In the Spotlight: Meet Katina Duran

For more than two decades, Toledo native Katina Duran has been on a mission to exceed personal expectations while also giving back to those who need it the most. We sat down with Katina to put her professional career and life story in the spotlight. Check it out below:

Welcome, Katina! To start off, tell us a little about yourself.

Sure thing! Well I have lived in the Toledo area all my life. I was born in Maumee and raised in Luckey where my father built a little house we called home. I graduated from the University of Toledo and shortly after started looking for a job in finance. I got my license in 1995 and started as a telemarketer for Physician’s Mutual Insurance Company.

When Physician’s Mutual decided to close its doors, I went out to open an Allstate franchise in Napoleon, Ohio and got into the property and casualty business from there. Nowadays, my focus is on Medicare planning and I work in a lot of senior centers to help people with their financial needs. Even though I have been in the industry for more than 20 years, I still look forward to the work I do every day!

How did you come across Skylight and why did you choose to work here?

Gregg Seals was the one who introduced me to Skylight. Years ago, we worked together at John Hancock and I always looked up to him as a mentor. When I left the company, we lost touch for a little while, but about a year ago we reconnected, and he told me I should work towards becoming a financial professional. Gregg is a great guy and knowledgeable advisor, and once I learned more about the mission and values here at Skylight I knew it would be the perfect fit for me.

How important is it to have a mentor in the financial services industry?

Oh, it is crucial to your success.

Having someone to go to with questions and concerns is the perfect way to make sure you are covering your bases. I think having a mentor in your life helps to keep your “learning curve” time to a minimum and gives you the confidence necessary to make it in this business.

If you were giving advice to someone who is fresh out of college and wants to break into the financial services industry, what would you tell them?

Right off the bat, I would tell them it takes about 5 years to truly grow a business from the ground up so don’t give up! Constant prospecting is the name of the game in our industry, so go out and get your name out there. Work in your community, volunteer, attend networking events, host seminars—if you are building activity you are heading in the right direction!

Are there any causes or community services that you have a lot of passion for?

As an American I am very proud to say that I do a lot of work with veteran support organizations. I try to stay active by working with the American Legion and participating in any fundraising opportunities that come my way. Volunteering my time at local soup kitchens and other poverty alleviation efforts is also important to me. The Toledo area faces a lot of challenges with homelessness, so its imperative that we come together as a community to help in any way we can.

Outside of the office, what do you like to do in your free time?

There is nothing more important to me than spending time with my two children. My daughter actually works in the industry as well, running her own insurance agency—I’d like to think she is following in my footsteps! My son currently works in the automobile industry as a finance manager. We all like to get together to hang out or take the occasional trip up to the lake.

Besides that, I am also a passionate gardener. I grow a ton of different plants—from palm trees to roses! We recently installed a small pond in our backyard, complete with a fountain pump and 7 tiny bullfrogs.

What is your proudest life achievement?

I would have to say being a successful business professional while also being a mom. Back when I was running my Allstate agency in Napoleon I was also eight months pregnant with my son. Right after I had him I went up to Chicago for a rigorous training seminar. People would tell me all the time that I was crazy or that I couldn’t keep up, but I can proudly say that I excelled in both these aspects of my life. Not only was I a consistent performer at my previous firms, being awarded things like trips to Hawaii, I also raised two strong and independent children.

Is Hawaii your favorite vacation spot? What do you like about it the most?

Absolutely! I think the island of Maui is probably the most beautiful place on planet earth. Being able to scuba dive and snorkel around all that wildlife is truly an amazing experience.

Thank you for your time, Katina!

For more information on Katina Duran, check out her LinkedIn page.