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Lifesaver Beach

June Is National Annuity Awareness Month

37 min read

ABL: Always Be Learning

By NAIFA on 5/15/24 10:04 AM

Topics: Podcast
Iris Nance

Iris Nance is an experienced insurance agent who helps people optimize their coverage to meet their needs. With a celebrated career of over 26 years in the insurance industry, she worked as a bank examiner for over 10 years. Iris is deeply committed to education, mentorship, and community service, actively participating in programs for students and young entrepreneurs. A proud member of NAIFA, she has served on the board and has taken on leadership roles within the association. Recognized for her perseverance, advocacy for continuous learning, and strategies for balancing work and family life, Iris inspires many as a role model in the financial services industry.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • [03:45] Iris Nance shares her professional background transitioning from a bank examiner to owning a successful insurance agency
  • [11:02] The importance and impact of mentorship on Iris' career path and her commitment to mentoring others
  • [16:18] Iris' motivation and dedication to her independence
  • [20:43] Financial planning, retirement, and business growth in the insurance industry
  • [27:10] Embracing and integrating new technologies like AI into business practices
  • [29:28] Iris talks about her experience rising through the ranks at NAIFA and the lessons she learned about leadership
  • [36:26] How to handle pushback from potential clients in the insurance industry

In this episode…

The financial services industry is a complex and dynamic space that demands high expertise and professionalism, particularly in the insurance sector. What if you had the inspiration to conquer them through self-reliance, education, and perseverance? Would it make a difference to be guided by someone who's walked that path?

Iris Nance, an accomplished insurance agent and a beacon of hope for many in the industry, has overcome adversity through dedication and a lifelong commitment to learning. Finding empowerment and independence as an entrepreneur in the insurance industry, she has embraced mentorship roles to guide the next generation. Iris emphasizes sharing your experiences with others to enrich their potential and perpetuate a culture of motivated professionals. Although industry changes can be intimidating, Iris suggests adopting new technology and tools to advance your practice areas.

In this episode of Advisor Today, Chris Gandy and Suzanne Carawan sit down with insurance agent Iris Nance to discuss how to build a successful career in the insurance industry while advocating for education and mentoring. Iris shares how she transitioned from a bank examiner to owning a successful insurance agency, the importance and impact of mentorship, and her experience rising through the ranks at NAIFA.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, or NAIFA, the #1 association for producers in financial services.

At NAIFA, we enhance professional skills, promote ethical conduct, and advocate for legislative and regulatory environments.

By joining NAIFA, you gain access to a partnership that elevates your performance while providing greater purpose to your professional work. NAIFA members are happier, make more money, and stay in the business longer.

Get in touch with NAIFA and learn more about how to join NAIFA by visiting NAIFA.org.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:02 

Welcome to NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series, where we focus on how financial advisors work, live and give to their local communities and our greater financial services industry. Now, let's get started with the show.

Chris Gandy 0:20

Hi everyone this is your co-host Chris Gandy from Advisor Today's podcast, I'm here with my wonderful co-host, Suzanne Carawan. Suzanne, happy day to you. How are you?

Suzanne Carawan 0:32 

I'm doing great, Chris, thanks. Always great to be here excited about our guest today.

Chris Gandy 0:36 

Wonderful. So, Suzanne, you're always smiling and always a positive reinforcement of that as NAIFA, we're doing all the wonderful things. So with that, I know you're out scouring creating relationships. And so some of those relationships resulted in sponsors and things like that, that allow for us to do what we do here. And so can you share with us who our sponsor is for today's program?

Suzanne Carawan 0:58 

Sure, I'd be delighted because today's sponsor is Hearos of Zero, you can go to hearoszero.com. And what's exciting about this, this is an upcoming event that's happening may 16 and 17th, in Nashville, Tennessee, a real hotspot as it is. And it's for people that we all know very well at NAIFA. But if you're outside the NAIFA's circle, maybe you're not aware that if you're a member of undefined, you get to rub elbows with these types of people. So we've got Ed Slot, Tom Hagner, David McKnight, and Van Muller all Hearos Zero. And because of that, we're happy to be able to say to all NAIFA members, there's a $250 discount that you can get, as well, as you can hear John D. Richardson, one of our up and coming stars and NAIFA, past NAIFA, Tennessee president, he's also going to be speaking about why NAIFA is also a hero of zero. So again, that's may 16, and 17th. In Nashville, if you're a NAIFA member, you get $250 off live do is call into our line, or hit me up. And I'll give you the code for that. And we're very excited to have Hearos zeroes and David McKnight will be at our APEX conference in September at the Arizona Biltmore to talk about information he has with his new book, and he was on I want to say, Chris, with you and I, maybe two or so weeks ago, and it's great to have that in the family. And then speaking of Van Muller, our guest today is Iris Nance from Farmers down in Virginia. But I want to mention it because one of the other things we're able to do, Van Mueller is a longtime member. We got together with Gabrielle Renea, who's another member and she said, hey, we'd like to have a way to have Van Muller come speak at our embrace conference. And so we were able to facilitate that and have Van Muller at the conference and when you know who else was at the conference, but our own guests, Iris Nance, so pull it all full circle, because we're NAIFA, members are good things are happening. So welcome to the program. Iris.

