Contributed photo
Lori Ronhaar

Contributed photo Lori Ronhaar

QA with Lori Ronhaar of Chicago Title

  • Thu Nov 4th, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Lori Ronhaar works in an industry that, traditionally, has been largely male-dominated. In her three-plus decades in the title and escrow business, she has witnessed lots of changes.

For our Women in Business section, the Journal asked a few questions about her experiences and what words she might have for women considering a career.

Q. How long have you been with Chicago Title? Have you always been in the Friday Harbor office?

A. I started with Island Title (now Chicago Title) in Oak Harbor in 1977. I have had a couple of other jobs during that time but moved with my husband and four sons to Friday Harbor in 2004 to take the county manager position.

Q. It appears you have an all-women staff? Is that unusual for your line of work?

A. This county office does have an all-women staff. Even the title officer that does our searches remotely, is a woman. I took over the manager position from a gentleman that had been here for over 30 years.

Q. What have been your biggest challenges in business?

A. Finding great employees. The title and escrow business is not one that is taught in school, so it must be learned after starting work here or transferring from another office. Sometimes it “clicks” for the new employee, and sometimes it does not.

Q. Have you seen many changes within the industry as it relates to women in leadership positions?

A. Yes. In the 1980s men were paid more than women for doing the same job. That is not the case anymore.

Q. What do you value the most about the working relationship you have with your employees?

A. The laughter and the loyalty! We soon become like family.

Q. I suspect there’s a lot of stress during these high-volume real estate days! How do you manage that stress?

A. Trying to start the day with laughter always works. Also, allowing them the opportunity to vent when the stress gets high. I remind the staff that there is a solution to every issue we may hit. My boss, who is also a woman, is a big advocate of bringing fun into the workplace with little gifts and contests every month.

Q. Is there anything you’d like to share with young women who may be looking for a career?

A. We have such a wide variety of jobs available at Chicago Title and in the title insurance and escrow industry. The benefits are great and so are the opportunities to move up. Being part of the largest title insurer in the nation also allows for great incentives, benefits, and many opportunities to transfer anywhere in the country for even better opportunities. That’s how I came to Friday Harbor 17 years ago.