Limitless Possibilities Podcast, Episode 4: “If You See Her, You Can Be Her” With Acrisure Real Estate Partner Sally Farrar

In this episode, your host, John Pelle, Director of Communications at Acrisure, is joined by Sally Farrar, CEO of Elevated Title, an Acrisure Real Estate Partner. Sally walks us through her journey as an entrepreneur – from law school to title insurance and real estate – as well as the benefits of partnering with Acrisure. Her winning spirit and passion for supporting and uplifting fellow women shine forth throughout her story.

 

Tune in and “dream big” with Sally!

 

Subscribe to the Limitless Possibilities podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Youtube.

 

Further Reading:

Acrisure on LinkedIn
Elevated Title
Her Goal, Your Goal

 

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TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

John Pelle:
We are Acrisure, the thousands of colleagues behind the global FinTech leader we are today. We’re known for winning, trust, and purpose. And through the Limitless Possibilities podcast, you’ll hear from the people behind our unprecedented success and limitless culture. These are the voices of Acrisure.

 

John Pelle:
Welcome to the Limitless Possibilities podcast. I’m your host, John Pelle and joining me as Sally Farrar, CEO of Elevated Title and Acrisure Real Estate partner. Sally, welcome to the program.

 

Sally Farrar:
And thanks, John. I’m so excited to be here.

 

John Pelle:
Very good. Well, I’m going to keep a counter up on the screen the number of times I say title in this episode. So I’m going to read your bio, and we’ll just see how many actually came through. So we were introduced to you Sally, through obviously Acrisure’s foray into real estate services last year. In 2002, you opened your first company, Elevated Title. You’re the founding partner of Elevated Title, Royal Title Farrar and Associates, Elevated Title Agency, Elevated Title of Alabama, Elevated Title of Arkansas, Elevated Title of Texas. So that was probably 10 or so titles. You also recently founded a nonprofit, Her Goal Your Goal, that provides a platform for professional athletes to enable them to focus on their profession and get back to communities. So just, wow, first of all. Like founding one company, at least for me, is an amazing accomplishment, and you founded several. So we could probably just start there. Where’d you get your entrepreneurial backbone?

 

Sally Farrar:
It really ties in with Her Goal, Your Goal as well. When I was a little girl, y’all can’t see me here on the podcast, but I’m only about five feet tall. I’m much larger than I was when I was younger, but very small. And I love sports, and I wanted to play sports. And back then, the opportunity for women wasn’t that great. I’m going to age myself as well, but my father and my mom were so supportive, and they would sign me up for the boys league in tee-ball, and then I got to go into soccer, played on the boys team, because there was no girls team. And then I went into softball, and they would always say the little girl with the big glove. And I was always defined as being little.

 

Sally Farrar:
And I always preach to my kids, to everybody, everything that I learned was either on the court or on a field. And you learn determination. You learn not to quit, especially being a little girl on a boys’ field. I mean, it’s kind of more level before we go through puberty, obviously. But when that started happening, you really had to fight to earn your spot, to earn your success. And so I think I just learned to thrive in those positions. That watch me, you’re small, you’re too little, you’re a girl. And I just kind of had this attitude from the day I was born, well watch me.

 

Sally Farrar:
And so, I thank the universe for that, and I really just believe that your biggest successes come from your failures and the ability to understand your weaknesses, especially on the team in business or in sport, you’re only as strong as your weakest teammate. So unless you lift everybody up and work together, my successes are not individual. It’s overused all the time, there’s no I in team, but it’s so true. So I got that little fighting spirit, I think just wanting to compete. I hated losing more than I liked winning. And that really drives me.

 

John Pelle:
And it sounds like it drove you into entrepreneurialism.

