Alliant National’s Rae Jeanne Steele discusses the values that have defined her career.
Rae Jeanne Steele is no title industry newbie. Having built a successful career spanning several decades, she has a vivid perspective on how the field has changed over time. Yet Steele’s story also speaks to the age-old saying: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” While technology, processes and workflows have shifted from year-to-year, Steele’s commitment to persistence, relationship-building and service have remained just as relevant as ever. These values are front and center in her work today at Alliant National.
Steele’s first exposure to the industry was in the 1980s when she started helping at her mother’s Texas-based real estate agency. Back then, the industry barely resembled what it is today. As Steele explains, “I can remember when we had an MLS book that was printed once a month. Nothing could be updated digitally the way it is now, and so, by the time you wanted to show a property, it might already be unavailable. Then there was the actual process of getting into a home, where you would have to call individual brokerage offices to schedule a showing and pick up the keys.” Over time, of course, technology started to change the industry. According to Steele, today “AI, mobile apps, smart home technology and digital lock boxes are all being used to streamline operations.”
Even amid such profound technological transformation, Steele’s approach to her work has remained remarkably consistent year-after-year. Many of her professional values originated from the period when she returned to working at her mother’s real estate agency in the mid-1990s, this time as a fully licensed agent. “My mom taught her realtors to have persistence when going after a goal,” said Steele. But that wasn’t all she learned back then. She also saw how much importance her mom placed on relationship building: “Following up. Building relationships. Keeping up with relationships. These are things I learned at a very young age from her.”
Other values that have grounded her over the years include having a spirit of service, and not just in her professional life. A long-time volunteer at her church, Steele and her family have frequently been involved in charity work, including scheduling, coordinating, cooking, and serving meals for hundreds of people as just one example.
Keeping these values close has served Steele well as she progressed in her career and eventually found her way to Alliant National in 2021. Persistence has been key, for instance, in her taking an active, intentional approach to expanding her industry knowledge and dealing with difficult professional moments. Instead of merely hoping to “live and learn,” for instance, she has chosen to rely on “education instead of merely experience to overcome challenges.” Her people skills have also been highly useful, particularly in achieving consensus around challenging topics with diverse parties: “I think one of the most surprising aspects of my job is the amount of time I spend explaining regulatory differences between real estate brokerages and title companies. There is a huge need to bridge that gap.”
As for the spirit of service that has long animated Steele’s life? Well, that is not just a feature of Alliant National but baked into its very foundation. “Alliant National is building a company where every agent can find a home,” she explained. She then noted how this requires serving agents’ needs by focusing on tangible business value. Steele dubs this approach as delivering “serious service based on sells” – that is, service that revolves around helping agencies gain advantage in real dollars and cents.
One way that Alliant National accomplishes this is through delivering topical educational resources through Alliant National Academy. Policy issuing agents of Alliant National have access to a growing catalogue of classes that focus not just on title insurance but also hot topics like leveraging AI for business gain. In addition, there are courses on how agents can nurture relationships with key stakeholders such as Realtors for mutual benefit. For Steele, offering these resources is not merely a competitive differentiator in the marketplace. It aligns perfectly with Alliant National’s overarching mission to empower agents, protect property owners and inspire innovation throughout the industry.
Our industry is always in flux, yet it’s timeless values like persistence and a commitment to service that provide our solid foundation. These are the principles that professionals like Rae Jeanne Steele bring to the forefront, equipping you with the unwavering support necessary to deliver the exceptional service your clients expect.
In a varied career split between law enforcement, real estate and title insurance, Tia Hall has been driven by a desire to provide support to her community.
For nearly 25 years, Tia Hall has remained steadfastly committed to her community. From her early career in criminal justice to her current responsibilities at Alliant National, she has long been motivated by helping others. Well-versed in making departments and organizations operate more effectively, Hall’s work at Alliant National is invaluable to its Southeast operations.
Hall’s career path wasn’t a straight line, but rather a winding journey that brought together seemingly disparate fields in a harmonious blend. For well over a decade, Hall served as a criminal justice specialist for Cobb County in Georgia. However, one of Hall’s main responsibilities during these years would prove advantageous to her later career. Hall’s focus in criminal justice often revolved around community outreach and enabling officers to engage more productively with vulnerable populations. “Working within law enforcement is very strenuous work,” Hall said, reflecting on why such work is critical. “You are dealing with a lot of people from different walks of life.”
As fate would have it, Hall would come to interact with a group of people immersed in real estate. “I often interacted with lawyers and others in real estate,” she stated, “especially when I was working on real estate code enforcement.”
While she was forming these connections, Hall was taking other steps that would eventually pave the way toward her joining the title insurance industry. Building from a foundation in criminal justice and psychology, Hall began studying real estate and became a notary public , working as a loan signing and closing agent. Throughout all these professional moves, Hall’s motivation remained the same: “I wanted more community connections.”
