By Kris Maccini, Head of Digital Distribution, Triple-I
Dale Sharpe Jenkins, M.S., CIC, AINS, principal/proprietor, The Jenkins Agency Incorporated, is fast to level out that she didn’t select a profession in insurance coverage – insurance coverage selected her. A primary-generation faculty graduate, Jenkins sought a career that would offer her and her household with alternatives. She started her profession in life insurance coverage at a small firm in Columbus, Ohio earlier than shifting on to Progressive Insurance coverage and opening its first claims workplace in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Insurance coverage performs an essential position in our lives. The insurance coverage business has allowed me to make an important residing and assist folks with their wants on the identical time.”
Finally, Jenkins moved right into a senior building underwriter place at St. Paul Insurance coverage Corporations (now Vacationers) and made the shift from claims to underwriting. Whereas it was a rewarding place, Jenkins began a household and wished extra flexibility in her profession. In 1998, she leveraged her expertise in building to construct The Jenkins Company Integrated, an impartial company based mostly in Arlington, Texas, specializing in industrial underwriting for building, spiritual organizations, and different non-profits.
“We write property/casualty, life, well being, and group advantages. Most of our clients are small Black-owned companies, and we’re minority licensed. I’m happy with what our company has been capable of do for the Black enterprise neighborhood. Their success is our success.”
Variety has been on the epicenter of Jenkins’ profession. The Dallas Black Chamber has acknowledged the company for its work within the Black neighborhood; the Dallas-Fort Value (DFW) Airport named The Jenkins Company Integrated as its Variety Champion of 2023 on the SOAR Awards this 12 months; and Enterprise Insurance coverage Journal has additionally acknowledged the company for its range efforts.
In 2008, Jenkins joined the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA), the place she was a member of the founding Board of Administrators and served as president of the Dallas chapter for 3 years. Since 2011, the NAAIA DFW Scholarship Foundation has offered monetary awards to highschool and faculty college students considering careers in insurance coverage, finance, and advertising.
“I’m very targeted on offering [insurance] business consciousness to younger folks beginning out or attempting to find a profession for themselves. I used to be on the receiving finish early in my profession, and it’s good to offer again now.”
The Jenkins Company Integrated celebrates its 25th anniversary this 12 months. Reflecting on the previous 20 years, Jenkins feels blessed to be in her present place. She based her firm on her personal and not using a e-book of enterprise and constructed it from the bottom up, counting on referrals. Her husband, Jeff, joined the enterprise in 2000.
“Within the early years, we had been in survival mode. We realized if we may make it to 5 years, we may make it to 10. Hiring our first staff was a spotlight, and most of them have been with us for over a decade.”
Like each small enterprise, The Jenkins Company skilled challenges in its preliminary years. Jenkins remembers the troublesome transition from working in a big firm to operating her personal enterprise and sustaining a piece/life steadiness.
“Whether or not working for your self or others, flexibility is essential when you find yourself working and elevating a household. Having my very own enterprise granted me that flexibility. I used to be capable of work round my daughters’ schedules and nonetheless handle obligations on the workplace. Having your individual enterprise doesn’t imply you’re employed much less; in my expertise, you’re employed extra however with the benefit is with the ability to handle your day.”
To this present day, Jenkins cites her two daughters as inspiration, together with different up-and-coming professionals. Each of her daughters have profitable careers–her youngest daughter as a danger supervisor for a municipality in Texas and her oldest daughter as a enterprise proprietor in California and a school professor. Entrepreneurship runs within the household. Jenkins’ father was additionally a enterprise proprietor.
Jenkins, who teaches danger administration on the College of Texas in Arlington, can also be motivated by her college students. “My inspiration comes from the youthful era and the way they embrace range and steadiness work and residential. I’m additionally impressed with their expertise.”
Relating to the continued efforts to push for range, fairness, and inclusion within the business, Jenkins is cheering on this era and asks younger Black professionals to not lose floor.
“My era needed to maneuver differently. We tried to slot in in any approach we may–from hair to speech. This era has a voice, and they don’t seem to be afraid to be heard. To them I say…Maintain your abilities sharp so there is no such thing as a query whether or not you are able to do the job and be happy with who you might be.”
Trying to take part in discussions round addressing disparities and dealing in direction of a extra inclusive and equitable insurance coverage panorama? Join Empowering the Community: The Importance of Insurance in the Black Community, hosted on September 12 by The Black Insurance Industry Collective (BIIC).
Dale Sharpe Jenkins, M.S., CIC, AINS is an academic member of the Insurance coverage Info Institute by way of her affiliation with the College of Texas at Arlington.