 

Sally Farrar:
It really did. It really did. One of the things was as a woman coming out of law school, I went to law school thinking I was going to change the world. I could change all the isms, the racisms, the sexism, all of the things that I felt were needed to be addressed in society and in our culture. And when I got into law school, I realized a lot of the law has racial or sexism built into the law. And so I’m out golfing one day with a buddy of mine and he’s like, Sal, you can change the world with your pocketbook as well as you can by going out and giving service. And I wanted to do both. And so he said, come and start a title company for me. I’m like, what is a title company? I’m just going full force into the law and how am I going to help everybody?

 

Sally Farrar:
And I’m doing a little bit of divorce. So I had an internship. I was very blessed to have an internship with a Supreme Court justice in Georgia, very honored to have that. I worked for Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore in Atlanta. I was only the first white intern on her staff. I believe so much that in order to understand people and understand you have to understand people’s background. So I’m in law school thinking I’m going to change the world, and I’m golfing this day. And Randy says, let’s start a title company. I’m like, what is that? And what I found out it was is when you close loans and you have the ability, most people don’t even know even today when you close a loan.

 

John Pelle:
That was actually my next question was going to be, what’s the inner workings of a title agency or at least the many you’ve owned?

 

Sally Farrar:
Absolutely, it’s so true. So when people go apply for a loan, which you can do online and you can get your loan online. Then you have to what we call close that loan, basically, you sign all the documents. So we’re a fiduciary, and we take care intermediary for the bank and that borrower. So we make sure that the funds from that transaction will be distributed properly. And we’re an uninterested third party, correct? We work for the lender in that position. But when someone goes out to buy a house and they’re signing that paper, they think they’re signing the paper for the lender, for the bank. They have no clue most of the time that it’s a title company that’s stepping in and finishing that transaction. And so for me when I started doing that fast forward in 2002, I had the distinct privilege of working with lenders that worked with veterans and VA. And I’m in law school in Atlanta, and you come out and you have these fine law schools and fine law offices because in Georgia, all the title companies are attorneys.

 

Sally Farrar:
The transactions take place in an attorney’s office, not a title office. So it depends on where you are in the country. If you’re an escrow officer, and we won’t get into all of that, or if you’re an attorney at the end of the day, we’re all signing papers so that this transaction of buying your house can be completed. And so I’m sitting in these law offices with all these law books behind me and these fancy suits. And I’m seeing these incredible individuals come into my office. Oftentimes they’ve been coming from the base that they’re in their uniforms, and they have their kids because they couldn’t drop them off or had to pick them up. And I thought to myself, they’re uncomfortable here. And I saw one time, there was a mechanic from the Air Force Base, and he had a little bit of oil under his fingernails.

 

Sally Farrar:
And I could see that he kept kind of hiding his hands and I never said anything to him, but that just stuck with me. I didn’t want someone to feel uncomfortable. I didn’t want them while they’re getting something, which will probably be the largest purchase of their life. They’re so excited, then to be at the very end of this process and sign your papers and feel embarrassed or uncomfortable in my office. So I said, and I like to joke that I’d beat quicken to the punch which I actually did. I started going to their houses. And a lot of my law partners and friends were like, what are you doing? You’re an attorney, and you’re driving to their house. I’m like, look, these people go overseas. These people work all day. They don’t have care for their kids, takes an hour to get here with the Georgia traffic, an hour to get home.

 

Sally Farrar:
The least I can do for the service that they’ve given us, I’m going to drive to their house. So in 2002, I started driving to people’s houses. I made the best friends, got fed the best food and cookies. And I mean, I can’t tell you how wonderful that was. And so I really, really enjoyed being able to do something small for someone that’s given such a great service back to me. Nowadays, of course, you have notaries and we’re getting to RON which is remote online notarization, which I’m super excited about. I’ve been pushing for that for years in the industry so that people don’t have to be inconvenienced when they’re buying a home. Heck, if you can get your loan online, you should be able to close it online.

 

John Pelle:
So we’ve covered the role of technology and Acrisure’s business through insurance and other FinTech products we offer. Specifically in your line of work, Sally, now that you’re part of Acrisure, what is the tone and tenor around technology in your business? What are you hearing from customers about what they are coming to expect from your team these days?