Iris Nance 2:54 

Thank you. And by the way, I'm from Nashville, so I might have to check that out.

Suzanne Carawan 2:58 

Oh, you're originally from Nashville, Nashville. I'm just down now in the Tidewater area now.

Chris Gandy 3:04 

So Iris so welcome to the Advisor Today's podcast, where we talk about all things of all things. So, you know, people may have seen you before, but they may not know who you are, they may not know how to approach you. So this is a way for our, our NAIFA's contingency to get a chance to really know you and kind of feel like we're having a conversation. So with that being said, share with us a little bit about your practice. Are you in personal production? Are you in management are you and tell us a little bit about your practice where you practice at. And then kind of the focus of your practice if I was to come to you today.

Iris Nance 3:45 

So again, my name is Iris Nance, I'm happy to be here. This is a little bit out of my comfort zone, but I'm gonna make it work. I am a Farmers Insurance Agent. I've been a Farmers Insurance Agent now for 26 years. My background I was a bank examiner with the FDIC for over 10 years got married at that Job was not an accident travel. So as you can imagine having a husband and children at that career was out the door. So my husband and I had just happened to was trying to figure out ways for me to be available for the girls. I have twin daughters, Ashley, Megan, then at 29 We were trying to figure out a way for me to be available for them. And so I just happened to get a postcard in the mail from Farmers and about agency ownership and I don't even think I knew what I was getting myself into but it allowed me to be available for my birthday cheer. They rolled. They played an orchestra. They got an awesome opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall and my husband and I we were able to support them in all of that. So a Farmers has been great. My practice is primarily property and casualty. I am securities licensed so we do provide financial services as well. And just wanted to share how I got in NAIFA. Jeff Lane, I don't know if you guys know Jeff Lane. He was the president of a tower chapter at the time, and encouraged me to sign up for LUTCFs. I got my LUTCF. And once I got that he told me I had to join off NAIFA not considered, he told me I had to. So when he said you had to just listen. And so that's how I ended up in NAIFA.

Chris Gandy 5:26 

Got it. So you were voluntold. I like that. I like the idea of giving someone direction, I get your LG TCF and then join the association. And this is the association that will lead to longevity. And this is where all the wonderful people hang out. So as Iris, you could have looked back, but you went from bank examiner, which is completely different than insurance and financial services. What made you make the leap? Like how did you make the leap and say, you know what, I think this is what I want to do.

Iris Nance 6:05 

The only reason I did it, honestly, was the flexibility that agency ownership afforded to be there for my girls. Like I said, I don't think I really knew what I was getting into. And once I got into it, I realized what I didn't know which I'm thankful for that. And I got books to any kind of conference on the one conference I went to I was on the Farmers agent in the room as everybody else was Allstate. So I just found whatever I could to learn the business, so I could be successful.

Chris Gandy 6:36 

So you got into the business, flexibility allowed for you. I mean, you were in finance, right? So it wasn't a foreign language, right, you were able to utilize those skills that you had to transition. And then you became a NAIFA member, we'll talk about the progression of your NAIFA involvement and kind of some of the things that you've done. But in having a conversation before this, and we're going to skip all that. And we're gonna go back to the fact you have twin daughters. Okay, if you want to talk to IRCD, talk to her about her twin. So tell us a little bit, you have twin daughters. Have you ever wanted to come into the business? Have you ever thought about, you know, maybe I should, you know, maybe this is something that I you know, when they were younger, and now they're 29? So tell us a little bit about kind of your thought there tell us a little bit about, are they involved in the business at all? Are they, maybe their client? I have no idea, I'm just asking the question, just kind of share with us a little bit, because I think, in our mind, all of us think feels like we're building something that becomes our lifelong legacy, right. And so, we would love for our kids to follow in our footsteps. But that doesn't always happen that way, right? Because they're individual crazy people, and they do whatever they want to do when you want to do it. But that's a whole another conversation about parent, but tell us a little bit about your twins, and kind of how financial services has allowed for you to share with them or give them opportunities that they might not have had unless you were in this space.

