Featured New York Life Insurance Agent: Mike Brown
- Native of Hamilton, Missouri
- Credits his football and wrestling coaches with being great mentors
- Worked with NYL mentor John Himmelberg closely for nearly 10 years
- Brown and his wife Lori have three children: Micah, Alex, and Addy
One of the highest producing Agents in 2009, Mike Brown, Greater Kansas City General Office, is living proof that success can be achieved through hard work, determination, respect and integrity.
A native of Hamilton, Missouri (which also happens to be the home town of J.C. Penney, who entrusted his insurance needs to New York Life), the foundation for Brown’s success was laid many years ago starting with his parents, Bill and Dianne, whom he credits with teaching him good values. After selling the family farm in the late 1970s, his father started his own business using heavy machinery to build terraces and ponds for local farmers, and Brown got a taste for the entrepreneurial life. His mother was a hairdresser who put her career on hold to raise him and his four siblings — Craig, Chelee, Shawn and Nikki. “My parents have been great role models and have always been very supportive of me. They taught me what’s right, what’s wrong, what to do and what not to do, at an early age. So I’ve got great admiration and love for them.”
A sportsman in high school and college, Brown also credits his football and wrestling coaches with being great mentors. “They taught me what teamwork is all about,” he says. “And competing gave me a determination to be successful.”
In fact, Brown had originally planned to be a history teacher and wrestling coach after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University, but his roommate, a business major, persuaded him to take some business courses. An interest in the computer industry led him to pursue a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Data Processing. “Life insurance was not something I had considered as a career,” he says laughing. “In fact, I had taken a career aptitude test when I was in fifth or sixth grade, and the results pointed to me becoming a Life insurance agent. But I thought, ‘I would never want to be that!’”
After college and some post-graduate work, Brown took a position at his community bank in Hamilton. From time to time, John Himmelberg, the local New York Life Agent, would approach him about joining the Company. “We got to visiting more about it, and I felt like it would be a good fit. My family was growing, and I wanted some flexibility to be with them, as well as being able to earn a higher income,” he says. After ten years at the bank, Brown knew it was time for a change. “I grew up watching the New York Life commercials as a kid — I remember the football one. I felt New York Life was the finest insurance company there was, so I decided to join.”
After a few years as a new Agent, Brown recognized that the man who introduced him to the Company was also someone he could turn to for advice and guidance. “I was fortunate enough to have a great mentor in John Himmelberg, a well-respected leader in our community who passed away in 2005. It was through John that I really came to appreciate my chosen career. Because really, it’s the people that I enjoy the most — working with my clients, helping to protect their families and to protect and grow their retirements. That’s what it’s all about.”
Brown and Himmelberg worked closely for nearly ten years, and Brown took over his book of business, after he passed away inheriting roughly 3,000 clients. A “general practitioner,” Brown has two terrific support staff members, Cindy and Courtney, who take care of much of the service work, leaving Brown free to see clients and do what he enjoys best, help them realize their goals and dreams. “Many of my clients are like family to me. Because of this, I would never do anything to jeopardize my reputation with them.”
“He’s a stunning example of what having honesty, integrity and strong core values can bring you. But it’s something that develops over time; it doesn’t happen overnight. And Mike has worked hard to earn his success,” says Greater Kansas City Office’s Managing Partner Troy Braswell.
Besides his large extended family of clients, Brown and his wife Lori, an elementary school teacher, have three children: Micah, Alex, and Addy. “My family is very important to me. Back in March 2006, I was diagnosed with stage-two colon cancer. It was really scary for me, but I was blessed that it was still in stage two. I had preventative chemotherapy, and that wasn’t fun, but we got through it, and I’ve had a clean bill of health ever since.”
“It really made me take stock of my life at that point in time. I was able to personally experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing, no matter what happens to me, my family will have enough insurance coverage to survive financially. And that strengthens my conviction about what I do in bringing my clients that same peace of mind.”