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PATJO Staff member (Susanne Lyon) as featured professional in RICS magazine

As a senior-level valuation expert in New Jersey, U.S., Susanne Lyon values the link that RICS has provided throughout her career, including as an assessor for candidates seeking the APC designation.

Lyon worked for over 20 years in Jamaica with the Land Valuation Department - a government agency responsible for the assessment of property for property tax purposes. Over that time, she was also an adjunct lecturer to students on real estate valuation at the University of Technology, where the teaching came naturally to her.

"I've often received compliments from people on how much they enjoy my explanations. I enjoy having people understand and appreciate what we do in valuation. It's to ensure they understand that this is a profession, and there is knowledge involved that's not just ordinary knowledge."

Since then, she has moved to the U.S. to marry her former college sweetheart, and settled in New Jersey, where she works as an executive vice president and manager at PATJO Appraisal Services, Inc.

The RICS designation helped to ease the transition to the U.S., a move that required her to adjust to new ways of operating—"in the U.S. there can be an abundance of information available in making decisions in some instances." And while the RICS designation isn't very well known in the U.S., it gave Lyon-Josephs confidence while she was in classes with younger students to gain her General Real Estate Appraiser licence and MAI designation with the Appraisal Institute, a professional designation in the U.S.

Lyon explains: "It makes you feel that professionally, you're not just starting over." While she furthers her education and learns new technology, she reminds herself that she's already a RICS professional: "You love this profession, so grab hold of it. This is just another piece of knowledge to master."

According to Lyon, being an assessor for RICS in the Valuation Pathway has made her more aware of her own professional standards: "It causes you to up your own game," she says. "You don't want to be setting standards for a candidate you haven't maintained yourself, in terms of professionalism and thoughtfulness. The desire to maintain professional trust is a desire that you take into your everyday life."

The RICS qualification is one that has backed her ability to speak at conferences and contribute to several manuals, journal articles, and books, including one book on Spanish Jamaica that documented the first 150 years of Spanish occupation of Jamaica.

"It opened the door for the opportunity," says Lyon. "It lends more weight to the research, findings and recommendations that I've made." She also values the designation because she started becoming involved with RICS as a student at a British university: "The professional credentials were not just in your degree, but in obtaining your qualification. It's what I know best, and it's dear to my heart."

Her future career goals are to do more consulting and write more for books. She would also like to mentor young members of the industry, especially in the Caribbean: "Not enough professionals have the time to give to mentoring." Lyons feels that rigorous post-graduation training for young professionals seeking to gain RICS accreditation can only help to strengthen the value of RICS standards.