HELENA, Mont. – Lori Hamm didn’t expect to make a career of working at the Office of the Montana Secretary of State. When Hamm applied for the position of Notary Compliance Officer, her only hope was to move back to her home state.
Seventeen years later, Hamm is right at home, both in the state of Montana and in the Office of the Secretary of State.
“I was surprised to find myself at first intrigued and later passionate about all things notary. As I processed notary applications and apostille requests, and fielded hundreds, if not thousands of notary requests from notaries around the state, I developed a deep respect for this vital and honorable profession,” said Hamm. “I realized as a state administrator, I have an obligation to support, enhance and improve the quality and integrity of the notarial office, as well as the professionalism and confidence of the notaries public who serve in this important role.”
Hamm’s passion for the profession is easily seen during the past two decades. She has led notary conferences, taught notary training courses and introduced legislation that helped the Secretary of State’s office require notary education and journal requirements.
She has also assisted notary officials across the country in implementing and improving their own rules, regulations and resources.
For these efforts, and many more, Hamm was selected as the National Notary Association 2021 recipient of the March Fong Eu Achievement Award. The honor is given annually to an individual who “strives to improve standards, professionalism and effectiveness of the Notary Public office in the United States,” according to the NNA.
The March Fong Eu Achievement Award was established in 1979 in honor of the late California Secretary of State March Fong Eu.
“Lori Hamm is a notary policy powerhouse,” NNA Vice President of Government Affairs Bill Anderson said in an NNA release. “Her body of work over 15 years – from her legislative achievements, her vision of making Montana a model for Notary education, and her standing among her peers at the National Association of Secretaries of State – is nothing short of extraordinary.”
“This is such an incredible and deserving honor for Lori,” said Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen. “She is fully committed to promoting the notary profession, she has dedicated her career to improving notary education and training, and her passion for her profession is truly contagious.”
It was the summer of 2004 when Hamm returned to her home state of Montana, and her impact on the notary world quickly followed.
She began gathering notary resources, eventually publishing a comprehensive state handbook for Montana’s notaries, and in 2012 launched the first Montana Notary Public Conference to assist in properly training the state’s notaries. Hamm played an important role in the passing of House Bill 370, which outlined laws and guidelines for Remote Online Notarization in Montana.
Hamm is widely respected by her notary peers across the country, many of whom have gained valuable knowledge from Hamm’s 17-year career. But Hamm remains humble, simply grateful for the opportunity to work with notaries in Montana and beyond.
“To paraphrase a very wise man, ‘If I have achieved anything, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants. ‘My mentors, my inspiration, my friends; true giants of the notary world. I am so blessed to be able to walk among them,” said Hamm. “I am humbled and grateful to receive the March Fong Eu Award.”
Seventeen years later, Lori Hamm is still right at home.