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Meet the Member

 

 Our insurance specialist – Caron Soenen

Meet the Member! This blog is one in a series of posts dedicated to learning a little more about one of our PWBC members.

Caron Soenen is a Commercial Insurance agent for Farmers helping small business owners protect their assets and their employees with Workers Comp policies specific to their needs. She enjoys sharing what she knows about the workings of insurance policies and recognizes that insurance has its own special kind of language that is important to know.

Languages and teaching have been a large part of who she is. She learned many programming languages in her education and career as a software engineer, and spent several years traveling and teaching military members how to use the software that her team developed for the Space and Defense sector at TRW. 

Caron is a native of the Bay Area having earned her first degree at College of San Mateo and, after attending San Diego State University for her junior year, returned to San Jose State University to complete her Computer Science degree while working full time. 

Computers and traveling were great fun but she learned that motherhood opened a new and wonderful part of her life and she retired after 20 years to become a full time mom. Cherishing every moment and every day, volunteering in the library and classrooms from kindergarten until they kicked her out in 4th grade, being a softball, basketball, and soccer mom and even an AYSO referee made life full of fun memories. She began volunteering in other aspects of life too, including with PSI, Personal Success Institute and a personal growth leader since the 70’s, where she learned about expanding personal responsibility, happiness is a choice, and overcoming fears to live the life she chooses. She is grateful for her family, friends, and wonderful extended family as well, and looks forward to each and every day with a smile!

Building Customer Support

Blue Okra works hard to build customer support

PWBC Member Julie Parker offered some helpful ideas for building customer support and trust during these times when direct contact is not always possible. 

As someone very accustomed to having customers touch and feel her products, growing her business at a distance has been challenging. Julie believes that our path to success is to learn how to portray ourselves in an understandable way, which will in turn build trust. We know that people tend to gravitate to well-known brands because they know and trust it, and they don’t have the opportunity to get to know something new.

We need to understand the customer in order to allow the customer to understand our product or service.  Body language and presence are a big part of communication and marketing so it is important, in the absence of direct presence, to build trust with the customer in new ways. One of the most critical ways is “seeing” the customer, which is really working to understand them, and how our product or service might work for them personally. 

In person we can be more expressive. People want to see your hands. Moving closer and being more intentional so that expressions and feelings convey is key. Reflect what they are saying and build a rapport because we know that sharing emotions builds trust. Also, try to be more expressive physically – use your hands, move in closer, be intentional about how you come across. And voicing agreement and showing emotions goes a long way to helping new customers, especially, feel good working with you. If we are mindful, we can do this over video chat.

On Zoom you can also do what Julie calls a forensic chit chat – just a few minutes to initially listen to what is going on. Our natural position tends to be to give them a lot of information but we want to listen and hear what they are saying. It is important to dedicate your time to this. With email and Zoom, it is possible to spend more time with the customer.  It’s important to improve your Zoom skills and background to present yourself in the best light (figuratively and literally!). 

Showing our expertise is another way to work through these unusual times for selling and marketing to new clients. For example, Julie is a certified green business for San Mateo and that happened to be a huge area of concern once the virus lockdown happened. The larger changes we saw as a community allowed people to be more connected to the green aspect of their lives and, as a result, her business. She incorporates that green certification into her marketing as it attracts a new set of more aware clientele. Julie encourages us all to think about what we are doing in our own businesses to be more socially responsible, and make sure we do not overlook the opportunity to promote that moving forward. 

Julie Parker is the creative mind behind Blue Okra, a company that is committed to delivering their customers ethically made, environmentally conscious, perfectly cozy baby blankets and more. Visit www.blueokra.com for more information.

Meet the Member

Adrienne Fink of doTerra essential oils
Adrienne Fink knows her essential oils

Meet the Member! This blog is one in a series of posts dedicated to learning a little more about one of our PWBC members. 

