(As NAIFA celebrates its 130th anniversary, several members are sharing what the association has done for them as they worked hard to move to the next level of success. The first of these stories is by NAIFA member and enthusiast, Aprilyn Chavez Geissler)
Candace Owens said that when she went to college, she “was afraid people would view me as a victim and an imposter.” Candace, of course, had to face challenges that she overcame, but she was not an imposter.
When I started in the financial-services industry, I felt like Candace did. I was afraid people would not take me seriously and would see me as a victim or judge me in some way for my past.
But they did not. NAIFA allowed me to meet people who made it possible for me to build my confidence. NAIFA provided me with the opportunity to gain knowledge and build professional relationships that allowed me to then use that confidence and knowledge to help others protect their futures and set up plans to achieve their financial goals.
Thanks to NAIFA, I was able to get past my past and channel my experiences. By spending time around successful agents and financial advisors, I was able to soak up knowledge and learned out of the box sales ideas I was not able to get from my captive company.
I broadened my horizons by doing joint work with other professionals and was able to learn other aspects of the industry in which I did not have experience. Several “old school” successful mentors took an interest in helping me and taught me old school methods and sales training that catapulted my career. If I were not a member of NAIFA, I would not have been able to gain access to these mentors, and would not have been exposed to the advocacy opportunities available in our industry,
Our current state Governor, formally state representative, Michelle Lujan Grisham, told me, “I voted the way I did on that bill because you were my office six months ago and explained how it would affect New Mexicans”. There is nothing like going on Capitol Hill and being a part of the process to effect change. NAIFA gave me the opportunity to do my small part to make a difference.
After serving on my local, state and national boards, I now embrace the experience and have confidence to serve as a leader on community and university boards.
By serving on NAIFA boards, I learned how to bring value as a leader and how to be relevant. NAIFA, through LILI and other programs, has taught me to be the leader I have aspired to be and the person I want others to remember.
I owe a huge debt to NAIFA for helping me become the credible leader I aspired to be—and not a victim of my circumstances who is afraid of success.
Aprilyn Chavez Geissler, LACP, is First Executive Vice President/Insurance Advisor with the Gateway Insurance Group. She is also a past NAIFA Trustee.