Danielle Byrne manages to juggle a husband who travels often, two young children and her own agency — and do it well. As a mother with a full-time business, she still puts her children first, refusing to allow guilt or remorse for missing business-related matters to play a part in her life. As a child who grew up with absent parents, she’s working each day to be present not only in business, but also at home.
With a successful young career where she is in control of her income, makes a real difference in peoples’ lives and still has flexibility she needs to be there for her family, Byrne can’t imagine doing anything else.
Byrne, who serves as agency owner of Tristate East with Family First Life in Chesapeake, Va., recently took the time to respond to the following questions for this week’s Women’s Insurance Network Producer Profile feature.
How and when did you get your start in the insurance industry?
I started in the insurance industry in 2012 after graduating with my MBA from St. Leo University in Florida. I responded to a Craigslist ad. It seemed like it was a profitable field in which I could make my own schedule and be there for my son when he needed me.
I worked full time for four months as a captive agent until I became pregnant with my daughter. In those short four months I was very successful, but I took a full year off from insurance to cater to the pregnancy because of an extremely challenging experience with my firstborn and his delivery. When my daughter was nine months old, I was ready to roll and went back to insurance full time, but this time as an independent agent.
Admittedly, I entered the field of insurance because of the flexibility and the excellent compensation. I stay in insurance because it’s so much more than I could have ever dreamed possible. I absolutely love helping people with the most critical decisions they make that will affect their family. I protect them from the worry and heartache they may have gone through when another family member left this earth without life insurance.
This business takes on an entirely new face when you get your first death claim. In addition to that, we almost lost my husband in 2013 due to an accident. Tomorrow is not promised. Protect what you hold dear today.
How do you juggle being a mother, wife and having your own practice?
I have two full-time staff people who love me and understand me. They respect my plight as a wife and mother. They work hard to make sure that all the little things — and the big things — are covered for me. Without them, everything would be a mess! The blessings poured on me throughout my life are countless and I’m very grateful for them. I’m not just an ordinary wife and mother; my husband serves in the U.S. Navy full time and he is gone more than he is home.
How do you educate your clients and prospects as to the importance of insurance coverage? What method do you find most useful?
Honesty. Brutal honesty. Even if the truth hurts.
People can easily see how much I care about them from the first 30 seconds I meet them, so when I tell them they only have one option out of the 16 companies I work with because they’re on oxygen and in a wheelchair, it becomes very real. I’m there to serve and they aren’t confused about that. They accept my help.
Do you network with other women in the industry? What benefits do you draw from this?
Absolutely. I enjoy being around other strong women who are looking for a rewarding career that makes a difference. The benefits of association with other women are infinite. I draw strength and advice from them when I need it and vice versa.
As working mothers, we deal with parental guilt, scheduling and being everything to everyone all the time. In a traditional corporate work setting, getting a call from school that your child is sick can make you worry about being resented by other employees and cause tension in the workplace if it happens too often. I refuse to feel that way if my children need me. I want to be able to reschedule whatever I have going on at work and get to them, and do it free of guilt and remorse.
I want to go to every school holiday party, every Halloween parade, every music concert and still achieve all my goals financially for my family. My parents were absent growing up and the insurance industry has been critical to break that cycle.
- SEE ALSO: About Danielle Byrne
Emily Holbrook is a former Editor in Chief of National Underwriter Life & Health and Retirement Advisor magazine. She has covered the financial, risk management and insurance industries for more than a decade, with her work appearing in Risk Management, National Law Review and Huffington Post.Emily graduated with dual degrees in Finance and English and worked in the financial industry as a fixed income trading administrator and analyst before becoming a full-time writer and editor. Emily now owns her own writing, editing and content strategy company, Red Label Writing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.