Person of the Week

Susan Clark

Compliance Officer

I took Algebra and wondered, “When is this ever going to matter?”  Now I know.  I’m here to tell you…. We may not know why we are taking things at the time, but if we stay alert, something will show up to show us the worth of all our studies.

1.  What led you to the mission of being a compliance officer?

My prayer for the last four years has been, “What can I do to help people?  Help me figure out how to yield to what is right.”  I wanted to help people.  Here at Keller Williams, I feel like this is the first time in my life that all of my education and all of my experiences are coming to bear in one position.  How many times as a student in college I said, “Well how am I going to use this later in life?”  I took algebra and wondered, “When is this ever going to matter?”  It all matters!  Now I know why I took algebra!  I’m here to tell you that a tech writing degree in the English department can be used!  All the things I’ve learned are being used.  We may or may not know why we are taking things at the time, but if we stay alert, something will show up to show us the worth of all our studies.

I have a technical writing degree from the University of Illinois.  I almost have a master’s in communications from the University of Illinois, almost a master’s in instructional technology from Utah State, and I have years as vice president of marketing for a national charity.  I did all that with an English degree and I was a paralegal for lawyers. Years ago, I worked with one of the number one contract lawyers in St. Louis.  So here I am now reviewing contracts, reviewing paperwork and training people.  I’m in front of people giving speeches, i.e., training, and I used to give speeches to raise monies for hospitals for children.  All my work before now is coming to bear in one place where I am getting to use all of it.  It’s pretty interesting!  It’s about contributing.  By being here and doing what I am doing, I’m contributing to help support the businesses of one hundred and seventy five real estate agents.

Our convention is called “Family Reunion”.  The whole idea here in this office is God, family, and then business.  This is a real estate office that doesn’t back stab.  It supports.  We help one another.

2.  What does this mission mean to you?

By definition, compliance means keeping the documents legal and valid and keeping everyone out of lawsuits.  I take being a compliance officer more personally as a way to help agents understand their business better and make them better at what they do.   I want to empower agents to know how to write good contracts.

There is a software part of this work and not everyone is tech savvy.  In this office, everyone selling real estate needs to learn how to use the software.  There are many different approaches.  I help people gain confidence that they can do tech work – that they have the talent it takes, the innate ability to sit down with the programs, be quiet for a while, and give it a try.  For me teaching is fun because I have to keep pushing myself to adjust to the different people and their ways of learning.  I’m progressing in huge personal ways to help.

3.  What was your best day as a compliance officer?

My best day here was yesterday.  I got to go out to one of our other offices and help train a group of agents.  Amazingly, there was no Internet.  I was determined not to leave until I helped this group of fifteen agents understand this new software.  I approached it from a conceptual way because I believe everyone has the ability to push the right buttons if they have the big picture of what the goal is and what the new language is.  Software is just a new language or a new way of looking at things.  This is a metaphor for life!  Everything is a new way of looking at things.

I spent an hour sitting amongst them rather than being at the front of the classroom.  I said, “Here’s the metaphor for this software.  Can you see this connection?”  They said, “Yah, yah.”  I said, “Close your computers.  If you can get the concepts, and translate this metaphor to that metaphor, then you can open the computer and figure out how to apply it yourself.”  We had the most fun.  It was so rewarding because they were paying attention, I was really in tune with what they needed, and I got great feedback.  I cared about whether it was working or not.  It was an example of something not appearing to be working because there was no wireless connection, but it worked!  I think if I teach this again, I’ll do it that way – without wireless.  It’s something that doesn’t appear to be right, but becomes the open door to what is perfect.  That training was a lot of fun.  I’m learning how to pull my face off the computer and make training be more about people.

4.  What was your worst day as a compliance officer?

My worst day is when somebody leaves the office.  My job is to help with retention. If an agent leaves the office, that doesn’t feel good.  That’s tough.  There are others that help with keeping employees.  Our job is just to support everyone in the office.

5.  How did you survive your worst day?

I’d like to have some humor here!  Alcoholism isn’t an answer!  A key part of my job is to make things happen — like finishing the mundane and painful part of getting paid – all the paperwork.  Are you kidding?  It is hard to do all that work – filling out these forms, getting things just right, and keeping the numbers right.  I have to think about people’s livelihood, income, keeping the clients happy, getting the right signatures, giving advice, making suggestions about how to work with contracts, and coaching people.  Coaching people is my favorite part and that leads back to empowering.  If I can’t make it fun, then I might was well go do something else.  I know I can help others.  I have the innate ability to do that.  I make it fun.

3 Comments

  1. Barbara Sheets 10/30/12
    11:42 pm

    I will show this to my college student daughter who sometimes complains about courses she has to take that seem irrelevant to her future occupation. Your experience illustrates the importance of a well rounded education. I liked also your ability to make things fun that would otherwise seem tedious and complicated

    Reply

  2. Maureen Jordan 10/24/12
    10:39 pm

    You and I are so lucky to be in a profession that is more than the sum of our jobs and experiences that came before. We both learned skills and gained knowledge in areas that seemed at the time to be somewhat disparate. Then all of a sudden it all came together and the finished whole explodes into a vocation that could never have been predicted by any career counselor! and it makes us unique in that we will perform better than those who either lack our skills or lack the passion we feel for what seems we were born to do. We love what we do, and it shows! And, gosh darn we even get paid to do our work :). Thanks for sharing your story, Susan.

    Reply

  3. Thanks for sharing, Susan. It’s clear that your work blesses others.

    Reply

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