An eye-catching and thought-provoking sign with the name the St. Louis Chapter of the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA) on it, in one of the bays at Top Golf read, “$10,000 hole-in-one challenge.”
Scoring a hole-in-one on the obstacle-like driving range at Top Golf has never been done, so said representatives of the sprawling entertainment venue and high-tech driving range in Chesterfield.
The golf swings and flying golf balls launched by participants, however, were after a much loftier prize – scholarships for the next generation of diverse insurance and financial professionals.
The event was the inaugural Scholarship Fundraiser presented by NAAIA St. Louis Chapter, held August 10th, at Top Golf. More than a hundred of golf enthusiasts, and fun-loving men and women, many of whom were seasoned insurance and financial professionals, who’d participated in the fundraiser. The event also featured a silent auction.
The goal was to support students in pursuit of insurance and financial careers. A fine representation of African Americans in the insurance and financial industry, does exist. Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the trades is what NAAIA was formed to increase.
Commercial insurance agent Shamika Rice, who works for Gallagher, an insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting firm, said she was invited to the fundraiser by another underwriter. Exposing people of color to opportunities in this business is needed, she said.
“This is a very good idea,” Rice said. “At Gallagher, I’m the only African American in my branch. For new people coming into this business and really not knowing too much about it, not having any exposure, again, this fundraiser is very good idea.”
Another golfer, Chester Clark, who works for Davis and Associates, a certified public accounting firm, said the mission of the fundraiser is a cause worthy of support.
“This is a great opportunity to be part of helping out,” Clark said. “I’m with Davis and Associates. She’s all about community, she’s all about helping, and that is why she wanted to be part of this, to be part of opening doors for others to walk through.”
The St. Louis chapter is one of 26 chapters nationally of the NAAIA, which is organized to create a network among people of color and others employed in or affiliated with the insurance industry.
“We’re here to raise funds to be able to support our young people for scholarships, for high school students going to college, and we really want to encourage young people to consider the industry of insurance and financial services and understand its accessibility to them,” Anderson said.
“A lot of accessibility has to do with exposure,” she continued. “A lot of people just do not know that it is an option. I remember when I was a young person I didn’t even know anybody who was in insurance or in financial services. When I became an adult, studied, and took my test, I can remember being at the firm and being maybe one of two black people in the space.”
“So it is about exposure, making sure people understand it is a good option,” she said. “There’s an opportunity to have a successful career, lucrative, too. It touches on the conversation of building wealth – looking at the wealth gap in the black community. So, accessibility is exposure, education. It’s seeing people who look like you being successful. And it is about us, in the space already, being able to give back.”
The Argus was one of the sponsors of the golf fundraiser. Other sponsors include:
Partnership Sponsorship Level
- The Daniel and Henry Co.
- Mark Johnson, LLC
VIP Bay Sponsorship Level
- Kwame Charitable Foundation
- Davis and Associates -Certified Public Accountants
- The Conley Financial Group
- United Healthcare
- Midwest Employers Casualty
Food and Beverage Sponsorship Level
- Precious Preemie, LLC
- Kathy Conley Jones Consults, LLC
- Williamson Financial Management
- The Argus
The National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA) was organized to create a network among people of color and others employed in or affiliated with the insurance industry.
The mission of NAAIA is dedicated to empowering African American insurance professionals currently in the industry as well as celebrating their accomplishments. NAAIA is also committed to attracting talented individuals to the insurance industry. Through our work and affiliation with other organizations we are dedicated to increasing the awareness of opportunities and the attractiveness of careers in the insurance industry.