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Celebrating Women in Insurance on International Women’s Day

At UNICO, we are proud to have a team where over 60% of our team members are female. These women make countless contributions every day, and on International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate their achievements.

To highlight some of the remarkable women at UNICO, Jordyn Zehr, Marketing Intern, conducted interviews with team members. The interviews focused on their experiences as women in the industry, their personal experiences at UNICO, and their sources of inspiration.

Linsey Renner

HR Talent and Recruitment Manager

Alysha Border

Training and Development Coordinator

Vera Schneider

Group Benefits Consultant

Heather Schmidt

Director of Group Benefits Operations

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“International Women’s Day is a day of awareness, celebration, and inspiration. A day in recognition of the achievements and positive change advancing the footprint of THE woman. Intentional paving of fair and equitable gender parity and support through charitable fundraising.” – Linsey

“International Women’s Day is a day to honor women who have succeeded in the business world.” – Vera

“International Women’s Day celebrates the accomplishments of women around the world. While inspiring, it is also a reminder of how far we still have to go. I hope we are able to continue to build a world that makes being a woman easier for the next generation.” – Heather

Who is a woman that inspires you?

“My grandmother was and is my true inspiration. True to her word, solid in her standing, and incredibly hard working. Started her career in Nursing as the first graduating class, worked as a servant to the people for several decades, and at retirement was hanging her hat as their faithful leader, Director of Nursing. This woman has ingrained into me the art of critical thinking, working hard, and with a fiery passion for life.” – Linsey

“My mom is the woman in my life that inspires me most. What inspires me about her is that she has a lot of tenacity and always makes the best of things. She’s been through a lot and always finds ways to keep going and be kind to everyone. 

There have also been a lot of really great women that I’ve worked with at UNICO. So many women that I’ve worked with have had a “figure it out” mentality that inspires me to keep moving forward and find a way through things. There have been many women here that have inspired me to be approachable and helpful wherever I can be, as I once needed a lot of help from them too.” – Alysha

“Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady of the United States, is a woman that really inspires me. What inspires me most is that she was truly a humanitarian. Her unwavering dedication to advocating for children’s rights are very influential. She’s very honorable.” – Vera

Have you encountered any obstacles in your career? How did you overcome them?

“Absolutely! As a woman, I am aware of the perception and often disparity that is lent to the woman working class. At one time, my husband was really wanting me to stay home with the children – as a high achiever and prideful of my work I was terrified of what that was going to do for my career as a woman. To attempt to offset that, I intentionally worked full time, obtained my MBA online, and carried our third child (with complications due to stress) to maintain a competitive edge once entering back into the working world. An exuberant amount of effort due to the gender that I possess and our world’s perception of such. However, these efforts led to not being able to sit still and continuing into entrepreneurial efforts and consulting. I’ve learned more about myself through these challenges life has presented itself and take that as a blessing.” – Linsey

“Traditionally, I would say that insurance, sales, or brokers tend to be male-dominated roles. It’s definitely been an obstacle throughout my career, especially early in my career.” – Vera

“The biggest obstacle I have encountered, and so many other working mothers have, is trying to build a career and raise my children. For the majority of my career, employers were not flexible, and I was expected to have back-up care when daycare was closed, or my children were sick. Many of those years I was a single parent and did not have family living in the state. It was extremely difficult to balance work and my children. I’m thankful the world has changed, and more employers recognize the importance of men and women being able to care for their families and have a career.” – Heather

What advice would you give to women starting their careers in the insurance industry?

“Dig Deep. Here’s what we know – at the start of everything you do we know that there is going to be a lot of time wrapped up in  learning. It’s comprehending what the heck all that means and then applying it to whatever you’re doing. And that takes time, often a lot more than we want to anticipate and account for (years). It’s uncomfortable to feel like a fish out of water but this is when you build a whole lot of resiliencies and one of the few noted times in your career where you will experience a massive and expansive amount of information all at once. A smooth sea never makes for a skilled sailor.” – Linsey

“First, be motivated. It’s important to be self-motivated and be driven in your career. Accept and embrace challenges. Challenges will help you think differently and grow. Lastly, one step back can actually be two steps forward.” – Vera

“Speak up! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and demand answers. I would also encourage women to grab the hand of other females as you climb the ladder. We shouldn’t fight for the one spot at the table, but instead, make more room.” – Heather

How has UNICO empowered you in your career?

“UNICO empowers me to have a voice by being inclusive and curious. Collaboration is strong within this organization and valuable thoughts are not partitioned by “role” or “gender.” I am utilized and valued for the skillsets that I bring to the organization – I am not alone in this, we are inclusive in this mentality and it makes a massive difference!” – Linsey

“UNICO is just a great place to work. They really support you on so many different levels. They support their brokers and their staff. They provide technology. Basically, there’s no limit to what you can do.” – Vera

“UNICO was the first employer I have had in my 28 years of employment that stands behind their core values. They truly want family to come first and that shows from the top down. It gives people the ability to take care of the things they care about so they can be their best at work. I love that we are supported to hire the right people and let them do their best work.” – Heather

UNICO’s tagline is “Where connections make a difference,” what has that difference been for you?

“I love the people at UNICO. Even has staff has changed over the years, there’s been consistency and longevity. With that, you get to know your coworkers really well. I believe that you need to surround yourself with really great coworkers, especially since you spend more waking hours with them than anybody else. You have to find ways to have fun, and UNICO does that. It’s important to be positive and enjoy getting to know others.

In addition, there have been quite a few times that team members at UNICO have shown their care for me in a lot of different ways. For instance, when my husband was unexpectedly in the hospital and out of work for a while, I received a care package with gift cards and food. It made a huge difference in our lives at the time. The consistent caring and kind people I’ve met here have made all the difference.” – Alysha

“The people. I genuinely care about the people I work with, and I know they care about me. I’m blessed to work with such innovative, thoughtful, hard-working individuals. I’m excited for the future and watching the organization and our people grow.” – Heather