The Case for ISA: Four Members' Stories

The Case for ISA: Four Members' Stories

Friday, July 28, 2017 in News, Member Insights

Room at the table for young leadership; an exclusive focus on personal property appraising; a supportive network of fellow professionals and a clear, peer-supported path to credentialing - many ISA members cite these benefits as the reasons why the organization has experienced such dynamic growth in the past decade.

With over 800 members and growing, ISA is the professional organization of choice for the majority of qualified personal property appraisers throughout the US, Canada and abroad.

We asked new and long-time members to report what they value most about our society, why they joined ISA, and why they recommend ISA training and membership to colleagues.

Michelle Conliffe, ISA CAPP

Michelle Conliffe joined ISA in 2013. Michelle holds an MA in American Fine and Decorative Arts from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. Within three years of joining ISA, Michelle earned her CAPP, ISA's highest designation. She has lead volunteer committees, served on strategic task forces, and last year, her fresh ideas and natural leadership skills were rewarded when she was selected by her peers to serve on the National Board of Directors. ISA's defined personal property focus, strategic plan for growth, and members’ diversity in geography and expertise initially attracted Michelle to our organization.

"In 2012, I made the difficult decision to leave an established auction house and go into business for myself as an appraiser. At the time, I did not know everything that would be required to launch my business, but I knew that I would need an accreditation that reflected the high standards I set for myself and my work.

Of the three major appraisal societies, ISA stood out for a few reasons. 1) The ISA community is focused primarily on fine and decorative art appraisals. 2) The membership has the widest geographical reach, giving me access to a large network of professionals that possess a broad range of expertise. 3) There is a path to growth within the organization that reflects the work and effort I put into it, rather than depending on an arbitrary length of service.

I have found first-hand that if you have a fresh idea or see a part of the organization that needs improvement, ISA wants to hear your voice. With this diversity of ideas, I know that ISA will continue to grow and thrive as the leading personal property appraisal organization."

Glenn M. Rand, ISA, EdD

Glenn M. Rand, EdD, joined ISA in 2016. As a seasoned educator with a doctorate of education and 12 published books in the field of photography, Glenn was looking for a professional organization that would reward the connoisseurship he brought to the field, allowing him to apply his advanced training toward acquiring his appraising credential. Glenn found ISA's unique Specialty and Advanced Studies Committee vetting pathway very attractive, because it allowed him to demonstrate his scholarship without compromising the advanced methodology training he knew he needed to feel fully qualified to begin a second career in appraising.

"Having had full careers in higher education, as an artist, as an author and having recently created a fine art services business, it was natural to see professional appraising as a future path.

Being familiar with appraisals from collecting art and my work with donations to museums, I realized that education and knowledge of prevailing standards would be required to adequately provide appraisal services to clients.

In reviewing the potentials for acquiring this knowledge base, it became clear that ISA provided the most inclusive educational programs and professional potentials. Through ISA, I have meet professionals willing to share their experiences, knowledge and collaboration, helping me chart my new career direction."

Darlene Hines, ISA CAPP

Darlene Hines joined ISA in 1998. Darlene holds ISA's highest appraisal designation, and is a past National Board member with almost 20 years of service in a broad range of capacities. She typifies the generosity of spirit unique to ISA that values supporting colleagues to grow and excel. She has recommended many employees to membership without fear of competition. Darlene's motto is "Givers Gain." There may not be a better illustration of the supportive culture that ISA encourages than Darlene's tireless example to "work together rather than compete."

"When I joined ISA in 1998, my husband and I owned an antique gallery and we were getting requests for appraisals. At the time, I was working toward a Master’s Degree, working full time, and raising three children. Determined to make the great adventure of becoming an appraiser work, I chose ISA for its strong ethical characteristics, options for continuing education, networking opportunities, and because it was simply the best organization in the field.

It's rewarding to speak of ISA to others seeking membership or expressing a zeal for appraising. I have referred many of my employees to ISA over the years, including a new member who I believe will be a rising star. I have also started a local appraisers' group with current ISA appraisers in Michigan. We meet for lunch and discuss the importance of credentialing, continuing education, and service to the organization. If I could help encourage appraisers to work together rather than compete, we would set a positive example for our businesses and ISA."

Pam Campbell, ISA CAPP

Pam Campbell joined ISA in 1994. Together with her husband, Bill, she operates one of Ft. Worth's most prestigious contemporary art galleries with a prominent national reputation. As a long-standing member of more than one professional appraisal organization, Pam migrated to ISA because she valued the society's exclusive focus on personal property appraising, and the superior local support and continuing education she found in her active local chapter.

"ISA offered a wealth of advantages to me as a personal property appraiser that I did not find in the other organization in my geographical area. ISA’s local chapter holds regular monthly meetings, with superior personal property-focused education, in addition to the opportunity to socialize with colleagues.

ISA coursework gets to the point, with a nuts-and-bolts approach rather than abstract concepts. The many courses offered by ISA beyond the Core Course allow members to continue to be excited about learning, with new courses constantly in development.

With ISA, I found a group of colleagues who were and remain welcoming, willing to collaborate, are generous with knowledge, and are interested in strengthening the appraisal profession."

Would you like to become part of the ISA family?

For those new to the profession, learn more about how ISA can help you launch a lucrative career in personal property appraising.

For seasoned professionals, view our complete list of ISA benefits designed to help you grow and succeed as a personal property appraiser.

If you’re currently a member of another appraisal organization, be sure to view our ISA Bridging Policy. Through December 15, 2017, your application fee is waived.


  1. Appraising
  2. Bridging Policy
  3. Business Tools
  4. ISA Chapters
  5. ISA Means Business
  6. Membership
  7. Professional Development
  8. Scholarship
  9. Volunteers

From the ISA Now Blog

See all blog posts