Title Industry's Future Is Bright

September 6, 2018

As you may already know through the Advocacy Update or word of mouth, today is my last day as CEO of ALTA. I will be taking over as president and CEO of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) later this month.

Shortly after the announcement, ALTA’s Board of Governors put a plan in place to find your next CEO. In addition to beginning the CEO search process, your Board also formulated the association’s strategic priorities for 2019. From the results of the Board’s discussion, I am confident that the future for ALTA and the title and settlement industry is bright. In the meantime, ALTA's chief operating officer, Cornelia Horner, will serve as interim CEO.

The decision to move to another association was one I did not make lightly. I believe the move will broaden my perspectives and experiences as an association executive as I continue to grow professionally. As tough as change can be, the timing is right.

The association has never been stronger. Not only has ALTA enjoyed record membership for the ninth consecutive year, engagement among the members is robust and enthusiastic. Your ALTA team is bright, focused and connected to you. Importantly, the ALTA Board is cohesive and collaborative, but not afraid to challenge one another.

I talk often about the innovation and ongoing changes the title insurance and settlement industry faces. Technology and an evolving consumer market are influencing every economic sector, not just ours. I am confident the members of this industry will create their own future and continue to deliver peace of mind to consumers. You provide important services to consumers and your communities as delineated by Our Values.

ALTA’s Our Values program is the cornerstone of what this industry stands for. The people in this industry lead. You help lenders, real estate agents and consumers solve problems. You deliver quality service and quality title insurance by doing things the right way, even if it’s the hard way. All of this protects the consumers, the lenders, and your community.

I am proud to have been a part of this industry and so thankful to each of you who have become my friends.

As many of you know, my husband, John, and I both love history—our three daughters share this love as well. We were fortunate to recently see Hamilton: An American Musical. It was fantastic. The music was fun. The jokes were clever. The story of Mr. Hamilton was poignant. John and I both came away affirmed in our belief that George Washington was the indispensable man. The Revolution happened because so many had the vision for a nation founded in freedom and liberty. It was George Washington who kept the faith and rallied the new nation.

As I transition out of my position at ALTA, the musical reminded me I should read George Washington's farewell address for inspiration. Two things that General Washington said struck a chord with me. First, he made it clear that not running for re-election as president did not mean that he was no longer a patriot. That is very much true for me. My affection for the American Land Title Association, its members and its staff, remains deep and unwavering.

Second, General Washington often expressed his gratitude for the affection he received from his fellow citizens. I, too, am so grateful for the support, affection, and appreciation that you have shown me. I have always thought of myself as a steward of this association. It has been my responsibility to leave the association stronger than when I arrived. It has also been my responsibility to ensure that the association is prepared to help its members meet the future head on. Together, we have faced the challenges of the day successfully and prepared ourselves to handle whatever happens the next month, the next year, and even the next decade.

Let me leave you with this thought from Washington's farewell address of 1796:

I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

In the same way that an abstract is layers of work by generations of professionals, so too is the work of ALTA. The quality of your work today has an impact on the work done by the generations who follow. The American Land Title Association will continue to lead, deliver and protect its members in exceptional ways. The future is bright.

Michelle L. Korsmo served as ALTA’s chief executive officer for seven years. We wish her continued success. Replies to this article may be sent to communications@alta.org.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.