Robin Amorin, MAI
Option: Traditional Demo
Which option did you choose (Traditional Demo, E-demo, Defense of Reports, Capstone Program) and why?
I chose the Traditional Demo option; the other choices listed were not available at the time. Other options like the research report, three report alternative option, etc. were available, but I felt the Traditional Demo was something I could accomplish and hopefully learn from.
How did the Appraisal Institute help you on your journey to designated membership?
My original chapter, South Carolina, is a pretty close knit group of professionals that always encouraged me by asking where I was in the process, what my next step was and offering advice if I needed it. I am not sure how long the AI Status Report for an Associate has been around, but I can say that I got 200% use out of it. I probably looked at my status report every week or so in the last couple of years before I was designated (like looking at it would change anything!). I am an organized person, and it gave me motivation to accomplish goals, so having a list of everything I needed to accomplish and quick access to details of the tasks was great. I also have to say I received prompt, complete and helpful information from Carrie Vann at any given time when I would email or call her about the process.
What was the biggest obstacle you faced during the process and how did you overcome it?
So, I have a concrete and abstract answer for this question. Truthfully, the biggest obstacle was ME. I did like most people – took a couple of classes, started working all the time and put the designation on the back burner. Not until I got involved with my chapter, did I see that I was just like all the other appraisers in the room, and I was smart enough to become designated. So, I laid out a plan to take my four remaining classes in about 12 months, did that, and then moved on to the comprehensive exam. This is where the “concrete” answer is: the comprehensive exam was the hardest portion of the process for me to overcome because I am not that great of a test taker and I would mentally get so “worked up” that it would end up being disastrous (at least in my own little reality). Unfortunately, I had to take a section more than once, which believe me, was not all that fun, but it became even more of a challenge.
What surprised you the most about the membership process?
I am not sure that there were any real surprises for me through the process because all of the information I needed to understand what to do to finish was right at my fingertips at all times. I guess I was surprised at how much I learned about appraising, and myself, through the designation process.
What is the biggest benefit of becoming designated?
The biggest benefit of becoming designated is knowing you are a part of an elite group of professionals that strive to do the best work and are always working to be better at their profession. This benefit translated to professional confidence for me over the past several years that now I believe I always had, but didn’t truly know it until I had those three letters behind my name.
What advice do you have for Associate members working towards designated membership?
My advice for Associate members is to set short and long-term goals so that you keep the prize (those letters) in view. Our industry/profession is a deadline-oriented process, so looking at your designation like an appraisal assignment and how you prepare and accomplish that assignment should be no different than earning your designation.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different, knowing what you know now?
If I had to do it all over again, I would not have stopped taking classes early in my career to work. My career is now so much more fulfilling because of the process that I went through because of the education, networking with other appraisers and experience I’ve gained through volunteering with AI.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
The amount of encouragement and support that I received from my chapter, South Carolina, during the process and near my completion of the process was priceless. I have since moved to Austin, TX and dearly miss seeing all of my friends at each of the four meetings that we had during the year. Even though we were all competition for each other (South Carolina is a pretty small state, and I think at the time I was designated, March 2009, I was the 150th or 151st Designated member for the entire state), I routinely got calls and emails asking how I was doing and if I finished writing my demo yet. One of my very good friends would email asking, “How much does it cost to mail a demo to Chicago?” and that was the entire email. So, the day I received my certificate at our meeting, I was asked that question in front of the entire chapter, and I proudly said “$5.56.”