Q. Tell us a bit about yourself
A. It is always tricky talking about one’s self, isn’t it? Even as an agent with New York Life, talking with people every day, it is still difficult. Well, the basics are: I’m from Fargo, went to Fargo South High School then to NDSU, and later went back to school for my MBA. My favorite color is green. I like tacos. I am a relatively new cat mom with two fluffy kitties named Boo and Ghost. More recently, I engaged to a loving man named Sidney Ben Simons. My fiancé and I met at our gym, Academy of Combat Arts, where we both love practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. Currently, my friends have started a Dungeons & Dragons campaign (yes, we are quite nerdy), that we play on downtime.
Q. How did you get involved in your work?
A. After I got my MBA, I started to look at how best to put it to work for me. I was looking around on different job sites. During that time, my family was trying to find a nursing home for my grandmother. She needs more care than what we could give her at home. Now, at the time, I knew the basics about retirement, insurance, healthcare, etc. In going through my grandparent’s plan with my dad to try and help, I realized everything that they put away will be gone sooner rather than later. Now, this opened my eyes, and I stumbled upon New York Life through my research, which has been the best decision for me. I get to help other families as they grow and educate them on how our choices today can impact our families and life later on.
Q. What do you wish more women knew about insurance?
A. First thing first: Know what you have! If you have a spouse, know what they have and what their strategy is. All too often, I hear from couples, “my spouse knows all that” or “my spouse takes care of that.” If something goes wrong or the other spouse isn’t there or is unreachable, you should know whom to contact. Even know if you are the beneficiary for any loved ones. When it comes to insurance, we should all look at what we currently have. Once we know that, I like to ask folks, “What do you want your insurance to do for you and your family?” Insurance isn’t one-size-fits-all. Your insurance should be customized to your lifestyle. Not to mention life changes happen. Take me for an example, I was not expecting to be engaged here this year, but surprise! At a minimum, you should review your insurance once a year. If things are the same, great; if not, look at what changes you can make or how to expand them.
Q. How have you been staying connected with your community lately?
A. The pandemic has been both a blessing and a curse when it comes to staying connected. Before, being able to go to events or social gatherings was the norm for us. Now, zoom meeting while wearing your pajama bottoms is a regular phenomenon. The bright side is that people have made it more of a priority to reach out to each other. I have attended more zoom gatherings simply because I don’t have to drive to them. Our community has been fantastic at providing virtual events for people to follow and stay connected. My generation has relied on social media, texting, and zoom/skype.
Now it seems to not register for many people. It’s why I have now started to actually call people, say hi to them, hear their voices. To me, it feels more personal, and it has gotten me through the pandemic.
Q. What does self-care mean to you?
A. Getting all my frustrations, anxiety, and aggression out on a bag is the most significant part of my life now. I always joke with my friends that if it weren’t for Kickboxing or JiuJitsu, I would probably be in a worse situation. The Academy of Combat Arts has become a second family to me. You develop deep relationships with folks whom you train with. They are always there for me, pushing me both physically and emotionally. We can’t go through this life with everything bottled up, and the coaches there have helped me get through those hard times. Having a support team that you can go to is incredibly important, especially after the past few years. Be selfish, go for that walk, reach out to your friends and family, talk with them. Let them know how you’re feeling or what you are thinking. Combined, you can release those pent-up emotions, get those endorphins, get the blood flowing.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve heard recently?
A. Life is not an “or”–it is an “and.” We all talk about work-life balance and how it’s challenging to manage. I was that way too until a mentor told me, life is not an “or”–it’s an “and.” For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, and you’re at Chipotle, the “or” would be, “I can lose weight or have a burrito.” Now, I see it as, “I can lose weight and have a delicious meal at Chipotle.” This hit home for me. It’s still a work in progress, shifting my perspective, and I do have to remind myself of this advice often.
Q. What is a recent challenge you’ve overcome?
A. Building and establishing my practice has been an ongoing process that is both rewarding and challenging. As any small business owner knows, that challenge never really goes away. But recently, I have had to change my work habits since working from home. Like most people, over the pandemic, we switched to working from home. If you didn’t have an office already in place, you got creative. Unfortunately, this made for some bad habits, like munching on snacks all day. It took me some time and working with my mentors to get me back on track. For me, it’s the little habits that are the hardest to break, so this was a massive win for me.