We're so proud, excited and amazed it has already been 10 years since Ruth started this as a "scratch" agency in 2006. We have supported the community through so many transitions and proud to continue to serve our Bay Area family.
So much to celebrate and be grateful for! Thanks for reading the first edition of our community newsletter. We have so much to share and celebrate.
The Insurance Lady (aka Ruth Stroup Agency) is turning 10 this year! If we met at the beginning when the agency was just me, driving my car to see clients, working with just a laptop and cell phone, THANK YOU. If instead we met during the early days when there were just 2 or 3 of us at our Piedmont Avenue location, THANK YOU. If we met some time in the last 5 years, then you only know our new and long term home on Grand Avenue, THANK YOU.
Lastly, to the many clients and friends who are part of our virtual office of email, text, Internet and social media, THANK YOU. Today the Insurance Lady is more than one person – we are a team of 10. It’s been a long journey, but it feels like we began has just the other day.
In August of 2005, I was laid off from job that launched my second career, the one I thought I’d work in for the remainder of my working days. At the time, losing my job was equally upsetting and embarrassing. Today, I see it as liberating, and a kinda awesome because it gave me the opportunity to re-boot and start something I really cared about. You see, I’d been a commuter for years, and while I moved to Oakland in the late 80’s and I didn’t really feel like I knew much about my community. Sure, I knew from studying art at Mills College (class of ’91) that Oakland had the largest per capita concentration of artists of any city in the US, and I loved touring the East Bay Open Studios. As a student, I also did a deep dive into the history of the East Bay, combing through the archives at the Oakland Public Library History room to write my Senior Thesis on the Impact of WW2 on the region. Along the way, I’ve come to know Oakland as a passionate place, one with strong opinions and deep feelings, and I’ve fallen in love with this community I call home - to quote my dad - “warts and all”.
From the late 90’s when I first joined the local Chamber of Commerce as the Branch Manager for Charles Schwab in Castro Valley, I became aware of the positive impact that a local business can make on the community. And I remember the days when I had a corporate budget to entertain clients. And I took them to the coolest places. But since my office was in other cities, none of those dollars were spent in Oakland. One day I saw a sign in a book store that detailed the impact of local business on the community. That sign listed everything from providing local jobs and paying local taxes to spending money in other local businesses and supporting local non-profits. I still see versions of that sign in local stores and online on social media. Especially on Plaid Friday – a term coined by an Oakland business owner (Kerri Johnson – owner of Merion and Rose’s Workshop)
Its equal parts exciting and scary to start any business. And my story is the same, with one exception. I chose to go on this journey with Farmers Insurance. For friends and family who’ve known me from my culinary adventures or artistic endeavors – this likely looked like a very strange partner for me to take to the dance that would become my third career. But I vividly remember the conversation I had with my soon to be Farmers District Manager, Dave David, where I realized that a career at Farmers would put me in the middle of a conversation with my community: with families, homeowners, and business owners. And that conversation could be rich and deep. It would include where people came from, and where they hoped to go. In hindsight, there’s a lot of ways to get to these colorful and insightful conversations. For me I chose something others might consider mundane, even boring, but I see insurance as essential. As the support that allows people to grow their future, to buy a home, to start a family, to open a business. And that’s what makes it fundamentally interesting to me.
If you get too much email, and decide to unsubscribe from this newsletter, I understand, because I, too, face a jam packed inbox on a daily basis. But I hope you’ll wait until at least the next edition, and that you’ll find value in learning more about the agency and our work for clients and the community, and that you join us at one of our upcoming events, or simply stop by the agency and say hello.
GET READY TO PARTY on 10/8!!!
Celebrations for the 10 year party will be on Sat. Oct 8th from 11am to 3pm and we will be sure to have great local food, music to dance to and plenty of fun to share with you all... families, kids and pets are welcome to attend!
Stay tuned for an invitation coming soon!
~ Ruth Stroup