Family First Life Annual Convention Wrap-up - Jo-Ann Rogan

Jo-Ann Rogan is the Social Media Manager for Family First Life. She is not an insurance agent, but we are sharing her thoughts on the 2019 Family First Life Annual Convention because her experience talks to all of us.

I spent four days immersed in insurance at the Family First Life 2019 Annual Convention. As someone who is not an agent, I want to share a few things I experienced from my vantage point because I was seriously impressed with what I learned and saw.

Insurance Agents come from every walk of life.  I saw a vast cross-section of America wandering around the Convention! I saw people of color, almost as many women as men, and I even met an LGBTQ couple who were both agents. I was not prepared for the onslaught of diversity, and I was nicely surprised, and this blew away the old stereotype that only stodgy old white men sell insurance.  Not at Family First Life! I also saw some glamorous insurance agents in Vegas who were just stunning.

Family First Life often talks about having their agents back. The first day I was in attendance at the Convention was Friday as my plane was delayed by the bitter cold Thursday and I sat many hours in an airport. I sat down ready to live Tweet the event as well as do some Facebook live segments. Gaylin Ware is an agent who happens to sing like an angel, was prepared to kick off the convention with the National Anthem. He stood on stage, and his voice pierced the crowd, but he got nervous as there were over 1800 people in attendance.  All at once every agent in the room started singing with Gaylin and Shawn, President of Family First Life walked onstage to back him up.  Every single person in that room had Gaylin’s back. At that moment, I knew the culture of the company I work for, and I was proud to be part of the team in some insignificant way.  The agents do the hard work it is my job to make them shine!

Annuities are not boring.  Has anyone seen Tom Hegna speak?  What a fun and dynamic speaker he is!  I now know retirement is all about having a permanent income like an annuity and long term care insurance is a necessity. What was incredible is that at 6 pm on a Friday night in Las Vegas on Super Bowl weekend a guy talking about annuities and retirement planning had a packed room of over 1000 agents dying to learn more!  His speech was riveting.

The breakout sessions were outstanding. I made sure to spend some time in each session. Agents were trying to help me find a seat when I was trying to go Live on Facebook, and I thanked them as a passed on the seat. Every breakout session I attended was packed, and the people wanted to know more.  All weekend I saw notebooks, phones recording information, and people soaking it all in! Although everywhere I went there were packed rooms everyone was willing to make room for someone making a 3-minute video. Even if it meant I had to stand in their way, the agents were patient and so kind always letting me through to do my job.  Again a testament to the type of people who work at Family First Life.

To end the convention was the awards ceremony. I headed down early to make some videos of agents speaking about the annuity training.  I was a little hesitant to go down and ask opinions from strangers.  Every single person I talked to had a fantastic story. I spoke to one gentleman who had not even started on the road to becoming an agent who had been part of insurance for four days. He met with a VP on a Monday, and he was in Vegas a few days later! He was so enthusiastic although he looked completely overwhelmed.

The awards were such a great way to bring the Family First Life community together. I was shocked that they expected me to get on stage to tell me what an asset I was to their company. My last job with a large law firm in Philadelphia I was often told that I was a cost center and to act accordingly.  I walked off stage, and I was firm in my belief that I wanted to help Family First Life become the largest and most inclusive IMO insurance has ever seen. Their culture of positivity aligns with how I look at the world in more ways than one. They followed the staff intros with their charitable giving. They support the Make a Wish Foundation and The Dream Center in Los Angeles. Both the kid who spoke about his wish and the pastor from the Dream Center did not leave a dry eye in the house.

It came time to honor the scores of agents who succeeded this year. They honored over 100 agents, and my hands hurt cheering them all on. There were also individual awards. Athena Villanueva received the ALL IN award. I saw her speak on Friday as she was not present at the awards, but I heard her compelling story of building a massive team while battling an autoimmune disorder, her words were sharp and so inspirational.  The ever-smiling Ryan Montalto received the well deserved All-American award The Amanda Patti award was for the high performing rookie. This powerful award won by Nick Dudaj who showed great talent his first year as an agent. There was not a dry eye in the house as the room learned about Amada Patti’s life and how passionate she was about working with Family First Life as an agent who loved helping families. Family First Life honored Christopher Kimler (Bubz) whose father is Mark Kimler a Family First Life Agent.  Christopher Kimler passed this year. His father talked of President of Family First Life Shawn Meaike coming to his son’s funeral and the support he got from all the agents during the months after his son’s passing. This moment made Family First Life even more of a family. As the speeches went on the crowd and the people onstage became more and more emotional and connected. Lastly, they announce the Team Player award in honor of Christopher Kimler.  They awarded this to Gaylin Ware who had an incredible year of growth with Family First Life. If you get a chance to listen to Gaylin speak, it is not an event to miss. He speaks from the heart with intelligence and the exact right mix of humor.

Since I arrived home, I have been doing nothing but think about how to share the message of Family First Life online to get the word out about this fantastic company not just to our agents but to the world. If you find yourself considering coming to the convention for next year, don’t hesitate.  Do it.