Photo courtesy of Farmers Insurance®.
When Farmers® agency owner Arcy Dinnell of Oak Harbor, Washington, was growing up, there weren’t a lot of female professional role models she could look up to.
“Being Latina and with my first language being Spanish, I didn’t see anyone who represented me and I wanted to change that,” she says. “Even television shows, for the most part, had a male leading the household. I wanted to be a professional in a male-dominated world.”
When Arcy was in high school, she was part of the school’s Army ROTC program, which provides students with the opportunity to attend college and train to become an Army officer at the same time. So, after attending a year of college, she decided to join the military.
It was a decision that would change the course of her life.
Throughout the four years she served, she learned the importance of structure, organization, and a strong work ethic that she later carried into her role as a Farmers agency owner. She was in an administrative position, handling budgets, audits, and paperwork.
“Dependability and loyalty were values I took with me,” she says. “I have a lot of commitment when I start something new — and I want to make my family proud.”
After the military, Arcy went to Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi, where she earned her teaching certificate with an emphasis in mathematics. She married her husband, who was also in the military, and taught high school math and Spanish at a local college. She also worked at a housing assistance program for the homeless and enjoyed the interaction that she had with clients.
Realizing she wanted to try something new where she could work with numbers and people, she took a position as a customer service representative at a friend’s insurance agency. He was her mentor, supporting, guiding her, and answering her questions as she learned about the industry. In time, she opened her own agency.
“When opportunity knocks at your door, you have to take it or someone else will,” she says. “I just faced my fears and took it. I persuaded my district manager to give me a shot and he took a chance on me.”
During her first year, she fell back on her roles in the military. “Everything I learned there was applied to my agency,” she says.
Now an agent for six years, Arcy has two staff members — both of whom are retired military. She and her family live in a military town as well. “I want to live up to the position of respect that people see me in and be humble,” she says. “It’s important to never forget where you come from and always be respectful.”
What does she think about women as entrepreneurs in today’s world? “There are still mindsets about women’s roles. I try to focus on what’s important,” she says. “All you can do is work hard at proving yourself and demonstrate that you are just as capable as anyone else.”
Farmers® agency owners are rewarded for their military service by having access to an incentive program specific for veterans. Learn more at the Women Veterans Virtual Career Fair hosted by Veteran Recruiting and womenveterans.com on Thursday, December 16 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. EST.
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