In Qualia’s Women in Leadership Series, we are speaking with inspiring female leaders who are using their deep industry knowledge and unique leadership styles to fearlessly drive the title & escrow industry forward. To read part I of the series, click here.
It’s a common joke within the industry that people don’t find title & escrow work, it finds them. But what gets someone excited about a career in title & escrow? And why do they typically stay in the field for a lifetime?
Sarah Blackburn, owner and operator of 8 Texas title agencies including Key Title Austin, Key Title San Antonio, Joy Title, Tall City Title, Gateway City Title, Southern Plains Title, Vista Title, and Lighthouse Title, believes that the title & escrow industry offers unlimited potential to promising talent, and especially to young women. We recently connected with Blackburn over the phone to discuss her leadership approach and why she believes women, in particular, should consider a career in title & escrow.
Qualia: What do you believe makes title & escrow work a meaningful career path for women?
Blackburn: I like to tell people that if you have drive, ambition, and you’re willing to make yourself a little uncomfortable, you can have a great career in this industry. Good escrow officers in Texas are worth their weight in gold. Anyone who owns a title company will tell you that if they can find promising talent, they will do anything to keep them. When I meet younger women who are unsure about what they want to do but want a career that’s truly theirs, I tell them to talk to me because this is the industry for them.
Qualia: As a leader, how do you mentor and encourage other females in the industry?
Blackburn: We believe in bringing people up within the company whenever possible. We’ve brought people up from receptionist to escrow officers, and some are now managing their own offices. I really believe in those women. In this industry, you’ll find the hardest working women (and people) you’ll ever meet. Many are working 12-hour days, so I believe you reward them by continuing to promote them, when possible, and build their confidence. Building our team’s confidence and creating leaders from inside the company is a win-win for all of us.
Qualia: What do female leaders in this industry bring to the table that makes them especially successful?
Blackburn: Many women in management and leadership in this industry have worked their way up. They’ve been escrow officers or assistants in the past. I think that makes them good at connecting with people. They’ve been in a frontline position answering client calls and closing transactions. Maybe they’ve even wanted to pull out their hair over a HUD. I think that experience is helpful because it makes them more empathetic leaders.
Qualia: What do you think the industry could do better in terms of attracting strong female talent?
Blackburn: One of the biggest ways to attract younger talent, in general, is with technology. Some of the technology we use in this industry is very outdated and it’s a shame. I would love to see the industry be one where younger people are more excited to join. We can do that through technology. Most in our industry have not placed much value on technology and that’s the number one reason we’ve not been able to retain and attract young people. That’s now beginning to change.