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20 Seconds

By Sarah Walsh

Hello Dear Colleagues,

Spring has almost sprung!  We sure had a mild winter (I know, I know – it’s not over yet…) but they say we’re ok as far as snow-pack goes.  Let’s hope!

So things are a bit crazy right now with COVID-19. As I type this, I’m on an airplane. There are a few people with masks on, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t being a little extra cautious about touching handrails and everything else, but in general I’m looking at it as one of those things there’s not too much I can do about… other than wash my hands a lot. Speaking of… the CDC recommends 20 seconds under warm, soapy water. Can you believe how long 20 seconds seems?  It feels even longer than a microwave minute! We humans are always in a hurry. Sometimes we have to hurry, but sometimes we don’t.  I’m trying (not always successfully) to use these frequent 20-second hand-washings to clear my mind and focus on absolutely nothing but my hands. Surprisingly I kind of like it, which probably means I need it.  I’m betting we all probably need it. A good reminder of our core value of Balance.

bag of socks
Children leading by example!

Jeremy Vannatta sent out an email last week announcing the move of our “PayneWest Giving Our Best” month from October to April. We always have great participation but we’re hoping this time change will up the number of us participating. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of need in any of our communities. Similar to washing hands for 20 seconds, helping others may even have a more profound impact on the “helper.” What an opportunity to be grateful! As I’m sure you know, practicing gratitude is good for us (says mental healthcare professionals and pretty much everyone else). Speaking of helping others, I was out for a walk last weekend and saw something pretty cool. Check out this photo! In the baggie, nailed to a tree by the Helena Middle School, were 2 pair of heavy-duty socks. The note was obviously written by a youngster, a very thoughtful one with a big heart. It sure stopped me in my tracks and made me look inward. Again – the opportunities to help are endless. Thank you for doing your part in each of our communities, and for helping PayneWest “be a meaningful, contributing partner” (from the long version of our mission statement) as well.

Lastly, from an organic growth perspective, we’re starting out the year pretty strong. Early February results show a 6% increase over last year. Grateful too – for your work in retaining our clients as well as bringing new ones into the PayneWest family. We are lucky and they are lucky. Now go wash your hands and rest for 20 seconds!


2019 Top VTO User

Lorraine Firth (Bend, OR) is passionate about the PayneWest VTO program. In 2019, she served as the VTO advocate in her office, encouraging colleagues to get involved in their community. She did such a good job that the Bend office was the top volunteering office in our company! In addition, to helping coordinate her colleagues, Lorraine was also able to use her VTO time to help as a director for a Young Women’s Camp, Camp Esther Applegate, on the Lake of the Woods in Oregon. At the camp, Lorraine worked with more than 300 young women in leadership development, teaching them survival skills, archery and kayaking. When asked by other volunteers if she was taking vacation to volunteer at the camp, they were surprised and impressed, “They couldn’t believe that my company gives me time off to volunteer. It was a pretty amazing experience.”

“This was taken at the end of camp when all the girls put a sticky note on the mirror of a positive aspect of themselves, and then we took pictures in front of the mirror. It was a pretty emotional event for all of them, they were crying all over the place. Happy tears of course! Some of the girls had never had words of their strengths spoken about them, so it was very humbling to be a witness of this event.”


Select is now Small Business

To continue to position our colleagues as leaders in their field and communities, we are changing the name of our Select department to Small Business. Our colleagues will continue to work in the same way with this important segment of our business, but with this name change we can more easily talk to clients and prospects as the leading agency focused on working with, supporting and insuring our small business community. In fact, in many of our communities, 80% (or more) of the businesses we look to insure are small businesses. As of March 2nd, we launched the name change to provide unique opportunities for our colleagues to share our story with our Small Business clients and prospects.




Certificates and Designations

  • Isabel Barichievich, Transportation Risk and Insurance Professional (TRIP)
  • Ashli Carlson, AHIP Disability Healthcare Professional Designation (DHP)
  • Michelle Clark, Associate in General Insurance (AINS)
  • Mark Detrick, Small Business Coverage Specialist (SBCS)
  • Patty Kercher, Management Liability Insurance Specialist (MLIS)
  • Audrey Shaw, Small Business Coverage Specialist (SBCS)
  • Becky Shinn, Management Liability Insurance Specialist (MLIS)
  • Nicole Steinborn, Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR Elite)



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