Adrienne Fink is a wellness advocate with “doTerra” essential oils.  doTerra translates to “the gift of the earth”.  She is seriously committed to finding the perfect essential oil that can bring relief to many ailments from which we suffer, one drop at a time. Adrienne understands first-hand that in order to reduce the toxic load in our environment, we must move away from the pharmaceutical overload that we so often rely on. The enormous variety of essential oils and products that doTerra provides means that we can find precisely the right formula for short and long-term relief.

Adrienne also enjoys providing the topical applications of AromaTouch Technique, (which help relieve stress, supports your immune system, reduces inflammation and brings the body to a homeostasis balance), as well as the Symphony of the Cells protocols (the application of 10 various oils to create a synergistic effect to the various body systems). These services are provided by appointment only to clients that reach out to her directly.

Adrienne is a proud California native. She is kind and energetic, and her favorite companion is her loyal dog, who goes anywhere and everywhere with her. Her commitment to health and wellness extends into her own life, as she is herself a consistent consumer of doTerra products, and a true believer in overall fitness and physical health. She is a proud mom to two grown sons.

For more information about how doTerra natural oils and products can change your life, reach out to Adrienne at 650-302-3899. She is more than happy to share her personal experiences and knowledge about how essential oils can improve your life. She can also be reached by emailing her at adriennefink@sbcglobal.net

Know Your Liability

The fabulous and knowledgeable Caron Soenen

In a recent presentation to our Connections group, PWBC member Caron Soenen talked about the protections provided for premises liability by renters policies, homeowners policies and commercial general liability policies.

It is important for homeowners to protect themselves, their family and their pets not only in the home but away from the home as well. Not many people realize that homeowners insurance does not protect you in the car, which would need to be covered under a separate auto liability policy.

Caron highly recommends that you increase your personal liability on your home to at least $300K, maybe $500K. For the cost of about $20 a month, it is totally worth it. Definitely do it if you own property that you don’t occupy. Have your renters get their own renters policy as well.

Generally, we should all be very clear about what we are financially worth. Take a look at your equity, savings and other assets. Consider an umbrella policy to protect you. The best insurance deal out there is $1M, which only costs about $300/yr. Add it to your auto and your homeowners coverage for complete peace of mind. 

Premises liability is another type of coverage, for someone who owns a commercial or rental property. It covers hazards, repairs, and more, but documentation is required so that everything is on the record. As a landlord, you should have extra protection (up to $1 million) and also have your renters get their own policy.  Check your assets to determine the amount of coverage that you need including an umbrella.  A $1 million umbrella policy usually costs about $300/year.  

Commercial/general liability coverage is for businesses, and will cover business, inventory, and the results of your business (products and completed operations). Anyone who buys that product is protected for the projected life of the product. Typically commercial leases have a provision in the lease which requires the renter to cover the first $100K because the owner does not control the property. 

Pandemics are not considered a loss of business income on most policies. There are a few private insurers out there that may allow for it, but as a general rule, these types of things are just not covered. It is a good idea to know your policy and to speak to someone who knows the ins and outs of what is covered.

Caron Soenen is a Commercial Insurance agent for Farmers, helping small business owners protect their assets and their employees with workers comp policies specific to their needs. To find out more about premises liability and any other insurance needs, reach out to Caron Soenen directly at 650-876-9600.

Meet the Member

Find Virginia Trowbridge at GIJoe Homes for all of your Bay Area residential real estate needs

Meet the Member! This blog is one in a series of posts dedicated to learning a little more about one of our PWBC members.

Virginia Trowbridge is a Licensed Real Estate Professional and a member of the GI Joe Homes team, helping Military Members and their families buy and sell their homes by using their VA Benefits.

After graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a degree in Fashion Merchandising Virginia embarked on a career in the fashion industry. Her love of leadership and passion for management led organizations to rapid success. While Vice President of Byer California her team experienced a 50 percent sales increase in two years, followed by another two years of 100 percent growth. Prior to this, as a buyer for Target Minneapolis, she increased sales volume by almost 50 percent—from $62 million to $91 million. 

