Building off our May blog featuring three mighty women who lead the charge for their respective departments, we will now spotlight three women who are responsible for the success of the 21st Insurance Agency.
Amanda Downey grew up on a farm and learned from her parents that hard work is how you achieve success. They taught her at a young age that if you fall down or get tired, it is only in your best interest to get up, wipe off the dirt, and keep going. This is a lesson she applies every day of her life, and it’s one she teaches her children. Amanda fully believes that your ability to overcome a challenge, work hard towards goals, and improve yourself every day will give you the skills needed to be successful in life.
Amanda is a graduate of Carson-Newman University. She began the insurance department as a one-woman team, which has since grown to more than 40 team members. Amanda looks back on those early days and is thankful for the experience and knowledge she gained. Amanda recognizes that she can improve workflow and efficiency of the entire department – allowing her to place maximum effort towards growing the overall book of insurance business – from the experience she gained in the earlier days.
Building a successful insurance company has not always come easy though. Over the years, there have been many changes to the insurance tracking regulatory environment, along with staffing challenges, but Amanda has never given up or been afraid of making a mistake. More than 20 years later, stemming from her persistent desire for improvement, her hard work and determination has taken the insurance agency to new heights.
When asked to give a piece of advice to a young girl, Amanda said, “Never stop learning and improving yourself. You can’t be afraid to make mistakes – everyone makes mistakes. It’s what we learn from those encounters, that we can apply to improve ourselves. I like the quote from Maya Angelou, ‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’”
Holly is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in human resources. She began her career with 21st at a young age when she graduated high school, and she has not looked back. Holly worked as a receptionist before moving to the Financial Counselor role while she finished her degree. Unsure of what she wanted to do with her career, she knew she wanted to continue working for a company like 21st Mortgage with a strong culture and meaningful relationships.
After Holly earned her associate’s degree, she decided not to pursue further opportunities. She later regretted her choice and was disappointed in herself, but with a little encouragement from Tim Williams, CEO, Holly went back to school and finished her bachelor’s degree. She believes it was one of the best decisions she ever made. To this day, Holly is incredibly grateful for the opportunity and proud of her accomplishment.
Holly finds inspiration in overcoming barriers and putting in the hard work to achieve goals. She was taught early in life to be independent and strong, but her high school drama teacher was the role model she could depend on. Holly explained, “Mr. Bernheim faced a lot of adversity and always overcame it with grace. When he was told no, I saw him work harder and harder for his students. He was an amazing role model and taught us just as much about life as he did acting. I will forever hold a special place in my heart for him.” That hard work and passion to overcome feeds her desire to be a strong leader for 21st Mortgage Insurance Agency.
When asked what piece of advice she would share with a young girl, Holly said, “Never lose sight of your goals. In life, you will face hard times, disappointment, and rejection. But do not let it deter you; use it as motivation and determination to push forward and never let yourself fall short of your expectations.”
Kortni Hubbs is a graduate of the University of Tennessee. She has been with 21st Mortgage for 8 years and is currently serving as a manager for the Insurance department. Her journey can be best described as growth through continuous learning, which has provided her many opportunities for success.
Becoming a young leader in her 20s, Kortni had to deal with quite the push back. She did not have the same experience as other team members, but rather than letting this discourage her, she took the opportunity to work hard and gain knowledge from her coworkers, team members, and managers. Kortni’s drive and curiosity fueled her ability to learn the functions of the insurance department, and she was able to gain the confidence to perform at a high level. Her commitment and fearless efforts allowed her to gain the respect and support she needed from her team.
Kortni finds motivation in her 2-year-old daughter, Emma. She hopes to be the role model Emma needs by showing her that she can be career driven, while maintaining a family oriented work-life balance. When asked what advice she would give to a young girl, she said, “Don’t be afraid to give your opinion, even if it is the unpopular one.”
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