 

Sally Farrar:
Really one of the main reasons that I wanted to come aboard Acrisure, I have been pushing for remote online notarization. So often when you see someone that’s finished buying their house, you’ll see a picture on social media with that customer standing there with a fruit basket or standing there with a key saying new home, and I just closed my house or fruit basket. For me, I want to be able to see a person sitting in their home or at the soccer field or at the baseball, football field saying I just closed my loan and bought a house, and it didn’t inconvenience me at all. So we are hearing it. It’s being pushed, but there’s a lot of pushback in title.

 

Sally Farrar:
I often say title’s still stuck in the eighties. So I feel like with Acrisure’s partnership that they can bring us into the next century. Lending has been brought there. We know that lending, you can get online. Title hasn’t. We’re still mostly brick and mortar. You have to go to the office to close. Every time I get one of the tech guys’ ears at any gathering with Acrisure. I’m like, hey, let’s talk about the online closings. I love it. I feel it’s where the future not only needs to go. It’s where we should go.

 

John Pelle:
What trends are you seeing, Sally? Like from a customer standpoint, folks buying homes, residential home buyers. What trends do you see from them? Because one of the things we always talk about here is the customer need goes beyond our core insurance offering. Do you see that from a customer standpoint when you’re meeting with these folks who are buying homes? Like what do you think their appetite or proclivity to buy more products from Acrisure as a single source? Do you feel like that’s a compelling offer from a customer standpoint?

 

Sally Farrar:
100%. If you feel comfortable with one service, you’re going to feel comfortable with another. It’s such a natural progression for the real estate division in Acrisure, to be able to provide loans, to be able real estate services and title. Because again, a lot of the consumer doesn’t differentiate between a lot of that. Certainly, they know what a realtor is. They certainly know what a lender is, but most people don’t know what a title insurance agent is. When you put that into one compartment and you see a lot of these competitors, a lot of our competitors and most successful in the industry, have partnered with real estate, have partnered with lenders. In fact, the last couple years was the first time in the history of the United States of America, that people were buying homes from a non-financial institute, meaning from a bank. So we now have lenders in this country that are not bank institutions that are lending more to consumers than in any time in history.

 

Sally Farrar:
And so we know that’s where the trend is. We know that people feel comfortable with one product. I am all for that. I really believe that if we have an Acrisure title company, then the Acrisure insurance would make perfect sense for the homeowner for whether it goes into life insurance, whether we go into home insurance, whether we go into car insurance, with medical insurance. Those offerings, to be able for a consumer one, it’s convenient, it’s a one stop shop. And two, you’re comfortable because you know the name, and you know the service that you’re going to get provided in all areas for that consumer.

 

Sally Farrar:
The real estate division in Acrisure is absolutely fabulous and makes perfect sense to partner with the insurance division of Acrisure. I’m super excited about that. Again, another reason, I was never going to sell. I mean, this was my baby. That was like me handing off my two kids on my wedding day. I was not going to do that. But what you do is, just like in business with your children, you teach them. You do the best that you can to build them up, and then you hand them off. And then you hope you’ve handed off something wonderful. So I hope my son-in-law and daughter-in-law feel that way. And I hope it feels that way about Elevated Title and the other entities. It is a natural progression for Elevated Title to partner with an Acrisure insurance agent 100%.

 

John Pelle:
So Sally, just on the subject of Acrisure, we’ve talked about real estate services being one of our newer verticals, several, I think it’s about 2000 or so colleagues joining us in that capacity. So speak to them for a moment. If you are a colleague in real estate services, new to Acrisure, going from title to FinTech, what is your advice for one, understanding what this business is and secondly, how could you engage and stay connected and really make the most out of this new partnership?

