Hello!! My name is Katelyn Aitken Meyer and I am the current Chair of the Michigan Young Agents. Follow each committee member as we all will be taking over the Young Agent Social Media for a whole month. We will be on Facebook (follow us at Michigan Young Agents), Instagram (follow us at yamichigan) and the Young Agent Community Blog on the Big I Michigan website (miyac.org/communities/mycommunities). Make sure to follow us a we introduce ourselves, share some great information on insurance topics that affect us in our day to day life, and tell you more about why we got involved in the Young Agents in the first place.
I grew up and currently live in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. I am married to my wonderful husband Steve and have a spunky, loving, and energetic three and a half year old named Mia Kate. My family and I love to travel, especially to Northern Michigan in the summer time to boat and winter time to ski. From time to time, you can probably find me running a 5k in the Detroit area. Running is one of the my favorite past times and I have run two full marathons in Detroit and Chicago, and three half marathons in Detroit and Charlevoix.
Education was always important to me growing up, and after high school I attended Michigan State University where I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in 2010 in Accounting. I met some great people in the accounting program who actually are now in the insurance industry! I worked in Revenue Cycle Accounting in Detroit hospitals after graduating from college and ultimately in 2013, I decided that what I was doing was not a right fit for me. Around that time, my father Dan approached me to come start working for the family insurance agency if I wanted to make a career change. Growing up, I had always thought that I would not want to work in an insurance agency. In the summers while in high school and home from college, I would fill in temporarily as the back up receptionist if there was a need. I was able to see the ins and outs of how the agency was run at the time, it did not seem to be of interest to me. Flash forward from high school and college to almost eight years ago ( 2013) when I was given the offer to join the agency to take over for our bookkeeper who was retiring. I didn't jump at the offer initially because I did not know if I wanted to work alongside my father and sister Kelly, who started at the agency about five years prior to me. But I realized that for me, it was time to make a change in my life and I was so glad that I did.
In September 2013, I started full time at Aitken and Ormond Insurance, Inc. We have three offices in Grosse Pointe, St. Clair, and our main office in New Baltimore where I spend the majority of days. While starting at the agency, I learned about all of our IT operations as well as got a handle on the accounting portion of the agency. I implemented our agency website as well as our social media pages.
In 2015, my sister and I graduated from our TQA (Total Quality Agency) class through the MAIA program. Coming out of the TQA program, one of the mains goals we identified for our agency was to operate more efficiently. We want to be able to provide the best tools and resources to our staff so that they are able to provide the best customer experience and insurance information to our current and future customers for all of their insurance needs.
In 2016, our office manager decided to retire and I took over the responsibility of HR in the agency, as well as managing our carrier contracts and licensing for the agency and our staff. In the middle of 2020, my role continued to expand in overall operations by assisting our Sales team, Personal Lines team, and Commercial Lines team in streamlining our procedures and processes. To this day, you could say I wear a lot of "hats" in my day to day duties.
Here is a little background on how our agency was started. Aitken & Ormond Insurance was started in 1948 by my Grandfather John T Aitken and his partner Ray Ormond. My father, Dan subsequently took over the agency in the 1970s and grew one office into three offices. Dan is President of the agency, Kelly is Vice President of Sales and I am the Vice President of Operations. I can tell you that working with your family is interesting, and we try our best not to involve the family aspect into the business aspect of the agency. Although sometimes we end up discussing business at family gatherings with our spouses and kids. Its a blurred line for us and we do our best not to cross over it, but it can happen.
Working in the family business also has a certain level of expectation. Will we be able to follow in the footsteps of our father and grandfather? Will we be able to meet the expectations that were set before us? So for Kelly and I, working at the agency means more than just having a job to come to everyday. It means going above and beyond the expectations to set the example that we can provide the best customer experience as well as provide a welcoming working environment for our staff. Kelly and I are currently working on our perpetuation plan to take over the agency when our father retires....whenever that will be. And if you know our father, the man does not tire easily. But for now, we really do appreciate all of his knowledge and expertise that he brings to the table.
Everyone in our agency is learning to evolve in our day to day operations, because technology and laws are changing the ways we have done things in the past. The biggest thing I can emphasize is that if the independent insurance agency system does not learn to change with the times, it ultimately will be left in the dust. Moving the agency forward into the future is and has not been an easy feat. The biggest motivator for me, while working in this industry, is to be better than I was yesterday. And taking those habits and reflecting them on to the rest of our staff so that we can work together and move the agency in the right direction.
So in wrap up of my life stories and tidbits, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that I try and apply to every aspect of my day to day life, "Dream big, work hard, stay focused, and surround yourself with good people."
Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit about my background and experiences from working in the wonderful world of insurance. If you have any questions for me or just want to say hi, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All the Best,
Katelyn Aitken Meyer