I grew up in Dallas, Texas. Up until my senior year, I went to the same elementary, junior high and high school that my mother had. In my senior year we moved to the suburbs. I attended at the University of North Texas, majoring in art with a minor in English. I didn’t actually pursue those areas initially – I actually went into sales. I believe, no one as a child says - “I think I want to grow up and be a sales person.” But it really appealed to me. I early on in one of my first jobs, Wolf Brothers, a very large retail store, which no longer exists, I got to watch sales people. I found it rather fascinating, thinking, hmm… seems to me those are the guys that are making the money, not us artsy types. So I went into sales & marketing.
Much of my early career was self-employed. I always had the view that I wanted to create, but I wanted to do it in an environment where I would be consistently challenged by my own goals, not necessarily by someone else’s priorities. Even in my selling career, I was often a “rep” rather than an employee. I was usually on straight commission or someway I could play my own challenging game about reaching my own goals or objectives.
In my life, I have had 2 distinct careers; my earliest career was in office equipment. I was one of the first 5 women to sell plain paper copiers in the United States when Sharp broke Xerox’s patent – that’s kind of an interesting story all in itself. I sold copy machines for many years and actually became an executive and offered a partnership. But, I didn’t really want to do that.
So, at that point my husband and I decided to embark on a new career and we opened a mortgage company. Which may seem like a very strange segue from selling copiers to opening a mortgage company and they were completely dis-related. Oddly, it was one of my client’s at the copy machine company that introduced me to that concept. It was a bank that trained us, helped us to get set up, provided us one of our sources for funding mortgages. We found a couple of other banks and started in the mortgage industry.
We quickly became a very large broker in the Dallas area, so much so that one of our banks wanted to purchase us and kept upping the offer until we really couldn’t say no. At which point we worked for them for a while. Unfortunately, we were involved in the banking industry when “Black Monday” occurred. I don’t know how old you are, but if your not my age, you probably don’t even know what Black Monday was, but that was one of the biggest bond market crashes. In some ways it makes some of the crashes recently look mild. It was really, really bad, and many, many mortgage companies, found themselves unable to close the loans, because of market postures and it really drove a lot of people to the brink financially. The company that I worked for - the company that we sold for – chose to handle some of their affairs less than nobly. So we didn’t renew our contract. At the time we were in California to help another mortgage banker open some new divisions. So we lived there until the big giant quake of San Francisco occurred. I did not like it at all. I told my husband that afternoon, this house goes on the market as soon as Christmas is over and we are out of here.
We moved back to Texas, and didn’t really know what we wanted to do at that point. We started looking around for opportunities, and did a publishing and advertising firm for the insurance industry for many years. We provided advertising agency and publication type services to primarily marketers and insurance organizations that wanted to communicate to insurance agents about their products and services and get them to sell those products. We sold that company 9 years ago and my husband retired at that time.
About 2 1/2 years ago I re-entered the industry with my oldest daughter, starting Insurance Media Services. As our non-competes had expired, we started back up with some of our previous clients and we found from some of our clients that there was really a niche that needed to be served, that wasn’t being served, and we knew how and could offer. There was enough of them, that we felt we could make a living. We certainly weren’t going to be able to achieve the size and the scope that we had before, but neither one of us wanted to do that anyways. We’ve been doing it for 2 1/2 years now and really like what we do servicing our old clients and new ones.