Name: Ashleigh C. Trent
Location: Dallas, Texas
Occupation: Personal Insurance Advisor & Co-Founder of Tower Street Insurance
You and your partner recently left the agency you were with to start your own. Before you decided to make that move, what did you need to think through? What was that process like for you?
In December 2019, I was five months pregnant with my second daughter when the obvious need for a professional change occurred. I loved what I was doing, but I knew I could do so much more. I was slightly terrified when my business partner and I sat down to discuss starting our own agency. We walked through the conversations that would need to be had, outlined all the tasks we would have to complete, the costs of the venture, and asked ourselves, "Can we really do this?" The answer was a resounding "Yes!"
Internally, I questioned myself to make certain I had the perseverance to take on what at the time seemed like a monumental task when time was not a luxury and uncertainty/lack of stability was scary. But then I asked,
“Do I stick with the status quo or do I step up to use the gifts and talents God gave me to build something better…not only for me, but my team, my clients, and my family?”
Through lots of research, endless to-do lists, teamwork, and patience, all throughout a global pandemic, Tower Street Insurance was launched on May 15th, 2020.
When you finally made the decision to start your company, you said that you and your partner made some upfront decisions that yours would be different from the competition. How did you come to that decision? And how has putting that stake in the ground informed your decisions going forward?
Culture was our number one focus, knowing that our ideal culture would breed success. To achieve our culture, from the start, we committed to being transparent, fair, and rewarding people directly for their efforts. We wanted to give everyone the same opportunity for success. We wanted to keep everyone motivated, encouraged, and humble. From the top down or the bottom up, we are all willing to put the work in, embrace teamwork, and hold each other accountable. We also are acutely aware that there is only so much insurance one person can sell and that it is better to “teach a man to fish” rather than giving him a fish. We have a “pay it forward” mentality amongst our team, where instead of fighting over opportunities and competing internally for clients, lead sharing is encouraged and even rewarded. When one person succeeds, we all succeed. We’re protecting the culture we’ve created by only bringing on team members that align with our essential virtues.
How does Tower Street think about your clients? And what makes you different from other agencies?
We established Tower Street Insurance to be able to contribute in a meaningful way and make a difference in our clients' and team's lives. For our clients, we inspire trust by creating focus on the risks that threaten their livelihood and provide concise solutions and services to minimize those risks. For our team, we think differently and challenge the status quo by finding a better way of doing things and sharing it. Our mission is to preserve and protect the future of successful businesses and families through customized risk management and advocacy solutions. We believe our clients and team deserve security, peace of mind, clarity and our dedication. Our vision is that our partnership with our clients provides them with the freedom and confidence to focus on what is most important in life.
You have said in the beginning you were in a "make it work" mindset. What did that look like? And what bumps in the road did you hit that you had to overcome?
As a perfectionist, I likely could have found dozens of reasons to delay the launch of our new agency. Nothing would ever be good enough, the timing would never be right, and I could have kicked that can down the road for years and continued to stagnate in my career. Fortunately, my partner had the vision for what we wanted to build together and encouraged me to make the leap of faith and know that not everything was going to be perfect and that’s ok. We've given ourselves a lot of grace. We’ve committed to making ourselves at least 1% better every day. I think it’s going well!
There were so many bumps in the road, but we preserved. Even when we thought we had the foresight to minimize certain occurrences, something would always go awry. I had to adopt the “make it work” mindset and realize that things were not going to go as planned and that things weren’t perfect, but without those occurrences, we wouldn’t be able to learn and grow from our mistakes. Sometimes, it is what it is and you just have to make it work.
If you wait too long for the perfect moment, the perfect moment will pass you by, and in hindsight, this was the perfect moment in time for the launch of Tower Street Insurance.
Now that you all are off and running, what advice would you give to a woman who is sitting at your current job thinking, "I can do this better"?
You can! What are you waiting for?
"There’s never been a better time than now for a woman to chase after her professional dreams. Commit to becoming a student of your craft…always learning more, pushing the envelope, and challenging the status quo."
Have faith in yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in getting your business launched. There are so many resources to help you get your idea off the ground. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. A year from now, you’ll wish you had started building your business and became your own boss today.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou
What is your vision for how you think Tower Street can empower others to build a business? And what does that mean to you personally?
Tower Street Insurance was launched with one virtue at the heart of our agency--integrity. We are unwilling to compromise, cut corners, or take the easy way out. Even during a global pandemic, we found the right way of building our business as a team with a unified vision. The reason we named the agency Tower Street Insurance, rather than after ourselves as many agencies do, is because the story of Tower Street is greater than Chris Peterie or Ashleigh Trent. Years from now, I want the Tower Street Insurance story to be about an amazing team of individuals who overcame tremendous hurdles and built a legacy together.
As a mom to two daughters, what has starting your own agency meant to you? And what do you wish for them?
Freedom. Freedom to boldly go where I had only dreamed of going professionally. Freedom to build something that they could inherit one day. Freedom to spend more quality time with them. Freedom to control my destiny. Freedom to express my most far-fetched goals and relentlessly pursue them. Freedom to make a difference in so many ways and in so many people’s lives. Freedom to conquer my fears. Freedom to be unapologetically me.
I wish that they find that freedom in their lives and share it with others.
Anything else you want to share with us?
Don’t let fear hold you back from your dreams. It’s not as scary as it seems.
A question we ask everyone...what do you want to be known for?
This is surprisingly hard to answer...but I think overall, I want to be known for having a servant's heart and putting other people first, whether it's my family, friends, colleagues, clients, or acquaintances. I have a genuine desire to help people and I know that small acts can have huge impacts.
My favorite quote is...
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams." - Henry David Thoreau