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Declaration of Independents: Dawnyel Smink

Having previously worked as a sixth-grade teacher, Dawnyel Smink, president of Canyonlands Insurance in Mesa, Arizona, found insurance when looking for a career where she could also also help, serve and teach people.
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DawnyelSmink.jpgDawnyel Smink


Canyonlands Select Insurance

Mesa, Arizona

Having previously worked as a sixth-grade teacher, Dawnyel Smink found insurance when looking for a career where she could be the master of her destiny while also helping, serving and teaching people. For Smink, insurance married the two together. 

“I got here today because the gentleman who started our group, Ken Walters, was what I call a ‘menafactor;’ he’s my business dad,” Smink says. “He believed that I could carry on the mission of Canyon Lands Insurance/CLI Select Agencies. I bought him out in 2008 and became the CEO of CLI Select Agencies, a group of 57 agencies.” 

Best Thing About Insurance?

You make an impact in people’s lives in ways that they didn’t realize insurance could. I’ve been there with clients whose house has burned down and to help them reestablish their lives. I’ve also been there to bring something positive following the death of a loved one. I really love that component of it. 

Supporting the Independent Agency System?

One of the things that we’ve been working on and we’re about to kick off is having our agents sign a declaration of independence and declare what they want to do together to help the industry. 

Biggest Challenges?

The changing world. Look at how COVID-19 impacted us. At CLI, we’re in a pretty good spot. Most of our agencies were able to quickly move to telecommuting and to utilize the systems we had in place. I did see a lot of agencies that did not fare as well. The biggest challenge you face, no matter what is going on, is change.

Adding Much More?

People think of insurance as an afterthought many times, even business owners, but I like going through coverage and telling clients how risk insurance is basically risk transfer. Either you're going to take on the risk or you're going to give it to a carrier for a set amount of premium. It's always fun to try and gauge people's risk tolerance.

Olivia Overman is IA content editor.

Thursday, April 29, 2021
Agency Operations & Best Practices