When Yana Ross began building a team for her Farm Bureau Financial Services agency, she wanted people who could develop compassionate relationships with clients. A bonus would be the ability to connect with the different cultures found in Topeka. When the result was an all-women, multi-lingual group, she also focused on advancing her staff’s professional and personal development.
“Oftentimes, in financial services, you see guys,” Yana says. “And nothing is wrong with that, but I think it’s a bit of a stereotype. I think as women, we come to insurance with compassion. The care and compassion, and understanding the inside of the family and the community, and wanting to give back, that’s what makes women different.”
She adds that she told the ladies on her team, “It’s not about me. It’s about us as a team. Each one of you is very important, and I need us as a team to be able to reach more people because each of you knows people whom we can help.”
Yana and her staff, Ana, Julie and Karla, see what the Farm Bureau offers as a way of protecting client’s livelihoods and futures. They will spend time getting to know people, reviewing their current coverage, and making recommendations. In doing so, they help them prepare so unexpected life events will not bring about financial worries.
“The goal is to build a wall of protection around their world,” Yana explains. “I’ve never wanted my agency to concentrate on sales. It’s not about selling 20 or 30 auto insurance policies. It’s about providing peace of mind for people. Being prepared for the unexpected. Looking not just at now, but at their future.”
A Ukrainian immigrant, Yana has a master’s degree in English and worked as a translator and interpreter for Ukrainian businesses before moving to Topeka. She has worked in the insurance field for 16 years, first with a different company before joining the Farm Bureau almost three years ago. At home, she’s busy raising her 11-year-old son and caring for her mother.
Compared to the more hectic life found in bigger cities, Yana loves how Topeka allows her to concentrate on building a career while also relaxing and enjoying life. She is active in both the Rotary Club of Topeka and the Greater Topeka Partnership. She and her staff can reach out to the city’s different cultural communities since, between them, they speak Spanish, Russian, and Ukrainian as well as English..
“When we build that wall of protection around one family, it strengthens the community,” notes Yana. “If those families are financially secure, they can manage risks and are able to give back more to Topeka.”