How a Bank Manager With Deep Roots in Her Community Made the Switch to Farm Bureau

February 14, 2024

As a single mom, Christina Gardom’s salary as a bank manager wasn’t enough to pay her bills and support her children. She thought she’d be forced to sell her home, but a transition to becoming an insurance agent with Farm Bureau transformed her life. Here’s her story. 

Why Did You Join Farm Bureau?

I had been managing a bank, and before that, I had been a manager at a grocery store for years. I've been divorced for four years now, and I couldn't support myself and my kids on my salary from the bank. I had put my house on the market, and it wasn't selling.

My dad passed away a little over two years ago, and his life insurance was with Farm Bureau. When the district manager met with my mom about my dad's policy, somehow, they got talking about me. The district manager was looking for someone in my area, so we went to lunch and talked about the agent opportunity. After completing the onboarding requirements, including licensing exams, I was offered the position. 

How Has Becoming an Agent Impacted You?

I think that calling it amazing is an understatement. It's been an unbelievable blessing and has completely changed my life. I've gone from living paycheck to paycheck and not knowing how I was going to keep the lights on to this opportunity. It's been unbelievable.

I have freedom now. If I get a flat tire, I'm not worried about where I'm going to find the money to fix it. I have peace of mind knowing I don’t have extra stress on my plate. If something does happen, it's not catastrophic for me to try to fix it because there's zero wiggle room in the budget. There's been an unbelievable amount of stress lifted off my shoulders. 

What Do You Like Most About Your Job?

The thing that I like the most is helping people. When I see somebody who is underinsured on their home or who just has state minimum coverage on their vehicle, I can explain the advantages of increasing their coverage.

My friend told me that I've been preparing for this role for the last 27 years in this community, just helping people wherever they're at, whether that was at the bank or the grocery store. I'm honest with people. If I can't beat the price they have, I'll be the first one to tell them they need to stay where they're at. And it's been amazing — in the second year, most of them have come back to me. They appreciate the honesty. 

What’s a Typical Day Like for You?

I usually get to work at 8 in the morning. My office doesn't open until 9, but that gives me a little time to dig into the pile on my desk. Generally, by 11 a.m. I've had two or three phone calls from people asking for new quotes. Whatever that day holds, I jump in and take care of it. I put new stuff on the bottom of my pile, and I work on my pile whenever I’m not meeting with someone or working on a new quote.

On a good day, I leave at 4 p.m., and on another day, I might leave at 5 p.m. Sometimes, my computer just comes home with me. It varies day by day.

My younger daughter now works for me, and I also have a service associate who works in my office 10 to 15 hours a week.

I have a lot of control over my schedule. I can plan for anything, and it's just a matter of letting my daughter know I won't be there for a couple of hours. When working at the bank, it was hard to guarantee that I could get away, even for a doctor's appointment. Now, if I want to go somewhere and do something, I can do it.

And when I worked at the bank, I always had to work the Friday after Thanksgiving. Now that I'm in charge of my own schedule, I can close my office for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of that week. It's so freeing that way. 

What Do You Like to Do in Your Spare Time?

I like to spend time with my family. My daughters are 26 and 24, my son just turned 18, and I have a 2 1/2-year-old grandbaby. 

I try really hard not to work on the weekends and to leave my computer at the office on Friday nights. To me, weekends are about family time. During the week I don't have a lot of free time, so I really want to spend time with them on the weekends.

I also like to ride my horse. I grew up on a ranch, but since then, I haven't had the opportunity to have a horse. I've missed it for so many years. I can have a horse again, and it's been amazing. My kids love it, too.


What Would You Share with Someone Considering a Job Move Like Yours?

My advice would be to believe that there's nothing you can't accomplish. I was 54 years old when I started as an agent with Farm Bureau. I had zero insurance experience, and the tests were not easy. But if you believe you can do it and keep a positive attitude, nothing can stop you.

And the support is just phenomenal at Farm Bureau. Without it, I wouldn't be where I am right now. Especially in your first year, you run into so many situations where you don’t quite know what to do. You can’t train for every single situation. But there are so many people who can help, and if they do not know the answer, they will find someone who has the answer for you. There's nothing like the support you get here. 

Take the Next Step

If you’re ready to make a change like Christina, consider a future with Farm Bureau. Reach out to learn more today.