When Amye von Seebach, President of CanopyTitle, went back to law school at age 38, she had no idea she’d fall in love with real estate closings. But that’s what happened, and now, she’s shaking up the title industry here in Alabama and beyond. Keep reading to find out how.
Meet Amye von Seebach, Esq., President, CanopyTitle
When she graduated from college, Amye von Seebach stayed home to raise her seven children—yes, you read that right. Though she loves her career, she looks at her work as a mother as the most important thing she’s ever done.
Amye von Seebach and her wife Laura Kimes live in Avondale, “right in the middle of all the fun stuff that our adult children love.”
Outside of work, she and her family love riding bikes and spending time at the beach.
A firm believer that it’s never too late, Amye went to law school at age 38 and graduated second in her class. After a couple of gigs in the legal world, she got an offer to do travel closings for a credit union. She’d drive to one of their offices, close 3-4 refinances, then go back into the office.
Though she figured this would be a stop-gap position, von Seebach ended up falling in love with it.
“Real Estate Attorneys are the only attorneys that people want to go see—with a few exceptions, closings are almost always a really fun and joyful day.”
In that job, she had the opportunity to work with a man named Jim Harris, who had been in the business for about 45 years. He knew—and taught her—everything about the business.
That said, attorneys treated him differently because he wasn’t an attorney, so he would pull her in on the cases involving one.
“That’s what got me pulled into the title side of the business. He was a very good teacher and never once made me feel like I didn’t have something to contribute. He was a really great man.”
Since she got into the title industry, she’s been shaking it up in three key ways:
1. 1st virtual closing in the state of Alabama
Never one for business as usual, von Seebach pushed for virtual closings to be allowed in the state of Alabama during the early days of the pandemic.
More accurately, Mike Galloway, the company’s closing department manager and his staff made a heroic effort to make the first virtual closing happen. Amye pushed hard for it, but wants to make sure the credit goes to her team.
Aware that you could buy a $3M airplane virtually, they wanted to be able to provide a safe and easy opportunity for the team of closers, real estate agents and consumers to do real estate closings.
When Governor Ivey issued the state of emergency declaration, it included the ability for a notary to work via videoconferencing. Before that day, notaries had to be in the physical presence of a person before they could witness a signature.
That change was issued on a Friday—three days later, on March 31, 2020, the closing team was ready to go and the lender said they’d accept the virtually-notarized documents. Davis Underwood, one of TitleSouth (former name of CanopyTitle)’s young attorneys, did the first virtual closing three days after it was legally permissible in Alabama.
2. Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the National Level
The American Land Title Association is the national governing body for people in the title industry. Like most national governing bodies, they have various committees focused on areas like education and leadership.
Until recently, though, they haven’t had a single Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council. That was the brainchild of von Seebach’s Chicago-based LatinX colleague, Mike Montalvo, who proposed such a group to “centralize and review the work the other committees are doing to make sure we’re spending time and money on things that are actually going to make a difference.”
Montalvo invited von Seebach to be a part of the first-ever ALTA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council. In April, she was officially appointed by Diane Tomb, the current leader of the association.
For a start, they’ll be encouraging people on the council to make sure the organizations they work for are looking at policies on choosing federal holidays—asking how these choices help people feel included and safe and that what matters is important to them.
“Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes can strengthen us as a company by broadening our perspective and including more people in what we do.”—Amye von Seebach
3. Bringing it home: promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the local level
Amye will also be looking for ways to bring Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to the Southeastern Land Title Association and to CanopyTitle.
She’s particularly interested in knowing who from a diverse background is in leadership because of the committee’s efforts.
In her role as President of CanopyTitle, she’s aware she was given opportunities she wasn’t fully prepared for, and wants to open the doors to this kind of opportunity to others, like Evita McClinton.
Because of Evita’s work background, she is great at the nuts and bolts of the job. But her personal background allows her to empathize with a diverse group of people and help them feel safe and supported in an industry with a history of failing to treat everyone equally.
A real estate agent can confidently bring buyers from diverse backgrounds to a closing with Evita and she will provide a professional and joyful closing experience. That is the future of the title industry. More perspectives and more inclusion.
Hear more of Amye von Seebach’s vision for the title industry in an upcoming podcast with Teresa Palacios Smith, the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Check out the live episode Wednesday, June 29 at noon Central time on Facebook or catch it later on YouTube.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes: attend a Pride event | get to know your neighbor who is from a different background than you | volunteer at a homeless shelter… and if you’re looking for a closing attorney, check out CanopyTitle today.