 

Sally Farrar:
That’s a great question, John. And the reason I love it so much, it’s so often that we in business and in sport always focus on the fact that we’re adversaries. We’re competing against one another. And what I’ve learned along the way, especially in business, I mean certainly in sport, I’m going to always want to beat you when I’m on the field or in the course or wherever it might be, but in title there’s enough of the pie for everyone to get a piece. So that while we’re eating that pie, we can enjoy it. And what I mean by that, we have the unique opportunity with Acrisure real estate to certainly rely on one another, to work together, to try to make this industry better, to make us better, to reach out to one another and work across the companies. What are you doing that’s good? Hey, what are you doing?

 

Sally Farrar:
What do you think about this? Or have you done some remote online closings? And we can share thoughts, ideas, and then it goes even further. We can reach across the lines to the Acrisure insurance companies. We have to issue policies on every purchase that we do in title. And so we have the ability to say, we’ve got these incredible partners that offer exactly what you might need. So I think working together and looking at us as an organization as a whole, and while we might compete day to day trying to get their business, at the end of the day we’re colleagues. And we will all make each other better by lifting each other up and working together.

 

John Pelle:
I want to go back to Her Goal Your Goal. Tell us a little bit about that. How it started, what it’s meant to do, how we could follow the progress and updates there.

 

Sally Farrar:
Absolutely. I am madly passionate about women’s sports. I coach. I’ve been coaching for years. I’ve participated in sports my entire life. I’ve always sponsored girls basketball, AAU, all players that needed help paying the fees. It’s expensive, super expensive. If you’re talented as a young girl to play on a soccer club, to play on an AAU club, to play softball, it’s really tough. I mean, those fees can be $1000 to $3000, not including your travel. So we’ve always from before I even had Elevated Title, I’ve always sponsored young women.

 

Sally Farrar:
And I like to tell you that I believe that when you give girls opportunities, so her goal, make it your goal. How do we make her goal, your goal? So the whole concept behind this is if you give a young girl the opportunity to learn teamwork, to learn discipline, to learn failures, to learn successes that you plant a seed. Then all of a sudden, boom, tempo comes around. Then Acrisure comes around, which I’m so thrilled about. And then now with Lee, I feel like there’s a great opportunity for us with Acrisure to really make an impact with women and minorities as well. So I’m psyched.

 

John Pelle:
I want to read a quote from you. I’m going to quote you right now for Women’s History month, Acrisure profiled you among many other just extraordinary women across the company, doing extraordinary things each day with customers, colleagues, technology, really, really all over. And your quote, really resonated with a lot of people. And you said, “It’s so important for young girls to see women in positions of power or influence. If you see her, you can be her.” So for folks listening out there, what would your advice be for people who want to take up the mantle and really do what you’ve done in your life.

 

Sally Farrar:
So volunteering. If you volunteer, you coach that you go out, the girls will start engaging with you and ask you, what do you do, Miss Sally? What is your career? And that’s when I can talk to them about being a lawyer. That’s when I can talk to them about being a business owner. That’s when I can talk to them about being a doctor. So engaging, putting yourself in a position to engage with young girls so that they can see you and look up to you. That you can be a mentor, and you can be someone that can be with them and follow them and advise them their entire career.

 

John Pelle:
Sally, we got to know you as a serial entrepreneur, a rabid women’s sports fan, somebody who is very passionate about really everything that it sounds like you do, there’s a ton of passion behind. So I’m really personally excited to see where you take this question. What does limitless possibilities mean to you?

 

Sally Farrar:
You can change the world. Dream big in business, in life, in sport, in whatever that you do, you can make a difference.

 

John Pelle:
Awesome. Well, that’s Sally Farrar, CEO of Elevated Title and Acrisure Real Estate Services partner. Sally, we’ll make sure that all of your links, especially the link to Her Goal Your Goal appears on this page. Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy day, to share your stories and to continue to help bridge the gap between all the Acrisure colleagues out there. Thank you so much.

 

Sally Farrar:
Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be part of Acrisure. It’s a great company.

 

John Pelle:
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Limitless Possibilities podcast. Follow Acrisure on social media and subscribe to the podcast to stay tuned for new episodes. We want to hear from you. So send us ideas, questions, and suggestions for future episodes to [email protected]

 


 

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