After 25 plus years in the fashion industry Virginia became a licensed agent for Farmers Insurance. Property and Casualty was her main focus, working with customers and Real Estate Agents, educating many on insurance strategies for more efficient coverage. When the Federal Government did not approve a budget, FEMA stopped issuing flood insurance. Virginia helped many to navigate their coverage options by providing access to the private flood insurance market. This attention to customer service brought success to the agency which was recognized consistently year over year. Business increased 15-20% annually over the 10 year tenure in the business. 

Through this work she became involved in the San Mateo Association of Realtors and the Women’s Council of Realtors, where she served as membership vice chair, secretary and ways & means chair, and she was awarded Affiliate of the Year. These experiences inspired Virginia to join a real estate start up company where she helped build and manage teams and contributed to over 500 real estate transactions. 

In her spare time, Virginia takes advantage of everything the Bay Area has to offer and spends much of her time with her husband and daughter hiking, taking road trips, and enjoying the California sunshine.

Virginia is a Licensed Real Estate Professional and a member of the GI Joe Homes team, helping Military Members and their families buy and sell their homes by using their VA Benefits. 

After graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a degree in Fashion Merchandising Virginia embarked on a career in the fashion industry. Her love of leadership and passion for management led organizations to rapid success. While Vice President of Byer California her team experienced a 50 percent sales increase in two years, followed by another two years of 100 percent growth. Prior to this, as a buyer for Target Minneapolis, she increased sales volume by almost 50 percent—from $62 million to $91 million. 

After 25 plus years in the fashion industry Virginia became a licensed agent for Farmers Insurance. Property and Casualty was her main focus, working with customers and Real Estate Agents, educating many on insurance strategies for more efficient coverage. When the Federal Government did not approve a budget, FEMA stopped issuing flood insurance. Virginia helped many to navigate their coverage options by providing access to the private flood insurance market. This attention to customer service brought success to the agency which was recognized consistently year over year. Business increased 15-20% annually over the 10 year tenure in the business. 

Through this work she became involved in the San Mateo Association of Realtors and the Women’s Council of Realtors, where she served as membership vice chair, secretary and ways & means chair, and she was awarded Affiliate of the Year. These experiences inspired Virginia to join a real estate start up company where she helped build and manage teams and contributed to over 500 real estate transactions. 

In her spare time, Virginia takes advantage of everything the Bay Area has to offer and spends much of her time with her husband and daughter hiking, taking road trips, and enjoying the California sunshine.

Virginia Trowbridge is a realtor with GI Joe Homes, a small realty company dedicated to helping veterans with all of their real estate needs. Find out how she can help you or the veterans in your life!

Reading is FUNdamental

Jeannie Twomey finds inspiration for her real estate business – and her life – through reading.

PWBC members enjoyed an inspiring presentation from fellow member Jeannie Twomey. Though her professional bonafides are in real estate, she chose to offer a more personal presentation about her connection to reading and how it has changed her life. 

Jeannie has always been a reader. She remembers being very young and diving into each and every book that she could find. It has allowed her to broaden her perspective and stay really curious about the world around her. Reading has always served to spark her imagination and keep her thinking about the perspectives of others. Reading is more than learning for her – it is a way of life. Especially during these more isolated times, reading has made a tremendous difference in her general well-being and happiness. Some of her favorite reads include The Happiness Advantage, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Big Magic, and anything by Malcom Gladwell. Fiction or nonfiction, Jeannie finds comfort in the pages of a good, old-fashioned book. 

As a real estate investor, Jeannie deeply depends on her business partners nestled in other regions who serve as her watchful eye during the process of selecting, purchasing and rehab-ing properties for sound investments. She speaks fondly of one of her partners in particular, Mr. John Goolcharan, who is a featured author in the book Desire, Discipline and Determination: Lessons From Bold Thought Leaders. His chapter is entitled I Will Persist Until I Succeed. In his chapter, he details the experiences in his life that enabled him to thrive in business and in life. A native of Trinidad, his mother taught him to be resourceful and determined. He never stopped working to get an education, working to get to the United States, working to excel in establishing himself as a businessman able to support his family. He never gives up. He never decides that something is impossible. And his example is one that Jeannie is happy to follow. She encourages all to read John’s story and to just keep reading in general because we will be better for it. 

