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Dear OCEA Members and Future Members,

Well, we made it through 2020 - maybe a little bit scuffed up, but not broken. I hope this message finds you and yours healthy and safe. Isn’t it something that so many of us were over-the-top busy throughout nearly a year of a worldwide pandemic? COVID-19 is still with us, of course, but we’ve learned quite a lot about it, and it seems like there’s a lot more hope on the horizon for everyone. I’m so honored to have been elected to serve you as OCEA’s 2021 President! I’ve chosen the theme of “Let Go and Grow in 2021,” and will do my best to continue the momentum of providing education and resources for escrow service providers this year!

The first quarter of 2021 is well underway and although OCEA’s meeting environment has changed from in-person to virtual meetings, our goals to promote education to our escrow professionals have not wavered. Your OCEA Board of Directors is planning this year’s series of educational meetings, incorporating up-to-the-minute topics to keep you relevant and informed about what is happening and what changes may be coming this year. By the time you read this, we will have already had our first webinar, featuring a speaker from The Franchise Tax Board, bringing us updates on their 593 form and processes. I hope you were tuned in!

It amazes me to realize it, but there are still those in our industry and affiliated industries who are unaware of the existence of their very own specialized trade organization. If you’re a member, you know the value, and how continuing education and keeping up to date on changing legislation set you apart as a truly knowledgeable escrow professional. Your dedicated Board of Directors is here working hard to make sure that the word is spread, but in addition, we need your help to promote OCEA to your escrow friends and colleagues. We need YOU.

Managers and Escrow Officers, the Orange County Escrow Association would love to help YOU support your Support Staff. Attached is a flyer of our “Pay it forward” promotion. Basically, if you’ll pay $50.00 of their 2021 membership fee, we’ll pick up the other $50.00! Please let us help you bring the CEA advantage to your support staff - you help them, and we’ll reward you!! Hurry and get the most out of this year’s membership opportunities and offerings -- this promotion ends March 31, 2021.

Have you been considering obtaining your Professional Designation? Stop thinking about it and sign up! (Or: Let go, and grow!) Earn those letters behind your name, and show your clients that you take your chosen profession seriously. CEA wants you to succeed! You will be personally supported from start to finish. When you register, you will be assigned a Mentor to help guide you through the process and help you get prepared to pass the exam. The next test will be on April 24, 2021, in Arcadia. The application deadline is March 24, 2021.

Have you discovered or mastered any great new recipes while being on lockdown in 2020? Banana Bread? Beef Bourguignon? Please share! We are looking for your favorite recipes to include in our virtual cookbook, “What’s Cooking OCEA?” Please submit your favorite recipe. This is a fundraising project, and advertising spots are also available. See the attached flyer for submission details. Hurry, we need recipes by March 31st.

In closing, I’m inspired by the words of Helen Keller, who said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” I hope you will support us in our endeavors to have all escrow professionals become active members of CEA, and promote yourself to REALTORS and clients as an educated practitioner in this dynamic profession. If you are not already a member, please join today. To make it even easier, attached is a link to our membership application.

Robin Alvarez, CEO, CSEO
2021 OCEA President

Robin Alvarez

Celebrating 70 Years of Unlocking Education