Iris Nance 8:14 

Well, part of that flexibility was bringing them to the office. So I actually had them working in the office when they were in high school, they would find all and not answer the phones. And now they want no parts of it. So my husband is an anesthesiologist and I guess that's what jumped on him because they actually went to VCU graduated one has a science degree. The other one has a degree in criminal justice and forensic science. And they're both in a nursing program. One wants to be a CRNA. And the other wants to be a she says she may pursue nurse practitioner, but they're both working on a second, BS, bachelor's degree in nursing. So I tried, and I would love to have them as part of the agency, but they want to do medicine. And one of the things I'm so grateful for is, before I got into insurance, I had my niece was passed away, just a random act of violence. And at the time, my husband was on deployment. And the girls and I were back in Virginia, and I realized at that moment, I didn't have life insurance on my family and myself because all I had was what was on the job. And so a New York Life guy came to see me and the one thing I really regret at that time, and I'm passionate about doing it myself, is that I was adamant about term insurance, and he didn't try to educate me on the benefits of getting permanent life insurance. So once I got into the business, I did get permanent life insurance on my kids and I've been able to pull from those policies to help them with school. So that's just been phenomenal.

Chris Gandy 9:51 

Wow, there's a lot in there. So there's so your story is interesting is that there's a lot of people they don't know the ins and outs of life insurance. They I know the benefits of it and how to use it right. But again, the idea of you going through the process, but there was a catalyst to doing that it was something happen that catapulted you into the realization that you know what I have to look around. And so how many clients are like that. And so it just reminds us that we have to do the right things, even when we don't make that feel like we need to as we need to be out there having conversations with people because there's a lot of people like you that fell in love with the business because it provided those things for you, once you once you got into it. Share with us a little bit about your mentorship and the opportunity to learn from others. Who would you say that you've looked up to in this business? And then how did they mentor you? And then last but not least is have you taken the time to mentor others and shared with others how you're passing the torch that way? 26 years? I mean, you come across a lot of people.

Iris Nance 11:02 

Yeah. So, the person who I would reference that mentored me just, and I'm gonna go back to the beginning is her name is Melinda Taylor. And I was secretary with the state for her and another high level executive in the Department of Education. And I can remember, I had to work and go to school. And so at that time, I asked them both if I could use my lunchtime to go to school and track and get my associate's degree. So once I finished my associate's degree, I made the comment that I was done. And she said, oh, no, you need to go back, get your four year degree. And me being the person that you forgot about figured out about me, when the right person tells me what to do I do it. So she told me to go back get my bachelor's and I did. And without that degree, I wouldn't have had the opportunity with FDIC, and I really don't think I would be where I am today, if I had listened to her to go and get my bachelor's degree and get my bachelor's degree in accounting. And so she was the major mentor that put me where I am today. But, of course, Jeff Lane already mentioned him, but another major mentor for me has been Tim Westerman. And I know y'all know, Tim, he has been just phenomenal. Because when I was first, well, I'll just go back when they asked me to serve on the board. So somebody came up to me, I was always at the meetings. And so somebody came to me say, Iris, I think you should be on the board. And I'm like, okay, and I didn't know what that meant, either. So I ended up on the NAIFA board. And then from there, Tim actually asked me to serve on state board, and then it was time for me to step in as the president of the Tidewater chapter. And I was really hesitant to do it. But if it wasn't for Tim, Tim encouraged me along the way. And even when we did the visits on the hill, he always let me tag along and just has been just a great mentor. I don't know if you guys know it, but he's retiring. So I'm really sad about that part. Yeah.

Suzanne Carawan 11:02 

Oh, breaking news right there on the podcast. I did not know that.

Iris Nance 13:04 

Yeah, he was in the helicopter with another colleague and announced it on. I saw it on YouTube. But yeah, he's retirement. But he has been just a phenomenal, phenomenal mentor for me, as far as NAIFA. And I'm always about giving back I'm actually a mentor, I mentor the students at the local high school, they have Entrepreneurship Academy, and also envision Lee Groves, a nonprofit that helps young girls open their own businesses. And so we get on a call once a month, and I meet with them and help them put together a business plan. So I've mentored those young girls as well. I'm all I'm all about giving back. I love it.

Suzanne Carawan 13:46 

So Iris, you've mentioned one thing I'd like to ask you is that you mentioned you kind of you got the postcard in the mail from farmers, you kind of fumbled your way into agency ownership. At what point did you realize you're a small business owner, and like you're part of the community and how important that is, and what that means to others?

