‘You Feel Alright When You Hear the Music Ring’

November 1, 2018

Tapping into her love of music, ALTA President Cynthia Durham Blair NTP quoted from one of her favorite songs, “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits during her induction speech last month at ALTA ONE. In the opening verse, the group sings “you feel alright when you hear the music ring.” Blair encouraged attendees to get involved with the association—to network and learn—and understand all the tool and resources ALTA provides to help its members.

“For so many of us in the room, we feel alright when we’re working to build a stronger industry,” Blair said. “I got involved in ALTA to make a difference and network with the broader industry. I encourage each of you to let ALTA be your music. Let ALTA be your familiar place to meet friends, network with vendors that can change your business and learn about the trends that will affect your bottom line. I want the agents with one or two staff members to know about the talent resources, best practices tools, business improvement education and marketing ideas ALTA can provide to make their lives easier.”

As the fourth female president of ALTA, Blair paid homage to the women who proceeded her, including Cara Detring, Anne Anastasi and Diane Evans. She also saluted current ALTA Board of Governors Mary O’Donnell and Maureen Pfaff, as well as some of her close industry friends, Lisa Steele, Nicole Plath and Shonna Cardello.

“Women are a powerful force in this industry,” Blair said. “I think we’re underserved in many ways and I’m calling on each of you here and at home to step up and get involved in ALTA this year. The friendships you build through ALTA are amazing. The network exists for all of us.”

The metamorphosis of the industry has been tremendous the past few years, but Blair expects more change on the horizon. While market disrupters, misinformed decision makers, industry bad apples and another housing downturn all pose challenges, Blair is excited for the future. She encouraged attendees to “Show up, engage, speak up and tell your story.”

“Getting the masses to understand who we are and what we do is a huge challenge that we have to overcome,” Blair said. “ALTA can help but we must do it ourselves too. There are still many states where we need more representation and participation as an industry.”

Blair then outlined the strategic priorities ALTA’s Board of Governors established for the next year, which focus on helping members:

  • Plan for Change through Innovation and Quality Operations
    • Innovation, Technology and Operational Efficiencies: Put the industry in the best position to solve problems, inspire innovative ideas and improve the real estate transfer process; Be the resource of information and requirements on technological advances, such as digital closing and information security.
    • ALTA Registry: Promote the ALTA Registry as an industry utility to confirm the identity of title insurance agents and real estate attorneys.
    • Talent Focus: Promote the title and real estate settlement profession to prospective employees, attract talent and engage future leaders for your business as well as ALTA membership; Boost workforce skills, knowledge and experience.
    • Best Practices: Improve and promote ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices as the industry compliance management program standard and a critical business consulting tool for lenders seeking consistent, compliant service in the real estate transfer process.
  • Stay Relevant in the Secondary Market
    • Engage with Government Sponsored Enterprises, private market investors and their regulators so they continue to benefit from title insurance to responsibly manage their risk and provide value to their customers
    • Collaborate to improve and innovate the real estate transfer process.
  • Communicate the Benefits of What You Do
    • Provide you with tools to communicate why your customers benefit from title insurance.; Teach consumers about the homebuying process through the Homeowner Outreach Program.; Improve the online presence of the title and settlement industry.
  • Protect Data and Money
    • Educate you about security threats to your businesses in both cyber and physical environments.
    • Collaborate with partners to raise consumer awareness about information security and wire transfer fraud.
    • Promote best practices and public policy to protect your customers' personal funds and information.
  • Harness the Power of Values and Culture
    • We Lead, We Deliver, We Protect: Promote "Our Values" program to strengthen your company values and culture.
    • Serve as the industry's cultural compass, highlight the universal core ideals ALTA members embrace and reflect the professional strength of the title and settlement industry.
    • Assist you in complying with the laws and regulations that govern the industry, educate and communicate with homeowners about the benefits of your products and services and encourage strong, ethical corporate cultures.

“Sometimes our path to this moment involves defying the odds,” Blair said. “Sometimes defiance is looking into the face of adversity and not backing down. For others its being willing to take on the challenges, to face the hard stuff.”

To close her speech, Blair cited another of her favorite songs, “Live Wire” by the rock band AC/DC.

“Be a live wire for our industry this year,” she said. “Light a fire in your market to build stronger relationships and allow your business to thrive.”

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