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The New Next: Meet Young Agent Ashley Arikawa

"Giving younger folks the opportunity to share their experience will change the way people perceive the career path," says Ashley Arikawa. "I was initially drawn to my current employer because of the company culture and had no prior knowledge of the industry."
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The New Next: Meet Young Agent Ashley ArikawaAshley Arikawa

Senior Vice President of Sales

The J. Morey Company Inc.

Cypress, California

Age: 31

Currently streaming: “The Great British Bake Off"

In your earbuds: “Add to Cart" with Kulap Vilaysack & Suchin Pak

Preferred social media: Instagram

Did you choose insurance or did insurance choose you?

It chose me. As a business major, I connected with The J. Morey Company through a community internship. I spent the summer there and did a lot of clerical and digital marketing projects. Then I graduated from college and went to work in public relations at a large corporation. I tried it out for a few years but didn't enjoy the environment. That was a good experience because I learned that choosing a company where the culture aligns with your values is important. When The J. Morey Company found out I was interested in working with them again, they offered me a marketing coordinator position.

How did you move from marketing to sales?

At first, a lot of the value I could bring wasn't insurance related so I focused on the marketing and consumer side. I dove right in, got my feet wet and tried different things. I was given the opportunity to explore and push the envelope. Then I got my license and naturally segued into sales. Now I lead the sales team on the property-casualty side.

What were your goals in the marketing role?

Although my role has shifted, the marketing side will always have a special place in my heart since that's what I studied and where started my career. I managed the agency's social media platforms and I used them as a platform to highlight what we do outside of the insurance industry, such as what we were doing to make an impact within the community. I wanted it to be different and have an authentic voice to represent our agency. Our history is closely tied to the Japanese American community, so there was a natural partnership with a lot of the businesses and organizations. We are trying to ensure that they have support on the insurance side but also doing whatever we can to amplify their voices and share great things that they are doing in the community.

How can the industry attract more young people?

Giving younger folks the opportunity to share their experience will change the way people perceive the career path. I was initially drawn to my current employer because of the company culture and had no prior knowledge of the industry. My perspective of the industry now has drastically changed; one of the things I really like is that you work with so many types of people, whether it's individuals or businesses, so it makes things very interesting. Knowing that you're helping them and supporting the local community and businesses also adds personal meaning to the work.

With younger generations, community involvement has also become more important, both in buying decisions and the company you choose to work for so it's crucial for the industry to continue highlighting the direct impact they are making. Something I'm really passionate about is how our recently launched parent company, ori-gen, is leading the charge to invest in and advance diverse communities through insurance. We're trying to amplify different voices of the industry that may not always be heard.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Seeing the growth and development of the team is very fulfilling. Also, there are constantly new challenges that we're facing and problems we're trying to solve, which means there's a lot to learn. I'm always learning from my peers and different folks. Whether it's different industries, products, or a trend that goes along with current events, there are so many layers you can learn and invest in terms of your personal knowledge within the career.

Have you had a mentor who has impacted your career?

Both Joshua Morey and Kevin Fukuyama have been significant mentors for me from day one. They supported me when I was an intern and have always had my back. They took me under their wing and gave me opportunities to push myself. They really believed in me and invested in my personal and professional growth from the very beginning. I'm truly grateful.

Biggest challenges that the industry is facing?

Sparking interest in the next generation to choose insurance as a career. I think that's something that can be addressed by trying to paint the industry in a different light or showcasing different aspects of it.

How is your sales team navigating the hard market?

We're trying to find the opportunities and the silver linings. We've really amped up the service aspect. We're continuing to cultivate relationships with the right partners so that we're able to provide the appropriate products. While price plays an important role, we're shifting conversations to showcase other value we can bring.

Work-life balance?

When I was choosing a career, I didn't really think about it in terms of the flexibility. But I've really been able to embrace a work-life balance with my current role. I had a child a year and a half ago and it was such a big change in my life. I've been working from home and being able to spend time a lot of time with my child when he is at such a young age has been really significant to me.

Will Jones is IA news editor. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Perpetuation & Valuation