Iris Nance 14:04 

I think I realized it early on, because I've always reached out to the high schools, because one of the things that I want to be able to do is there are kids out there just like me, like I started out who somebody kind of pushed me along to do more than I ever thought I could do. So I tried to reach out to the high schools in the inner city to try to bring those kids into the agency to assist and I've had some great students come through the agency, and just give them the opportunity that they wouldn't have otherwise. Because in my opinion, insurance is a great opportunity. If you don't want to go to college, if you don't want to go to college, you can work in insurance and have a great career. So that's always been something I've done from the very beginning just because somebody did it for me.

Chris Gandy 14:47 

Well, that's an interesting paths. So tell us, Iris, I'm going to ask some questions about just how you grew up. I mean, I'd like to know where to desire to Excel comes from so tell us a little bit about either your mother father, brother, are you an only child? Now is five brothers. Okay? Okay. Okay, perfect. I'm getting somewhere. So where do you fall in the pecking order of the five?

Iris Nance 15:15 

I'm the oldest

Suzanne Carawan 15:17 

Firstborn. Got it firstborn. So there we go.

Chris Gandy 15:21 

So it's fair to say that failure couldn't be an option for you unless you want it all your siblings to follow in your footsteps. And so there was a level of responsibility that you had, that the others didn't have. So where does your drive come from? And how do you continue 26 years in? I mean, you've done well, you and your husband anesthesiol. I mean, you guys have done well, you're empty nesters, the kids are on their own. They never off the payroll. But you know, the kids are still there. I don't know. But they're on our payroll.

Iris Nance 15:59 

Nursing degrees, they'll be off, but they're still on right now.

Chris Gandy 16:04 

Figure it out. So share with us your motivation. What motivates you? Where did your motivation where did he come from? And how do you continue to embrace it and use it going forward?

Iris Nance 16:18 

So it actually comes from the fact that I come from a single-parent household, I watched my mother struggle, and depended on other people to help her young people don't keep on saying, and so I did not want that to be my life. And so I knew the ticket for me would be to go to college. So I can remember going off to college, and I was trying to go away to college, and my mom was letting me because I was that little, I was the quiet one. I was the one she thought that if somebody said, Iris, let's go do this. I will go do it. But not really wasn't that kid. But anyway, my mom needed us to help her financially. So she didn't see college as a serious thing, unfortunately, because, you know, she got her high school education, and told me I had to help her. So I went and got a job. And it took me a while to get out of school just because I had to work and go to school. But I finally that was just watching my mom struggle was my motivation. I just wanted to have a life that was not bad.

Chris Gandy 16:39 

And so how do you continue to stay motivated? Right? I mean, you've been motivated to this point, is something just people ask all the time, like, Chris, do you wake up with like, on tan? Or what's the story? I'm like, man, I got to get there. So where does your motivation come from now. And looking at the future.

Iris Nance 17:56 

I think my motivation comes from me just wanting to be independent. I mean, people mess with me all the time and says, I don't have to work because I'm married to a doctor. And that's probably true. But I'd like my independence because just because I saw my mom being dependent on, you know, men to help her pay her bills and stuff, I've just, and believe me, my husband's glad on the way I am, he's glad, I want to be independent. But it just, it just comes from that. And, and I want to be that example to my girls, because I don't want them to feel like they have to depend on anybody else but themselves to be successful. So, with girls, you just got to always be, you know, showing them the exam.

Chris Gandy 18:37 

So Iris, what a wonderful example of stewardship by leading by example, and giving them life lessons by allowing for them to observe not only your work ethic, but seeing that, yeah, you could probably have a good life. But you can have even a better life and be able to be independent, even without someone else's involvement. So it's interesting you say that about physicians. There's a statistic out that 90% of physicians are within two paychecks of going broke, regardless of how much money they make, and I work with a lot of them. And you and I both know, if you know, your husband and your husband has other colleagues that are attending, you and I both know that 90% of them are really bad with money. It is what it is. And so, so many people believe that they're taken care of, but I can tell you that a lot of my practices in the medical space so I know I feel for you.

Iris Nance 19:41 

Well, I'll tell you about my husband, my husband grew up in a single-parent household too, and we both have the kind of the same mindset he is, man when it comes to business, he's clueless, but when it comes to the money part, he's a great saver. I mean, now what he does is he doesn't do a whole lot, but he spends money. What he wants to earn money on, but he's very good with, like saving and stuff. He's just part of an anomaly. People who used to we do deal with.

Suzanne Carawan 20:08 

So, can I ask that so you've so both you're coming from single-parent households. Now you're coming together. And Chris, what we were saying before is Iris can make it to congressional conferences here because she and her husband are celebrating their 30th year of anniversary, 30th wedding anniversary. But like the two of you coming together in that household, how did you come to one mind and what you're going to do financially with the girls and everything? Because that's interesting, right? You got the two, one whole household thing? Did you battle it out for a couple years. And you get on the same page, because also we're just saying you got married and bam, you have those twins right away.

