How They Got Here - Career Reinvention

Helene: In these economic times, you may be looking for different job opportunities. Maybe you were thinking about changing jobs within your company or changing your career altogether. Both are ways of reinventing yourself and taking risks like that can be challenging, even scary, especially if you know it's the right move to make. I'd like you to meet Maggie, Tameka, and Keith, all have changed gears and are now agents for State Farm. Welcome, so how have you reinvented yourself?

Keith: Well I went to the University of Illinois where I studied history with the intent to go off to law school. After college I decided to get out to the real world and make some money instead of going onto more school and collecting more debt. I decided to work in politics for the Illinois House of Representatives, where during campaign times I actually ran campaigns for other individuals. During non campaign I worked in a marketing and public outreach for different state representatives. I did that for about six, seven years and I was at a wedding, and a couple of individuals from State Farm were there also.

And we were just small talking and during our conversations they said you should really talk to us about some of the State Farm opportunities. I said sure, sounds great. After meeting with them a couple of different times and talking to them, I realized, wow this is a great opportunity I want to take advantage of. I saw many of the similarities between running a campaign for someone else and running my own office. Instead of working for their name and what they had, I was working for myself and my own name on my door. So it was great, it was exciting.

Tamika: For me, I was an account executive in the banking and mortgage industry. So I was pretty much in outside sales for the majority of my career after college. I always knew I wanted to open up a business of my own. That was the number one goal of mine from the start. Wasn't really too sure what I wanted to do at the time because the mortgage industry wasn't doing the best. I actually spoke to my State Farm agent Dana and she was the one that basically asked have you ever thought about being a State Farm agent? At the time that was a no, started looking through everything and was amazed by the opportunity.

The other State Farm agents that I had spoken to, everybody was very phenomenal, just their stories and what they had been through and you know, it was a very rewarding opportunity. And the rest is history.

Helene: Yeah, good history.

Maggie: And I actually started with State Farm right out of college, about three weeks after I graduated. I handled homeowner's claims for a few years then I moved more into a marketing role with State Farm, and finally ended up in public affairs for about a year and a half. Then I really wanted to be my own boss, do something a little bit more challenging where I had a little bit more control. So I decided to become an agent.

Helene: And you also wanted to make a difference in people's lives, right?

Maggie: Yeah, I wanted to have an impact. My agent did with me when I was younger and I wanted to be able to do the same thing.

Helene: So why State Farm?

Tamika: Well for me State Farm is the best of the best. You know, the cream of the crop so to speak. And my thought process was if you're going to open up a business, why not do it with the best of the best? It just makes sense.

Keith: In addition, I think many people maybe don't know but State Farm is actually a mutual company, in which mutual companies are owned by the policyholders. That to me is a huge facet of this. I mean again, the fact that we're a company that's owned by our customers, all of our decisions are basically their best interests. I think that's very important, we're not a stock company, we're not, I was looking at the bottom line of the market, what happened? And what's going on? Where we really think about our customer's best interests.

Maggie: For me the decision was very easy to make. Why not work for the best company out there and it has such a long-term view. I was young when I opened my agency so I needed a strong company to be with.

Helene: And you do have a very-long term view, don't you?

Maggie: Yes absolutely.