What 30 Years With Applied Client Network Has Taught DeAnna Jarrett
| Connections Editor | May 7 2019
If you are thinking of joining Applied Client Network, or if you're a new member looking to participate in your first organization event, the Connections team is here for you. We caught up with longtime member, COO and Vice President of Cummins Insurance Agency, Inc. DeAnna Jarrett, from Fair Oaks, Calif., to discuss what membership means to her, how Applied Client Network has helped her career and what she's learned from more than 25 Applied Net conferences. Read on to discover what she had to say!
As a longtime member, can you share a bit about what first got you involved in Applied Client Network and how that has evolved since?
Back in 1989, I received a call from our local Applied Systems sales representative. He was trying to put a local meeting together of fellow Applied Systems clients in hopes of forming a local user group. The meeting had a decent turnout, and the consensus was to move forward in forming a Northern California user group, the N.O.C.U.G.A.S (or, Northern California Users Group Applied Systems). Out of the group who attended that meeting, only three of us volunteered to get things going — I was one of the three. The next five years were exciting as we started something from the ground up. I first served as the secretary/treasurer, then was later elected to serve as president.
Being part of the local group opened the door to being involved nationally. It wasn’t until 1992 that our agency joined the national organization, which at the time was called NUGAS. The national group held two in-person meetings a year for local chapters, the mid-year advisory board meeting and the conference. As a local president, I regularly attended both meetings and started to serve on committees. In 1994, I decided to run for the Regional 8 Director Board Member position, which represented the following U.S. states/Canadian provinces: Alaska, British Columbia, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Yukon.
The ballots were counted at the conference and the election results were announced at the 9th Annual Education Conference in Las Vegas:
- Overall attendance: 1,233
- Spouse/Guest count: 100
- Applied Systems personnel: 62
- Insurance company representatives: 28
- Exhibitors: 17
A year later, I was nominated to the executive committee and served as secretary/treasurer, then vice president, and from 1997–1998 served as president. My volunteer tenure ended as past president in 1999, and I continued serving on committees as well as with the local chapter, serving on and off on the board for the next decade or so.
Recently, Applied Client Network's Northern California Chapter celebrated 30 years of service. What are some accomplishments you are most proud of in those 30 years as an Applied Client Network chapter?
The members. I remember being asked more than once, “You guys are competitors. How does that work? Aren’t you afraid other agencies stealing employees?” Simply put, "No." Competition is not what we’re about. I’ve never met a nicer group of people (both local and national) that give heart and are willing to share how they do things, or to take a call to help you. Our community members are willing to share most resources, inlcuding a procedures manual they've spent countless hours putting together. Our group rarely lacks volunteers. Not only on the local level, but also on the national level. We’ve had two past presidents, numerous committee members, and committee chairs and conference presenters from our local group. How do you not be proud of that?
Competition is not what we're about.
Applied Net 2019 will be your 29th conference in a row, starting with San Francisco in 1990. What are you most excited to learn about at this year’s event?
DJ: I have to be honest, the most exciting thing for me is seeing all the friends I’ve made through the years and networking. There is always something new to learn or someone new to network with. We’ve been on Applied [System technology] since 1989 and I always learn something. Once the classes are published, I make an effort to plan my course of action. And, it never fails that once I get to conference and make my rounds of networking, my course of action changes (always for the better).
As an Applied Net attendee for more than 20 years. What are some of the key lessons learned or things that keep you coming back, year after year?
1. No. 1 Reason
From day one of making our investment in automation, I’ve learned it changes fast. I’ve learned to go to where the knowledge is, and I don’t think it gets any better than Applied Net. Not only for today’s technology but for learning how to best use our management system. You have it all at Applied Net.
2. Lesson Learned – 1
Don’t be afraid to ask a question no matter how dumb you may think it is. Because, trust me, someone else is dying to know the answer, too. If you still don’t understand, ask again or ask the presenter after class, or ask the person sitting next to you, or go to the Applied Net Exchange expo and talk with Applied Systems directly.
3. Lesson Learned – 2
Do a little prep before arriving at Applied Net. Watch posts in the Applied Client Network forums and download the mobile app. (One of my most favorite ALL-TIME enhancements is no more paper handouts! No more sore shoulders or backs from lugging around the pounds of paper handouts; not to mention how heavy your suitcase is!)
4. Get involved.
Volunteer. You can gain new experiences and insight when you get involved through volunteering. You will create connections, increase your social and relationship skills, and it can make a nice addition to your professional bio or resume, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management and organization.
5. Applied Net Tips
- Wear comfy shoes;
- Bring a sweater for cold classrooms;
- Drink lots of water;
- Don’t over pack; and,
- Be prepared for some of the best evening entertainment after a hard day of learning.
As a female business leader, what is the best advice you have for aspiring – or fellow – insurance business professionals? Or, what is the best business advice you have received?
"Get out while you can!" [Laughs] Just kidding. "Get the spoon and do the work." What I mean by this is that our world is full of modern-day tools to make life easier, like a tube of yogurt. No utensil is needed, but sometimes you just have to get a spoon and do the work. Also: Surround yourself with good people and they will help make a better version of you; that gut feeling you get, whether positive or negative, listen to it...it’s real; read things before you sign them; negotiate, everything can be negotiated; and, don’t be afraid to ask.
My advice? If you don’t know how, learn. Knowledge is power, and sometimes you just have to go for it. And, don’t agree to or promise anything you are not absolutely sure you can deliver.
Don’t agree to or promise anything you are not absolutely sure you can deliver.
Share a favorite tool that keeps you inspired on the job each day.
DJ: My daily inspiration is my family. My husband knows how to calm me, and always reminds me of the positive. He also gives me that reassurance that I sometimes need to be reminded of. My two business partners are my sister and brother. We’ve been successful business partners for 22 years. We purchased the agency from our mom after our dad passed away in 1997; they started the agency on April 15, 1971. I also have a nephew and niece who serve in the United States Marine Corps, and four granddaughters. I look at their pictures every day on my desk and can’t think of anything more inspiring. I just added a great niece to this list, too… all of them rock my world!
Tags: Applied Net , Applied Systems , Applied Client Network , Membership