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Christie King Ray named First Female President of NAA
GADSDEN, Alabama — Christie King has made a career out of breaking barriers in the auction industry, from her earliest years in a fourth-generation family business, to starting her own company. On July 14, she’ll reach her most prominent achievement yet as she assumes the role of president of the National Auctioneers Association.
At its 62nd convention in Orlando, Fla., King will be one of the three percent of women affiliated with the NAA, and she will be the first female — as well as the first from the state of Alabama — to take on the executive role. She has been involved with the NAA since 1992 and has served the past two years as vice president.
Being “the first female” to accomplish something in the auction industry is nothing new to King, though. She began working with J. P. King Auction Company, the nation’s premier real estate auction firm, in her 20s, and through the company, became involved in other auctioneer boards. She was the first female and the youngest individual to serve on the Governor-appointed Alabama State Board of Auctioneers, and in 2007, she was the first female inducted into the Alabama Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.
King has also served as president of the Alabama Auctioneer Association and was only the second female to become the Grand Champion Auctioneer in Alabama.
“I initially got involved with the NAA to learn from other auctioneers when I was new to the business,” King said. “Then, as I gained more experience in the auction business and was more involved in the NAA, I realized that now I have something to contribute, and I wanted to give back.”
Giving back is also nothing new to King. While she still serves as a board member and a principal with J. P. King Auction Company, she left her full-time position there in 2007 to work with non-profit benefit auctions. Because of her dedication to fundraising for these organizations, King founded C King Benefit Auctions, a business committed to assisting non-profit organizations and private schools with their fundraising needs. She consults organizations on how to raise the most money at their auction and guides them to implement additional revenue beyond the auction, teaching them how to make every minute a money-making minute.
“Even though J. P. King works with high-end real estate, we would often have non-profit organizations contact us inquiring about their events,” King said. “I began taking on some of those inquiries in the mid-1990s, and a few years ago, I really felt that draw toward concentrating on these organizations.”
Between J. P. King and C King Benefit Auctions, King has gained experience working in a large, national company as well as a smaller, more regional auction company — regional companies comprise most of the NAA — equipping her with experience and versatility that many NAA members consider valuable.
“As a result, she understands the various segments of the NAA,” said Hannes Combest, CEO of the NAA. “But her success is not just due to her passion; she is a bright woman, who thinks strategic issues through and puts thoughts into action.” Her passion for the industry is evident whenever you speak with her about it, Combest said. “She loves the business — loves it.”
“I’m delighted to have a principal of J. P. King serve as an NAA officer,” said Craig King, president and CEO of J. P. King, who is also King’s brother. “I know she is knowledgable and prepared to bring a lot of ideas to the association. Her experiences will enable her to relate to the trade and provide perspective and insight to address trends for auctioneers nationwide.
“Of course, I’m also proud that she’s my sister,” King added, with a smile. “Our dad ran J. P. King before us, and he was always hopeful that his kids would follow in his footsteps. All four of us have, and I know the leadership role Christie has taken in the NAA makes him proud.”
King will serve as president for one year, a term which follows two years as vice president and three years on the NAA’s Board of Directors.
“Although Christie is the first woman to serve as president of the NAA, I don’t believe her gender has been a factor in the minds of those who voted for her,” Combest said. “They voted for her because she has the ability to lead the NAA into the future.”
First woman or not, King is prepared for the challenges ahead as she accepts a new role and, again, breaks barriers, embraces change and sets an example for the auction industry. The next year is just a continuation of the career she’s led for the past 20.
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