Phew! We’re coming up on the end of this crazy, frustrating, never ending rollercoaster of a year. Goodbye 2020…can’t say we’ll miss you! However, even with all the frustrations, trials, anxieties, and disappointments that came with 2020, here at RSS we had much to be thankful for and experienced many exciting changes, developments and growth. As we do every December, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of what the year brought us.
Supporting Our Community
A huge focus of our agency every year is supporting, promoting and volunteering with local nonprofits in our area. While the pandemic definitely curtailed some projects and many nonprofit capabilities and programs, overall, the need for the services provided by the nonprofits we serve yearly was greater than ever. As usual, in addition to donating $10 to charity for every referral we received this year, we were still able to actively volunteer and support a majority of our Charities of the Quarter in some way.
Back in February, we were able to volunteer with Project Angel Heart. We volunteered in their kitchens, putting together medically-tailored “breakfast bags” for people with life threatening illnesses. Our agency also held an outdoor “bag decorating party” where we decorated and colored over 100 bags for Project Angel Heart. They deliver over 505,000 meals a year to Coloradans in these hand decorated bags.
Later in the year, we volunteered at Food Bank of the Rockies. Specifically, we helped box up enough food to provide 7,775 meals for seniors and also packed almost 10,000 pounds of food for food orders to be delivered to partner agencies in the Denver metro area. We also promoted and hosted our yearly Food Bank of the Rockies Virtual Food Drive.
The RSS team celebrated Giving Tuesday this month by helping A Precious Child make Colorado Kid’s Christmas dreams come true through the A Precious Gift Program. We spent an afternoon filling Christmas wish list orders for children in need in our community. Last year alone, A Precious Child provided holiday gifts to more than 13,000 children. The holidays are a special time for families and A Precious Child endeavors to make sure that every child is able to experience this special time alongside their peers. We also hosted and promoted a Virtual Toy Drive to support the Precious Gift Program.
We also supported and sponsored numerous other charities on a smaller scale and behind the scenes in 2020. In light of the pandemic, it was still a busy year, and we had a wonderful time as always helping these amazing charities! We encourage you to learn more about these nonprofits as well as a few of our other favorite charities: Flatirons Habitat for Humanity, Growing Home, Hope House Colorado, Jefferson Center for Mental Health, and Westminster Legacy Foundation.
Building Our Team
2020 brought some team member changes as well. We welcomed FIVE amazing people into our RSS family this year! In February, we hired Kristen Wenger into the newly created position of Commercial New Business/Quoting Specialist, Genisi Pennie and Mary Policky as new Employee Benefits Advisors, Blaine Swanson as a Commercial Insurance Advisor, and Kelsey Lee as our newest Administrative Assistant/soon-to-be Personal Lines Account Manager. All five have added a great deal to our team and we’re so excited to grow with them in 2021!
Our agency had the opportunity to celebrate several team member milestones this year as well! Aaron and Sara celebrated 25 years of marriage in January, Dena was recognized for 30 years of dedication to RSS, Stephanie shared her joyous news that she’d be a first time mama in early 2021,Dani brought home the gold medal in the 2020 USPA Drug-Tested National Powerlifting Championship, and Kelsey passed her Colorado licensing exams and became a licensed insurance professional. Phew! While 2020 has been difficult for everyone, we’re happy to remember our celebrations. Congratulations to everyone!
New Year, New Partnerships
Among the chaos of 2020, we were excited to form two new and amazing partnerships! First, in January we became part owner of the 7th largest agency in the US! We became proud partners with other like-minded, successful agencies – specifically, we partnered with CAA-Combined Agents of America. MORE options for our clients, MORE support for our team, MORE collaboration with fellow insurance professionals! We love that we continue to be fiercely independent and family-owned, but now have increased product and carrier capabilities and additional resources and collaboration.
In November, we were thrilled to become a member of TRUE Network Advisors – an elite group of benefits advisors. We’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the best minds in the industry in driving the evolution of employee benefits and to once again be able to offer our clients a more extensive group of product offerings and services. At RSS, we’re continually evolving, developing and growing in order to provide all of our clients and team the best products, services, experience and resources available.
Technology, Technology, Technology
Anyone tired of Zoom yet? Besides hosting what seems like thousands of Zoom calls and meetings, purchasing countless laptops, video cameras and ring lights, RSS also invested in several additional pieces of technology that not only change the way we do business and make us better prepared for 2021, but also to communicate with our clients and team in any and every way necessary (no matter what the world throws at us).
Earlier in the year, we added Cincopa to our technology suite for use by our team. Cincopa is a centralized video platform that allows our team to easily create, manage, and deliver videos across any browser or device. It allows us to embed our videos into our emails and newsletters. Then in March (great timing) we transferred to a new VoIP phone system through TPX Communications. Our new VoIP system not only allows our team to work and communicate with our clients from anywhere seamlessly, but the accompanying UCx app transforms the way our team works with a single, simple to use communication and collaboration app for calling, messaging and meeting with anyone, anywhere on any device.
Lastly, we’ve begun remodeling our conference room to streamline our communication and meeting capabilities. In addition to replacing our old furniture with custom made reclaimed wood tables and leather chairs, we installed a new audiovisual & video conferencing system. Whether we’re organizing a group Zoom conference or hosting a team training event, we’ll be able to provide our team, clients, and partners with a quality and modern experience.
Well, there you have it! Despite the pandemic and the many hardships of the past twelve months, 2020 was a very productive and busy year for our agency and our team! We’re very excited about the changes and additions we made and the non-profits and community we were able to support. Needless to say, we can’t wait for 2021! We have so much more planned and we believe that this new year will hopefully be a great year for everyone. Happy Holidays and here’s to a very happy and joy-filled (please, please) New Year!