Young Professional 2017: Brandon McEwen
Brandon McEwen, Commercial insurance sales executive at PayneWest Insurance
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
Describe the Company: PayneWest Insurance was formed in 2012 from two leading agencies in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions. We are now a top 40 nationally ranked insurance agency fiercely committed to our clients, our colleagues and our communities.
What brought you to the Tri-Cities? My wife was born and raised in Kennewick. We met in college and moved to Kennewick after we got married to be closer to her family.
Do you have any family? Pets? I have been married to my wife Alyssa for almost 12 years and we have four children.
Tell us about your job/career and how you got into it: I joined PayneWest Insurance as a commercial insurance sales executive in May 2017 after owning a highly successful American Family Insurance office in Kennewick for the past four years.
Tell us about your business philosophy: I have always really loved the quote by Conrad Hilton that says, “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” We all will have setbacks in our careers and lives. Every time we fail, it leaves us one step closer to success. Keep it moving, maintain a positive mental attitude and success will be waiting around the corner with its arms wide open!
How do you stay competitive in your job/industry? Unfortunately, the insurance industry has given clients a false sense of security. The traditional insurance model ignores many of the risks business leaders face. Our process, that you cannot get anywhere else, focuses on those risks. When you couple our process with my natural competitive spirit, it really drives success.
What are you future career goals? Grow my commercial book of business to over $1 million in revenue in the next 10 years. Maintain a 95 percent or higher retention rate within my book of business over my career. Be provided an ownership opportunity at PayneWest Insurance.
Who are your mentors and what did they teach you? I was very fortunate to be mentored by a top 10 agent in American Family Insurance during my time within the organization. He offered me a wealth of information in terms of agency systems and procedures, how to make best use of time, prospecting methods, and most importantly, how to surround yourself with the right people. I truly believe if you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room. Surrounding yourself with smart, successful people is so important.
What was the toughest business/career decision you had to make or obstacle you had to over overcome? Leaving my American Family office to join PayneWest was the hardest decision I have ever made. I poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into building that agency and really loved all of my clients. Leaving a very good situation for an unknown was tough, but I knew I had to to challenge myself and further my career development. I am extremely happy to have made the decision to move to such a great company.
What do you like most about what you do? I love getting to meet with different business owners and learn about their businesses. The best part of my job is being able to take a deep dive into their business and discover a lot of the challenges and risks they might not even be aware of. Being able to offer a holistic risk management approach adds a lot of value in what I do and provides our clients something they cannot get anywhere else.
What do you dislike most about your job? I would say the hardest part of any sales job is hearing the word, “No.” Unfortunately, you will not be able to win every account no matter what kind of value you can add to the client. I have learned from years in sales that every “no” is one step closer to a “yes,” so you have to pick yourself back up and keep moving. Fortunately, I work for a company that has an amazing carrier network and proprietary risk management process, so the no’s have been few and far between.
What was your first job and what did you learn there? I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In high school, I started a summer window washing business with a buddy. I learned a ton about sales, customer service and running a business that has helped me throughout my career. I spent hours upon hours in the hot sun knocking on doors trying to drum up business. The most important lesson I learned over those summers was every “no” you heard meant you were one step closer to hearing a “yes.”
If you weren’t in your current field, what would be your dream job? If I was not doing what I was doing now, I would love to be a general manager of a sports franchise. I love all of the moving parts of a sports organization and would love to help build a successful franchise.
Tell us about your community involvement/community service: I am currently on the board of directors of the Kennewick School District Marketing & Business Advisory Committee. Our primary purpose is to promote greater cooperation between the schools and private sector in preparing individuals for employment, future education and helping the education system better prepare students for the labor market. I have also worked the last several years as a liaison with the American Red Cross and Salvation Army in blood and food drives and as a youth basketball coach.
What word describes you? Competitive
What is your biggest flaw? It would be my resistance to ask for help. I am the type of person who likes to be in control and have had difficulty trusting others to complete tasks. This is something I am really trying to work on. Over the last couple years, I have realized there are a ton of really talented people on this earth and I need to let them do what they do best.
What is your biggest pet peeve? Complaining is definitely my biggest pet peeve. I am a big believer in positive mental attitude and having a growth mindset. Challenges and setbacks are learning experiences and opportunities to become better versions of ourselves. It is critical for us to stay positive and make sure we are growing as a result of these roadblocks.
What do you do to relieve stress? I like to stay very active through working out and playing sports. I currently play in local basketball, flag football and softball leagues.
Dream vacation? Bora Bora
Favorite book? “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone.
Favorite movie? “Shawshank Redemption”
Favorite band? Imagine Dragons
Favorite gadget? iPhone
Favorite website? theringer.com
Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? Spending time on the river with family and friends.
What thing would people be most surprised to learn about you? I have an enormous family! I have seven siblings and six step-siblings. Things were pretty crazy growing up with so many kids and I am pretty sure we destroyed every house we lived in, but I would have wanted it no other way.
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