In four short years, Kelly S. Whitener jumped from shuffling papers as a customer service representative in an unautomated insurance agency to garnering national acclaim as the 2010 Outstanding CSR of the Year for her work at an agency on Inc. Magazine’s 2009 list of fastest-growing privately held companies.
Whitener’s award came from the National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, an industry organization that promotes continuing education and research. There’s a common denominator for national winner Whitener and three of the four national finalists for this year’s Outstanding CSR of the Year: They do their award-winning work every day in agencies run with Applied Systems agency management solutions.
Whitener, CIC, CISR, is commercial accounts manager at Senn Dunn Insurance in Greensboro, North Carolina, which has used Applied Systems’ flagship system, TAM®, since 1993. Senn Dunn is a Best Practices Agency in the prestigious study conducted by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association and Reagan Consulting.
Along with Whitener, the National Alliance recognized these national finalists for their contributions and commitment to serving insurance clients:
• Barbara J. Golden, CIC, CPCU, AAI, AU, McConkey Insurance & Benefits, York, Pennsylvania;
• Tammy K. Harris, CISR, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana;
• Amanda M. Williams, CISR, CPIA,AAI, AU,AIS, AINS,PRIS, Maverick Insurance Agency, Cold Spring, Kentucky;
• Kristina E. Donaldson, CISR, CPIW, AINS, Messer-Bowers Company, Enid, Oklahoma.
Like Whitener, Golden, Harris and Williams all work at agencies that use Applied Systems agency management solutions. All five winners first won their respective state competitions before being selected for national honors.
“To a degree, your positive attitude has to come from within,” Whitener said in response to her award. “But I think creating the atmosphere—a positive environment—pushes you to have the necessary drive. Being in the environment that I am here at Senn Dunn, it’s very upbeat. It allows me to remain optimistic. Even though you may be having a bad day, the positive atmosphere is still there.”