McKenzie May Goodrich, CAWC, ORS
Shine Insurance Agency, Bloomington, Ind.

How did you determine that insurance was a viable career choice?

My post-college work for Montana Conservation Corps helped me realize that I loved helping people and doing paperwork. When there was an opening in the family shop, I joined as a personal insurance agent. Helping people understand insurance was fulfilling…After 12 years in the family biz I started my own agency with my husband, Jeremy.

How can employers recruit young talent?

Look for opportunities to connect with the young business professionals in your area. Our Chamber of Commerce has a young professionals subgroup with monthly events. Speaking there helped me connect with talented folks who may not have considered insurance as a career.

What advice do you have for struggling millennials?

When your parents and bosses are telling you to conform, instructing you on whom to be, what to do, how to behave, how to dress and giving you goals without your input, it makes you crazy. Follow your gut and listen to yourself. It’s OK to make a mistake if you learn from it. If you’re in a soul-sucking job, get out and find work that makes you happy.

What is an important lesson you learned when joining a professional working environment?

I can be me—I do not need to conform. Folks who didn’t get me or who didn’t take me seriously, weren’t worth my time or emotion. I joined the professional working environment when I was 21, so my lack of street cred was pretty apparent.

What are your future goals?

Change the way people think about insurance. Insurance gets a bad reputation. The stereotypes seem centered on coverage misunderstandings, perceptions of greed and personal experience of claim denials. Our clients know we genuinely care about them and that we give much more than we get in terms of dollar value.

How does social marketing make you more productive?

Connecting with customers and community in the way they like best is my primary reason for social media. A few years ago we had a tornado and power was out everywhere. Our community hunger relief organization posted on Facebook that trees were down in the parking lot, and they needed to move food from their refrigerators to avoid losing it, but they couldn’t get the trucks to the building. We responded with our own truck, trailer and chainsaw. We were our own personal cat team.