My name is Shelly Biernacki and I have been serving on the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents Young Agent Committee for just over a year now. I live in Macomb County with my husband, daughter and two fur babies. I spend a lot of my time with my large family and working, but also enjoy bowling and crafting. You may find me out on an ATV trail somewhere in Michigan enjoying the great outdoors on my 4-wheeler.
I started my working life in many different industries with a thirst to learn more. I considered myself a “job gypsy”. I worked jobs from fast food, podiatry office reception, country music expert at a record store, meter reading, valet and even odd jobs like selling flowers at the Fox Theater when the Rockettes were in town.
I came into the insurance industry fifteen years ago this month. This industry has provided so many new opportunities and the constant changes mean I never have to go anywhere to learn something new. I started with Macomb Insurance Mart, Inc. as a receptionist while attending Macomb Community College - with the hopes of a future in accounting. I enjoyed all aspects of the insurance industry and the agency I was working with while continuing my education on and off for about 10 years. After receiving my associate’s degree from Macomb Community College, I transferred to Walsh College. While I was attending Walsh, I had a change of heart and decided to further my career in the insurance industry. I took my licensing class in the spring of 2017 and not long after came the licensing test. I passed the first time around! This gave me the motivation to take advantage of new opportunities around me.
My workplace had been a member of MAIA for a very long time and always received the communications on available opportunities. I had seen flyers for the Young Agents Conference that was happening in June in Traverse City. My husband, daughter, dog and I all decided to book a hotel room for the event and see what Young Agents had to offer. This quickly turned into an experience that none of us would ever forget. I attended a sales seminar, wine tasting continuing education risk management tours, night games all while forming lasting relationships with agents and other industry professionals. I had the opportunity to meet so many great people from all over our state, but we all had one thing in common – the desire to assist in the growth of the independent agency system. What I truly enjoyed the most was the camaraderie evident between all facets of the insurance industry.
After attending YAC Conference, I asked more about the Young Agent Committee and ways that I could help. I wanted more knowledge and to be involved. Shortly after the conference, I received a call from Ben Rathbun asking if I would be interested in joining the committee. He gave me a brief description of what was involved and I did not hesitate to say YES! Little did I know that this brief description he gave me would turn into something so amazing. I had just scratched the surface of my involvement with the young agents.
Over the next year, I decided to be involved as much as possible. If I was going to take on this role, I wanted to get as much as possible out of my experience. To date, I have engaged in many Young Agent activities, such as golf outings, a parade, educational speaking events at Olivet College and Fraser High School and fundraiser trivia nights for Talons Out Honor Flights. I’ve also participated in the big MAIA convention, lobby day, multiple YAC meetings, a PAC donation call center and another Young Agent Convention where I was fortunate to assist in finding new committee members. I have learned the importance of education, relationships and motivation but my most valuable takeaway has been giving back.
Stay tuned for more on a day in the life of an agent and to hear from all the other members of the MAIA Young Agents Committee!
Macomb Insurance Mart, Inc