Iris Nance 20:43 

Right. So I think part of it too, is that my husband had to like we had been married. We got married in May, I think maybe September, he went on deployment, and I had to take over the finances. I can remember when we first got married, of course we didn't have any kids at the time. And we noticed that we had insufficient funds in the checking account, like wait a minute, we make too much money. And of course, he wasn't making much but I was make out I was the major breadwinner there because he was in medical. He was just got out of medical school. But we sat down and I grass where I did, I made a spreadsheet and we were eating out so much that we didn't realize how much we were eating out and we stopped. And I think we just have the A like mindset. But I've been handling the bills ever since the finances of the house or ever since he went on deployment. And he just he never took it back. So I think we just came together at that time. It just kind of stayed there.

Chris Gandy 21:36 

Just one way forward. Right? Yes, you got there. So share with us a little bit about your vision for the future. I always ask people, what's their exit strategy for our business? Because it's one of those things that the business has never really celebrated while we were building it. We spent so much time energy and effort. So share with us your future? Where are you trying to take your practice? What are you trying to do? Share with us your vision for the future for, you're not done yet? You just began? You know, you got to catch John Wheeler, who's like 62 years in the business. There's a lot of time. I mean, I'm not saying you're gonna do all that. But you know, at the end of the day, share with us the vision for your business going forward?

Iris Nance 22:25 

Well, now you mentioned that I met some agents at the Embrace conference, that have been in the business, just want to say she'd been in the business 40 years. And I'm like, wow. So that's what I love about what I do is that I can do it as long as I want to. And I've watched my mother-in-law and my mother retire, and literally go to the house. And now they're having troubles with mobility, and moving around with walkers and needing a lot of assistance. And so I don't want that to be my story. One of the things that I'm wanting to do with the practice as well as off of Medicare, and I'm probably going to use that as part of retirement whenever I decide to do that. I mean, it was just so exciting to me to meet somebody who's been in this business for 40 years, and she looks great. And so if I can continue to do this now, not my exit strategy is to wish my kids could take it, but that's not going to happen. But I would have to, you know, find a buyer for the agency. That's pretty much it, and then keep the Medicare book and be able to work that as long as I want to.

Chris Gandy 23:29 

You mentioned this embrace conference for those who don't know what that is. Can you give it a little bit of light? Because it sounds very inclusive. It sounds very uplifting. But what is the Embrace conference? I mean, is it this, you know, where everybody gets together and they hug and say, okay, hey, thank you for a week is I mean, what is the Embrace conference? What is that?

Iris Nance 23:53 

Well, I guess that was Gabrielle's vision. And like I said, I think initially it started out as a way for the Hispanic agents to come together. And it just expanded from there. But I've met some agents I hadn't seen in a while. And we have a Facebook page of both all the successful agents. And so I met some of those guys. And the speakers that they had were phenomenal. Of course fan Muller was there. This gentleman I can't think of his name right now been 80 years old. And on top of the table NBR T guy, he was phenomenal. And so the first time I tend to embrace they did it online, because it was when COVID was going on and it wasn't as great as this one that was in person. And I didn't go the next year but the year after that a lot of agents on that Facebook page I'm a part of were just raving about how great the conference was. So I decided to go this year, met some agents who I wouldn't have met otherwise. It was just great to connect and to be able to learn from both successful ages because I had a panel on really successful agents who shared what the things that they're doing to reach top toppers and President's Council and MDRT. So I like want to stuff like that because you got to always be learning in order to be better in this business. You got to always be learning.

Chris Gandy 25:16 

ABL always be learning. Suzanne, we need a hashtag ABL on.

Iris Nance 25:22 

Randy, while I was there, Randy.

Suzanne Carawan 25:25 

Randy and Emily, were there. Yeah, that's right.

Chris Gandy 25:28 

So, this embrace conference. Can anybody come? Is it just for Farmers agents? Oh, tell me a little bit more about this opportunity that exists? And I'm assuming this embrace conference happens once a year? Where was it? Where did it happen this year?

Iris Nance 25:43 

It was in Las Vegas,

Chris Gandy 25:44 

Las Vegas lost wages. Okay.

Iris Nance 25:47 

So I think she's been having this conference, this might have been maybe the fourth year. And I think what she's trying to do is a lot, you know, they have the toppers and they have the President's counsel for the exclusive agents who make those levels. But what about those agents who are back here who don't make those levels, who maybe want to learn on how to get to the next level. And I think that that's what you see most of there's mostly agent, one agent, and I met has been an agent for three years. So it was a just from all levels of experience. So it was awesome. But it is farmers agents.

