at the prospect of sitting in a U.S. Senator’s or Representative’s office answering questions. And, in truth, the event seemed too far removed from what she did on a daily basis.
Coming to ALTA Advocacy Summit this year was easier when her mentor, ALTA member Deborah Bailey, managing member of Bailey Helms Legal LLC in Roswell, Ga., asked her to attend.
“I would have been much more concerned and nervous without my mentor,” Calloway said.
Additionally, the New Member and First-Time Attendee Orientation held on the first day of ALTA Advocacy Summit was a big confidence booster. During this reception, ALTA ambassadors help familiarize first-time attendees with the conference.
“The ALTA ambassadors provided a wealth of information,” she said. “They made me excited because they were so excited.”
After two days of meetings, keynote speakers and prep sessions, ALTA Advocacy Summit features Capitol Hill Day, during which ALTA members descend on Capitol Hill to meet with Congressmen and women and their staffs about specific issues currently affecting the title insurance industry. Prior to Capitol Hill Day, Calloway also did some research and prep work on her own.
“ALTA Advocacy Summit is impressive,” Calloway said. “The event has made me pay more attention to the political process. It has given me the chance to take a deeper dive into complicated topics.”
During Capitol Hill Day, Calloway, Bailey and ALTA staff members Megan Hernandez and Theresa Johnson bounced among several Georgia Congressional offices, including those of Rep. Lucy McBath, Rep. David Scott and Sen. Johnny Isakson. Because Congressional schedules change frequently, Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr.’s office was a last-minute addition to the agenda.
Calloway started the day taking a back seat, mainly watching and listening during her first meeting. As she continued throughout the day, she became more confident and discussed this year’s advocacy topics, such as real estate wire fraud and anti-money laundering laws, with aplomb. In her final meeting of the day, she took control and lead the session.
“[Meeting with Congressional staff] was much less stressful than I thought it would be. When I do this again, I won’t be nearly as nervous,” Calloway said. “I liked being able to hold our Congress people accountable for what happens in our state.”
While Calloway previously felt ALTA Advocacy Summit wasn’t necessarily at the top of her to-do list, she now says the event is “a very accessible way to become involved and advocate for our industry. You have to experience it to really understand how easy and beneficial it is to attend.”
Calloway hopes more ALTA members will consider trying ALTA Advocacy Summit. “It’s worth taking the time away from your business to gain a broader perspective on what we do. All an attendee has to do is show up. ALTA staff has done all the work for you. They set up the framework and provide you with the tools you need for success.”
Princess of Title Goes to Washington