Jeannie Twomey and her husband John decided to turn real estate from a hobby to a business in 2017. Key Real Estate Ventures partners with investors nationwide to capitalize on real estate opportunities in affordable markets that will offer the biggest and most reliable returns.

Meet The Member

The doctor is IN. Dr. Nicole Watson – ready to help!

Meet the Member! This blog is one in a series of posts dedicated to learning a little more about one of our PWBC members.

Dr. Nicole Watson is a chiropractor and has been a member of the PWBC for over 9 years. As a Chiropractic Physician, she works to help patients manage the daily physical, emotional and chemical stressors through the power of the chiropractic adjustment. 

Dr. Nicole is a 4th generation San Francisco native. She was certified in massage therapy for 8 years and ran her own private massage practice before earning her Chiropractic Doctorate at Life West College of Chiropractic in Hayward, California in 2005. She purchased Belmont Advanced Chiropractic in early 2008. Dr. Watson has been involved in chiropractic care for many years, having first started her journey at the age of 16 when she worked in Belmont. She was in awe of all the health benefits she saw with folks under chiropractic care and wanted to be a part of such an amazing profession. She has a special knack with treating the geriatric community and did a segment on geriatric chiropractic on KRON4, a local news station where she explained how beneficial chiropractic care is for any age. Dr. Nicole is trained in over 6 techniques, which allows her to be able to safely take care of any generation. She is currently working on completing a post graduate certification with the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) and is ICPA Webster Certified to treat pre- and post-natal mothers, infants and children.  Dr. Nicole loves taking care of folks of all ages and educating those who will listen about the amazing benefits of appropriate chiropractic care. 

When not performing thousands of adjustments per year, Dr. Nicole can  be found off roading and RV’ing with her husband of over 17 years and  friends, having fun with her 6 nieces and nephews, cooking and learning  to play the ukulele. She loves to work, sing, and practice Yoga. 

Learn more about Dr. Nicole and the benefits of chiropractic care on her website www.adjustedforhealth.com. Sign up for her monthly newsletter to receive helpful tips and education related to chiropractic care and your overall health.

Determined To Help Others

The Pacifica Resource Center was thrilled to receive our PWBC donation!

The year 2020 brought many unexpected changes to our world.  As we watched businesses in our community close, open, close and reopen again, we understood the negative impact this would have on their ability to survive. The need for essentials became more and more important as people were no longer receiving paychecks.  

Our group wanted to reach out in some small way to help families and individuals get through this crisis even though some of our members were experiencing the same hardships. It was important to us to pull our resources together to help others. During the holiday season we connected with The Pacifica Resource Center to have them help us find a family that needed assistance for the holidays. Through the generosity of our group we were able to donate close to $1000 in gift cards and grocery money to a family of four.  

Before the COVID-19 shutdown, our women’s group met at a local restaurant every Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m. Over the years we had the same head waiter who provided superior customer service. After much research we discovered that he was furloughed from his job and was having a difficult time supporting his family. Once again our group rallied and put together a grant as well as individual member donations to provide over $500 to him and his family.

We have a committed group of women who are dedicated to the success of each other and to our community. We will continue to use our resources and collective action to do our part to care for those in need. 

For the Love of Pets

Dawn adores each and every one of her pet (and human) clients!

PWBC member Dawn Hoover entertained us with a few of her most recent adventures as a pet sitter.

Thankfully, Dawn has seen an uptick in business, with new clients and a return of some old, as people get back to their somewhat normal lives and schedules. Dawn focuses on building strong connections with the pets and families that she gets to know over the years. It is not surprising that she is sad to see them move on when life takes them on a new adventure. 

Dawn visits with the pets, gives them some love, feeds them and does other things to not only care for the animals but the humans as well, like bringing the mail in and checking on the house to make sure all is good. Finding someone you can trust to care for your pets as you would can be a challenge. After hearing Dawn talk about the animals in her care, we know they are in the best hands! Her stories of their personalities, preferences, and her broad base of knowledge about the specific breeds, ailments and treatments, too, make it crystal clear that Dawn is the best of the best when it comes to comprehensive pet-sitting and pet care. 