Chris Gandy 26:24 

So Iris, are you sitting back saying, what do I need to do to get to the next level? Are you saying how do I become the best version of myself? Because this opportunity, that's I'm learning from? What are your thoughts now, because people go to conferences, I asked you this, because people go to conferences, they come back, you're all juiced up, they come back with a big binder that looks like this. They come back with a big binder, they say, oh my gosh, look at all this stuff I have learned. And then it goes on the shelf. And it never gets seen again. So what are you doing now to embrace the things you learned? Look that, great, but she learned at the Embrace conference.

Iris Nance 27:10 

So one of the things I know it's huge right now is AI. And I've been so hesitant to deal with AI, I'm like, okay, I don't understand it. But I met this agent who stopped for a minute and said, Hey, here's the app, I put the app on my phone, I asked the question of as a Medicare question, created a post and sent out to all my clients. I met, we don't have district managers in Virginia, but I met three phenomenal female district managers who shared that information with me. So if I have any issues, I have any questions, I can reach out to them. So just that alone was just, I mean, that was invaluable in itself, just the connections that I made. And as a matter of fact, I did another AI question this morning that I'm going to post all that just that I'm not scared of it as much as I was before.

Chris Gandy 28:01 

Embracing technology.

Iris Nance 28:03 

Why is it technology? Yeah, sometimes it's scary.

Chris Gandy 28:06 

Embracing technology. So talk to me a little bit about your relationship with NAIFA for now. So it sounds like you and I don't know the answer to those sounds like you've gone through, you volunteered? Well, as you mentioned, you were there. voluntold you were there, when someone tapped me on the shoulder and say hey, by the way, you can leave better from being in the front. And someone talks you into yes, going through the chair. So I want to talk about going through the chairs as a female, going through the chairs as a minority for you. Okay, and then kind of being in the space in the inner space where you are a minority female running an agency and insurance agencies specifically because of the dynamics of the industry. Share with us a little bit about what are some of the challenges and struggles you have from there. So let's start with the first question that I kind of threw out there was how did you go through that? How did you decide to go through the chairs and tell us a little bit about your experience as a female and as a minority going through the chairs in a state where you might have been the first.

Iris Nance 29:27 

And I am the first in this state but anyway I don't think I got the direction I needed initially to go through those different chairs because I think they started me out as if a pack. I had no idea what that was and I never ever they kept saying there was somebody that did it for years who could assist me and I never could connect with them. And then I moved up to what is it before you become the president? President-Elect, and I put that off as long as I could, and then I just have to step. But I think I just got it in my mind okay Iris, you're gonna have to just go ahead and just do this. And that's what prompted me like, I need to go to congressional conference I need to do legally. And I did all those things, so I could be better prepared to lead because I'm that person. I'm the worker bee, you tell me what to do. And I do it. I'm not wanting to step up and lead. But LILY definitely helped. And Susan, and Rose don't feed them to Susan and Rose, Rose go here, they were phenomenal in helping me get myself moving forward to lead. I mean, it's still a struggle, because some of the men in the group kind of won't let me do what I need to do it, I've had to speak up a couple of times. But I mean, that's part of becoming the leader. So it's gotten better. And, you know, even you know, before I got to, to NAIFA, anything I ever went to outside of Farmers and he with Farmers, we're the minority, I'm sometimes I'm the only black female in the room. So I've just had to navigate through that. And I've done it.

Chris Gandy 31:24 

So not only have you done it, but it sounds like you've done it pretty successfully.

Iris Nance 31:28 

I'd like to think I have.

Chris Gandy 31:29 

Okay, I'd like to think that too.

Suzanne Carawan 31:32 

Be a little reluctant.

Chris Gandy 31:33 

You've done it successfully, it sounds like you did it in in your agency and your community, you continue to do it through mentorship. Sounds like you've done it, and been a shining example for NAIFA. And in the state. Even when not being invited, you were like I'm going to seek out opportunities to involve yourself. And so what an amazing space that is for you. Tell us now where that kind of leaves you because you're kind of a one-man band, like you're on an island. Right? And so what's the next opportunity? And why is well, let me ask this connection with NAIFA, why is the NAIFA relationship important to you? What does it represent you NAIFA.

