Winners of ALTA Our Values Awards
ALTA announced the winners of the ALTA Our Values Awards, which serve as the industry’s cultural compass and highlight the core ideals ALTA members embrace.
The four Our Values Awards were presented during ALTA ONE, the largest annual event for the land title insurance industry, held Oct. 22-25 in Austin. Each of the three individual awards represent one of the three values:
We Lead: We are the authority in real estate transactions. We innovate for the benefit of our customers.
We Deliver: Our customers trust us to do the right thing, the right way–before, during and after the transaction. We sweat the small stuff to assure that land transfer is accurate, swift and secure.
We Protect: We protect the property rights of those we serve. We reduce risk so our customers have peace of mind.
ALTA expanded the program this year to recognize an entire ALTA member office or operational team that demonstrate these ideals.
Diane Evans NTP, an ALTA past president and vice president of Land Title Guarantee Co. in Denver, won the We Lead Award for her leadership on the Land Title Association of Colorado’s Remote Online Notary Task Force. As the consummate title insurance industry advocate, Evans used her expertise to stand up not for her company, but what she thought was in the best interests of the industry and, more importantly, the consumer. Evans lives the concept of leadership through her tireless work to improve the industry for all.
“The title industry is and always has been about protecting consumers,” Evans said. “Great companies, title agents and underwriters alike know that we have access to non-public personal information necessary to complete a consumer’s real estate transaction. Protection and use of that information is a trust that we should never abuse nor neglect. Assuring regulators, legislators and consumers is critical to creating confidence about our industry and the values we embrace.”
Lauren Vanni Kinard, president of First Excel Title in Fairfax, Va., won the We Deliver Award for going the extra mile to ensure her customers’ transactions are smooth, safe and on time. She delivered for her customers repeatedly, from going out of her way to track down incoming wire transfers after hours to ensure homebuyers wouldn’t have to spend the weekend in a hotel room, to helping a customer’s friend find two unreleased mortgage payments so that person could close on a home equity line of credit.
“It is quite an honor to be the recipient of the We Deliver Award,” Kinard said. “By looking at each transaction as if I were in the customer’s position, adopting a service-oriented platform helps ensure a successful experience, which aligns to my company’s mission. Our customers know we will deliver for them with professionalism and trust us as we strive to exceed industry standards.”
Amy Gregory, chief administrative officer and president of the Florida Agency Network, won the We Protect Award for pulling out all the stops to help a real estate wire fraud victim. When a customer was defrauded of $130,000, Gregory uncovered where the funds were sent. She even persuaded the U.S. Secret Service to investigate the crime and ultimately retrieve and return the money. She then went a step further and earned her Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) designation to help become a strong resource for other customers.
“With decades of experience, I have seen a vast amount of change and new threats that did not exist years ago,” Gregory said. “We have made it our mission to protect our clients and company, and to create an environment of continuous improvement and awareness. I am truly honored to receive this award.”
Finally, Liberty Title, which has multiple offices in Michigan and Florida, won the Team Award. Liberty Title’s internal motto is, “If we can’t close it, no one can … or should,” summing up the company’s commitment to their customers. Earlier this year, a customer approached Liberty Title with a title issue that needed resolved. Many companies turned the customer away because of an existing lien. Liberty Title’s in-house legal team listened to the customer, explained her options, then closely examined the lien. The legal team found that the lien should have been expunged years ago.
“Working at Liberty Title means being part of a team that works toward one shared goal: protecting the consumer and giving our clients peace of mind with every transaction,” said Michele Richardson, president of Liberty Title. “We encourage each other; we collaborate, not compete. We use our different skill sets to make sure that problems are solved and contracts honored. Collaboration across departments is essential in ensuring that every transaction is handled professionally, sharing our knowledge and expertise along the way, while fostering a collegial environment that makes our colleagues feel like family.”
During the awards ceremony at ALTA ONE, ALTA Immediate Past President Steven G. Day NTP, president of national agency operations at Fidelity National Title Group, as well as Robert J. Grubb, cofounder of Alliant National Title Insurance Co. and vice-chairman of Presidio ATC Holdco LLC, presented engraved awards to each honoree.
“I am pleased to see the Our Values initiative be embraced by our members,” Day said. “It highlights the professionalism of those in our industry.”
“We Lead, We Deliver and We Protect reflect the universal values of ALTA members,” Grubb said. “These values are at the core of who we are and how we operate every day. The Our Values Awards recognize the most extraordinary efforts in a profession full of extraordinary professionals who work hard to protect the long-term interests of their customers. The awards allow us to recognize those in our industry who raise the bar, inspiring the rest of us to do the same.”