Dawn Hoover of a Pet’s Best Friend will sit, walk and care for your pets when you can’t, providing the most attentive and loving care for all kinds of pets. Check out her website  or call her directly at 650-571-0360 for more information. 

Meet The Member

Audrey Smith photo
The attorney we trust the most – Ms. Audrey Smith

Meet the Member! This blog is one in a series of posts dedicated to learning a little more about one of our PWBC members. 

“All people are equal before the law in court.  A good attorney is what makes the difference.”

Audrey Smith is a partner at Howie & Smith, LLP an “AV” (top) rated civil litigation law firm located in San Mateo (with satellite offices in Oakland and San Diego) since 1996.  Her practice includes trial court and appellate advocacy, client counseling, and transactional services for plaintiffs and defendants in cases across the civil spectrum, including personal injury cases, real estate and landlord-tenant disputes, premises liability, elder care law, public entity law, products liability, insurance coverage, HOA law and construction defect cases. Audrey works closely with her clients to ensure an efficient, cost-effective, and realistic resolution to legal problems.

Representative Cases

Motor Vehicle Accidents  The firm has successfully and efficiently handled hundreds of cases involving various theories brought against owners and drivers of rental and other motor vehicles, including all aspects of coverage, liability, and numerous theories of damages.  We also represent persons who have sustained serious and debilitating injury as a result of motor vehicle accidents.  Experience representing both sides in these (and other) matters is helpful in achieving an efficient and optimal resolution.

Landlord/Tenant cases.  High value results for tenants in rental units with habitability violations and other landlord misbehavior.  We also have a long track record of successfully representing and advising landlords.

Premises.   The firm has successfully handled hundreds of cases for our clients involving premises liability law.  For example, we obtained a highly favorable settlement following a summary judgment for the owner of winery sued by bicyclist who sustained major head trauma after a hitting a culvert on a roadway at the client’s winery.  We obtained summary judgment for a property owner sued by an injured ATV rider and for a property owner when a guest fell off his dock.  Multiple cases representing both plaintiffs and defendants for injuries sustained on property.

Public Entity/Civil Rights.  The firm has a long history of representing public entities as well as people suing public entities.  We obtained summary judgment for client City in highly complex water damage claims involving interlocking theories of flood and surface water damage.   We obtained summary judgment for client County in gang shooting case at local county fair.  We also represent persons suing public entities, an unusually complex and difficult process.

Construction.  The firm has handled many large cases involving claims of construction defect.  The firm successfully represented a general contractor who was hired to extensively renovate high-end single family homes in San Francisco in multiple cases brought by homeowner clients who sued claiming multiple perceived construction defects and contract violations.  The firm obtained summary judgment for a general contractor in suit by subcontractor’s employee struck by vehicle on the roadway during construction.

Employment.  Successful defense of multiple cases of sexual harassment and other intentional torts. 

Industrial Injuries.   Highly favorable resolution of scalp avulsion injury for designer/manufacturer of large-scale conveyor system. Defense verdict for owners of large farming cooperative sued by farm worker injured by oncoming tomato harvester. 

Howie & Smith regularly handles cases in state courts throughout the San Francisco Bay Area counties (Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Sonoma, Solano, Contra Costa, San Benito, Monterey, and Santa Cruz) as well as around the rest of the state. The firm also regularly handles federal cases throughout California up through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Audrey is a San Francisco native but also grew up in Oregon and graduated from Brown University in Rhode Island.  She moved back to the West Coast and worked as a paralegal in San Francisco. Then she attended Santa Clara University Law School, serving as an editor on the Santa Clara Law Review Board. She was also a published comment writer for the Law Review.   The law has gotten ever more complicated, intimidating, expensive and inaccessible.  Audrey loves to solve legal problems for her clients in the most efficient and inexpensive manner possible.