Iris Nance 32:26 

So a couple of things is the education opportunities. Although I have my securities license, and we have training through Farmers, but it's, I don't even know how to describe it. It's not as I want to just say I get more from what I get out of NAIFA, just because I guess NAIFA is all about financial services. And so I've been able to take advantage of the training opportunities there. I've met some great connections, I mean, with you, too. I mean, I would have never met you guys if I had gone to compression conference. So I'm just so thankful for that. And then from there, I was able to connect with the National Association of African American, you probably met right insurance. So I'm now a member there. And I'm going to try to get more involved there as well. So, I mean, like I said, without NAIFA, I wouldn't have these great connections. Without NAIFA, I wouldn't, you know, be able to take advantage and learn more on the financial services side than from what I'm learning, because you always need to have multiple ways to learn. And so I'm just thankful for that. I mean, as a matter of fact, when I was going through LILY, one of the assignments was to go to the NAIFA website and look up certain things, and I didn't even realize some of the information that was there. So LILY helped me to be able to navigate the website better to find opportunities to learn more. So it's been great.

Chris Gandy 33:55 

Well, we all know the website...

Iris Nance 33:59 

I've been in a member NAIFA maybe 10 years. But I never, never knew all the stuff that was on that website, which is kind of sad, but at least I got to admit Lilly criticals Great.

Chris Gandy 34:13 

I will tell you that I'm still trying to find all the stuff on the website, there's so much because the reservoirs are so deep that it's hard. It's a challenge to navigate at times. And so there's so much there. Sometimes it's easier for others to pointed out but again, they pointed you in the direction. So kudos for going through Lilly. Lilly was an experience for me. I went through it. You went through what did you gain the most out of the securities?

Iris Nance 34:45 

Probably the biggest thing I learned from Lilly was, of course the community of the people in the class with me we still kind of stay in touch with everything we're talking about, like meeting monthly just to kind of stay in touch with everybody, but it made me sit down and really look at my numbers, which, I look at him kind of briefly on a daily basis, but to dig deep and look at my numbers, that was really eye-opening. And so it allowed me to put some things in place that I probably would have put in place a long time ago.

Chris Gandy 35:23 

Yeah, I would say for Lily, for me, it was okay to let your true authentic self through. The eulogy broke me.

Iris Nance 35:38 

Yeah, that was a good one too.

Chris Gandy 35:40 

That exercise in self-reflection, and realizing that the impact we have on the lives in which we touch is so important. It sounds like you're doing all those wonderful things in your community. Suzanne, do you have another question for Miss Iris before we get off to the lightning round?

Suzanne Carawan 36:02 

I was just going to ask Iris, one thing I'd love to just hear really quickly is what is your mindset when you encounter people who are giving you pushback, or they're seemingly not helping to? You kind of mentioned briefly, right? When you encounter someone who's giving you that, that pushback, they're not allowing you to get to where you need to go? How do you persevere?

Iris Nance 36:26 

My husband describes me as the most non-confrontational person. I'm that person. But I think in that moment, and because of that happened once before I just knew it was time for me to speak up. And so to say unfortunate, but it takes a lot to get me there. And there were other females in the room. And I knew I had to be that example. So I just said what I had to say and everything came towards it.

Chris Gandy 36:56 

So no, Iris, I'm gonna say this and Suzanne out there. My I'll save it for the end. I'll say save my comments for the end. But let's go to the lightning round. Is a pleasure having this conversation with you. We wish you could be a congressional conference this year. We understand there are other things in life. Montego Bay. Miss Iris, where are we going for...

Iris Nance 37:29 

We got to Montego Bay. That's where we honeymooned and we hadn't been back since then. So we're going to go back.

Chris Gandy 37:34 

Awesome. Awesome. Well enjoy yourself. So Miss Iris, we're gonna jet off to the lightning round. And the lightning round is where you and I are just having a conversation, whatever comes off the top of your head. That's the answer. By the way, I love your book in the back Playing In The Wind. Some people will Suzanne, observe and some people are observant. Right, I observed Playing to Win, which means she's got a winning mindset. Oh, yeah. I also see in the back she has a Seven Rules of Life just to remind her of the basic things that basically if I'm not doing these things, I'm not moving ahead. Iris I'm not giving you I'm just saying I see some things around you, excellent every day. I see them so with that being said, we'll go to the lightning round again. Whatever comes off the top your head that is the answer. There's nothing that's hard here. We won't ask you your political affiliation, what you do in grade school? We're not gonna ask you any of that. It's just to kind of get to know you. So when people see you at NAIFA events that you feel comfortable coming up to you and saying, I was I enjoy seeing you on the podcast. Okay. So with that being said, Miss Iris, tell us your favorite food.

Iris Nance 37:34 

My favorite food is anything seafood. Salmon specific. I love Salmon.

Chris Gandy 37:56 

Okay, so salmon. Okay. See, see, that was easy. See, it wasn't hard. Tell us if you could go anywhere in the world, you and your husband, anywhere in the world all expenses paid, where would you go and why?