In 2022, Hall made the leap into the career she has today, joining the Alliant National team as the Southeast Support Administrator. At Alliant National, Hall works with every department – from HR to continuing education to accounting – to ensure that agents are empowered to execute on behalf of their clients. Calling upon her long history of driving growth, as well as diverse skill sets in administration, resource management, data protection, team building and more, she acts as a one-stop shop for agents and employees throughout the Southeast.
One important aspect of Hall’s day-to-day work is protecting the large quantities of personal information that are part and parcel with the title insurance profession. This is another area where she is well-served by her previous experiences in law enforcement. When working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), for instance, Hall developed an acute appreciation for data protection. “There is a huge paper trail in this work,” she said, emphasizing that the failure to protect such data could quite literally ruin lives.
Now settled into her new career, Hall had several things to say when asked to sum up her experience, as well as the connection between her current responsibilities and yesterday’s roles. For her, helping the community is at the heart of both professions: “I love people. I love communicating. And I love to be a help for those in need.”
However, it’s in title insurance that Hall has found an ideal platform to pursue this passion, even more so than in law enforcement. “This industry is more close-knit,” she said, before noting how new employees can benefit from leveraging the field’s strong sense of community. When asked about what younger or less experienced workers should know, she remarked, “Employees need a strong foundation, as well as support to not get lost.”
For Hall, that communal support was what helped her as she made her initial foray into the business. It is also what continues to fuel her today as she works to deliver results for Alliant National’s agents. “At Alliant National, it is always easy to reach out if you need something. We’re always there for each other.”
With community-minded employees like Tia Hall amongst its ranks, Alliant National’s agents can rest assured that someone will always be there for them too.
In the fiercely competitive realm of title insurance, where underwriters often prioritize their own interests, one exceptional individual stands out for her unwavering dedication to putting Agents First: Donna Slomins, SVP, Senior Agency Manager at Alliant National. With more than four decades of experience and an unparalleled commitment to serving agents, Donna has played a pivotal role in building Alliant National’s Florida operations from the ground up. Her remarkable contributions have left an indelible mark on both the company and the agents she serves.
Donna’s remarkable journey in the title insurance field began long before joining Alliant National. With previous experience working for large underwriters, she was determined to find an organization that genuinely prioritized the well-being of its agents. Thirteen years ago, Donna’s quest led her to Alliant National, where she saw a rare chance to live her passion. As Donna simply puts it: “I chose to work for Alliant National because they allowed me to do what’s in the best interest of our agents.”
Donna’s unwavering dedication to the success of agents has been the driving force behind the company’s remarkable success in the Florida market. However, establishing trust among agents who had never heard of the company was no easy feat during Alliant National’s early days in the state.
“All my agents trusted me enough to sign with Alliant when we were just getting started and no one knew who Alliant was,” Donna remembers. “I was able to overcome the challenge and I succeeded growing the business in Florida based on their trust and loyalty.”
Debra Coffie, Florida Region Manager, was also among those tasked with building Alliant National’s Florida operations in the early days, and she remembers Donna’s contributions.
“Donna Slomins’ dedication to putting Agents First is truly exceptional. She was the first Agency Manager in Florida, covering the whole state in the beginning, and was part of the driving force behind our success in growing the Florida Region,” Debra says. “Donna has built deep trust and loyalty among our agents. Her personal connections with agents, her tireless efforts, and her ability to relate well to their challenges make her an invaluable asset to Alliant National.”
Today, Donna’s commitment to putting Agents First still requires a level of personal dedication that goes beyond the ordinary.
“Every day I strive to solve difficult problems and make life easier for our agents. Without them we have nothing,” Donna says, adding that she forges deep connections with her agents, spending time with them outside the office and connecting on multiple levels. To Donna, her agents are not just clients; they are friends and extended family. She understands their challenges and is driven to find solutions that make their jobs easier.
“I have worked or managed almost every aspect of our business, so I can relate well to my agents and their challenges,” Donna noted. “I work tirelessly to make them a priority, no matter the need.”
In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, agents encounter many challenges, particularly in navigating complex technologies. Debra notes that Donna sees each challenge as an opportunity.
“Donna leads by example and embraces challenges as opportunities for improvement, making a positive impact in the lives of her agents. She is a fierce advocate for the agent and partners with them to find a solution for each challenge.”
Donna’s deep experience and exceptional instincts have helped Alliant National in other ways. She shares a powerful moment when her intuition guided her to uncover and prevent a major defalcation.
“Something was keeping me up at night even when everything looked good on paper, I put everything on the line and would not give up,” Donna said. “In the end my gut was right.”
