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It’s about time.

It’s 2011 and finally the National Auctioneers Association has a woman President.

I had read several years ago an article by New York Times (now) Executive Editor Jill Abramson titled, “When Will We Stop Saying ‘First Woman to _____’?” I hope for two reasons we’re still saying it for a while — because we’ve got a long way to go.

Many are saying that the big changes in the auction industry are online auctions, technology and the ever aging of our country’s live auctioneers. I would counter to say an even bigger change than any of these is that the auction industry and the National Auctioneers Association membership is woefully out of sync with the demographics of our country.

As of the writing of this article, men and women each make up approximately 50% of the population, yet only 10% of auctioneers are women. Too, other minorities are barely represented in NAA membership and their leadership roles, and make up a comparable low percentage of auctioneers in the United States.

What does the auction industry need to do in the coming years? Become more inclusive.

For starters, electing the first female President of NAA sends two important messages:

  1. It reminds us all that, “We have a long way to go.”
  2. It encourages other women that, “You can do it too.”

As I wrote about the answers to the NAA IAC Final Round Questions ’11, I said that the IAC Champions were in a position to:

    “… influence the younger generation to consider the auction industry as their profession, and maybe more importantly, encourage more women, African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities to look at becoming auctioneers and NAA members.”

It’s clear that all auctioneers, and members of NAA should endeavor to bring the auction industry and the NAA membership more in concert with our population demographics and client/customer bases.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.