Iris Nance 39:13 

It would be Hawaii. And I think it's just because that's where I wanted to go initially. And we didn't have enough time. That's got to have maybe at least a week to go to that place. But I would love to go to Hawaii. I've told my husband several times. So hopefully he surprise me at some point.

Chris Gandy 39:28 

If there are other young, aspiring women looking at you in this industry, what are the two things that you would want them to mimic of your behavior?

Iris Nance 39:44 

The first thing I would say is don't be afraid when it gets hard. Because I see a lot of agents who leave the business when it gets difficult. I mean, you just got to do a switch and say I was on sale and go from there. Another thing I would say is always be available to mentor someone else. I mean, because you've got some people who don't want to, I've had somebody tell me that they didn't want to volunteer or serve on a nonprofit, because they didn't have the type of clients that she wanted, which I thought was pretty awful. So just be willing to serve when you give it comes back to hundredfold so.

Chris Gandy 40:32 

Legacy. How do you want to be remembered in this role?

Iris Nance 40:39 

I just want to be remembered as the person who, when you need them get there. And I'll just tell you something really funny. One of my clients. I put the insurance on a house that he has a family house, and I went out to deliver, document says mom, and as soon as I walked up on my she needs a roof. And so it took the carrier a long time to let them know that but they got the information to the union new rules. And so I refer them to someone which was to turn out to be somebody they knew the mom was friends with the mom with the person's mom. And so when I called to check on him and told him to the rooftop beautiful because they sent me pictures. And he said, I've told somebody if it's between Jesus and Iris, I know I'm gonna be all right. I don't know if I'm a bad, but thank you.

Suzanne Carawan 41:31 

That's a good endorsement. That's a good referral.

Chris Gandy 41:38 

Last question for you is if you can go back in history and have dinner with anyone, whether it's they're living now or back in time, you could go back, who would you have dinner with, and why?

Iris Nance 41:50 

It has to be somebody famous, can be whoever you want. I think I would say Melinda Taylor, the lady who pushed me to go back and get my degree, that forever changed my life. I mean, she's gone on to be with the Lord and, and if I if I could see her going, I would just thank her profusely and give her a great big old hug and a kiss and just thank her for I don't think she even realized the impact she had on me just by telling me to go back and get my degree.

Suzanne Carawan 42:19 

Look at you now.

Iris Nance 42:21 

I'm about to shed a tear just thinking about it. Yeah.

Chris Gandy 42:24 

Your Iris this this podcast, Suzanne, we've actually had a couple of people break on this podcast, that last question, helps us think about the people in our lives who have meant so much to us, and they've impacted us. And whether we told them we gave them their flowers while they're here or not. They've inspired us in ways beyond words. So Miss Iris, you have NAIFA nation listening, anything you want to tell NAIFA nation and your brand new people coming into the industry, that's looking at you saying I want to be like Iris one day.

Iris Nance 43:00 

I would just encourage everybody to please, please get involved with NAIFA. I mean, my first time going to the Hill, I realized the significance of alpha advocacy and some of the laws and stuff the politicians wanted to pass that could adversely affect us in our in our careers. If we could just get more people got even from Virginia, we'd have maybe, considering the number of people in the Tidewater chapter. It's a small amount of us that go but I've just encouraged everybody, I think if you go one time, you want to go, you want to keep going.

Chris Gandy 43:33 

I would echo that. Suzanne, thank you so much, Iris. Suzanne, do you have anything before I close this up?

Suzanne Carawan 43:41 

I would just say thank you, Iris. It's always a pleasure. Looking forward to seeing soon.

Iris Nance 43:45 

Okay, you too.

Chris Gandy 43:46 

Miss Iris, I will tell you that you are a humble servant to many. Out of all the things you said today, I would say that you are you are humble, but you are focused, obviously. And thank you so much for your service. I know that your mother would be so proud of you and that you've led so many people by inspiration. And so now you have an opportunity to give back and you continue to do that in numerous ways in your community. And thank you for being an aspiring leader for diverse professionals in leadership because again, you can sit on the sidelines and say I am okay, but you've decided that you want to lead from the front as an agency owner. So thank you so much for being on the podcast. And thank all of you for tuning in to Advisor Today's podcast where we uplift. And we promote the voice of all of you. And thank you so much and we look forward to seeing you soon at congressional conference and soon coming Apex so get ready for that. We're super excited about that. We're going to be out in Phoenix and it was a lot of warm So we'll be out there having a great time learning, living and loving everyone and look forward to seeing everyone on the next Advisor Today podcast. We'll see you soon. Thanks.

Outro 45:13 

Thanks for joining us for NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series. Make sure to subscribe to get future episodes and if you're interested in coming on the show, let us know.



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