Donna’s achievements at Alliant National have been instrumental in driving the company’s success in Florida and beyond. However, it is the profound impact she has on the lives of her agents that truly fuels Donna’s passion for her job.
“Every day is an opportunity to be better and to make my agents better.” Donna affirms. “Whatever the challenge is, I am up for it and will give it my all.”
Donna Slomins is the epitome of an Agents First advocate, leading by example and making a positive impact in the lives of her agents. Her dedication, intuition, and unwavering commitment have propelled Alliant National to new heights, while ensuring that agents receive the support and care they deserve. Donna’s personal journey and extraordinary contributions serve as an inspiration to all who strive to prioritize the needs of agents above all else.
For over two years, Russell Gonzales has served as Assistant Vice President and Southwest Agency Representative for Alliant National Title Insurance Company. Although the role encompasses many responsibilities, Gonzales’ main priority has been signing policy-issuing agents for Alliant National and helping them grow their businesses. It is a demanding position, requiring expertise in agent examination, escrow, marketing and policy reconciliation. But thankfully, this is hardly Gonzales’ first rodeo.
In fact, Gonzales’ time in the title insurance field began long before 2020. He got his start back in high school when he enrolled in a cooperative education program during his junior year. The title company he worked for during this program eventually hired him as a full-time employee. The rest, as they say, is history.
Having spent his professional life in title insurance has afforded Russell a unique perspective on industry trends. Unsurprisingly, the technology associated with the field has advanced considerably, with Gonzales noting that new technology solutions have “changed the way we do business for the better.” However, Gonzales emphasized that certain qualities that make a successful agent or agency have largely remained the same and are just as important as ever: “The biggest trends I have noticed are all related to service,” he said. “Customer service and hard work really continue to pay off,” he said. He added that successful industry people always “remember to have a servant’s heart.”
Service and hard work are qualities that Gonzales is pleased to see reflected in Alliant National. The company is “positively different,” he said, discussing how the firm stacks up against its competitors. “Everyone at Alliant National knows that home ownership is one of the biggest investments someone can make.” Because of that understanding, everyone is “truly eager to help. Whether you are internal or external to the company, you will always be treated like family.”
Being able to deliver this level of personalized service to families pursuing the dream of home ownership is a benefit for Gonzales, whose own family is his greatest joy. “Outside of work, I really enjoy spending time with my family,” he said. “Having a 26-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter allows my wife Grace and I to focus on ourselves. Together we enjoy working out with our personal trainer, watching great movies and shows and building our relationship with God.” For nearly 30 years, Gonzales’ family, industry expertise and service-oriented mindset have allowed him to build an enviable career. His work in the title insurance field has benefited companies, individuals and the industry as a whole. As one of the leaders of Alliant National’s Southwest operations, he has found the perfect home to continue applying his passion for the industry and helping the company solidify its position as the premier independent underwriter for the independent agent.
From the gym to the title agency, Micah Owen maintains her rock-solid commitment to improvement and excellence.
Micah Owen has always loved being physically active while striving for excellence through hard work and dedication. Growing up, she was highly active in sports, becoming particularly passionate about strength training while playing on her high school basketball team.
Once she entered college, Micah became even more serious about sports and exercise, immersing herself in resistance training, anatomy and physiology. She eventually gained her degree in exercise science before moving into a career as a personal trainer. These educational and professional experiences have continued to define her working life to the present day.
“I have always enjoyed spending quality time getting to know someone and then figuring out what I can do to help them better themselves,” Micah said when reflecting on the experience. “That’s what my time as a personal trainer consisted of, and that is the strategy I still use every day as an agency manager.”
Since entering the title insurance field, Micah has found ample opportunities to continue helping people become their best selves. As Alliant National’s South Carolina Agency Manager, she frequently makes decisions that deliver tangible benefits to both Alliant National and its policy-issuing agents. She is most proud of how she has helped Alliant National deliver greater business value to agents, including the time she produced more than 500 critical title documents from scratch and made them available for client use.
For Micah, successfully occupying a role like hers entails finding joy in being customer focused.
“To me, it means that whether I am in their office or behind my computer, agents are my top priority. I prioritize every one of them to the best of my ability. It also means constantly communicating with the Alliant National home office to streamline processes that may be hindering our agents.”
Even while improving the experience of the independent agents Alliant National serves, Micah continues to find time to cultivate her own physical, emotional and mental wellness. “The scientific effect that movement can have on your emotions, health and wellbeing is truly incredible,” she said. With such a holistic view of wellness, it is no wonder Micah can continually strive for excellence and improvement – both in herself and others. It comes as no surprise that she has found a home at Alliant National, where our commitment, like Micah’s, remains steadfastly focused on putting agents first.