38 years ago Tammy Truman needed a job. She was offered a ride to an insurance office that, coincidentally, had a personnel department. She was thrilled when she was hired as a Grade 1 file clerk. Because she was eager, smart and willing to work hard, Tammy learned everything she could about the company’s insurance products and climbed the corporate ladder.
“I spent five years answering agents’ questions about our products. I was always surprised by their lack of product knowledge; they appeared to be selling people products they didn’t themselves understand. I decided I needed to be out in the field, working with the public and teaching them insurance 101. I knew I had my work cut out for me because in those days there were no women selling insurance,” Tammy explains.
“In fact, when I left my head office role in 1986, the personnel manager told me, “You will never be successful. No one will buy insurance from a woman.” I just smiled and thought, “You don’t know me. I’m from a farming background, where working hard was in my blood.”
Fast forward to 1994 when Cooperators decided to franchise their locations to individual owners. Tammy was one of the first eight individuals who accepted that challenge. She founded Truman Insurance Agency in 1994 and hit the ground running.
Tammy has an all-female staff of eight. They work hard and play hard joining Tammy at every Stampeders football game. Truman Insurance is the proud partner of the team. Players and coaches support them through radio advertising, which is part of the reason why Truman Insurance has such great name recognition.
Truman Insurance offers Co-operators insurance products; home, auto, commercial, travel, life and investments. They are also the preferred insurance provider for Not for Profit (NFP) organizations. Instead of focusing on “1-800- cheap- insurance”, this agency strives to develop long term relationships and provide exceptional customer service.
Clients describe Tammy as professional, forthright, knowledgeable, and honest. “I’m honoured and humbled by our many client testimonials and referrals. Insurance is not a very fun topic and many hate having to deal with it. I try to make insurance as interesting and informative as possible, and provide the personal touches sadly missing in many parts of the industry. I spend time getting to know everything about my clients because only then can I offer the best recommendations.”
Eric Francis, Senior Sportsnet columnist and TV analyst says, “I switched my insurance to Tammy Truman well over a decade ago for one reason: I wanted to support someone who supported our community…I had met her several times through Calgary Stampeders and Flames events, which she had always supported so generously and consistently and I admired her passion for the local sports teams and the charities they support…I’ve referred at least a half a dozen good friends to Tammy and they too jumped in with both feet, moving all their insurance policies to her. She’s that good. But what is far more impressive than her business acumen is her generous support of the wonderful sports community I’ve been in for 25 years as a columnist and broadcaster.”
Generosity in the Community
From her commitment to Rotary to her endless sponsorship of Eric Francis’ Pizza Pigout, Tammy is involved in the community. It was hard to choose what community work to focus on in this article. I decided to start with her recent award. In 2018, Tammy was honoured to receive the CNA Canada Award for Excellence in Philanthropy & Community Service at the Insurance Business Awards.
In his nomination letter, Sheldon Kennedy, past Board Member of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Co-founder of the Respect Group Inc. said, “In 1998 I inline skated across Canada to raise awareness for child abuse. This topic and issue wasn’t open for conversation by many at the time. No company wanted to show support for such a dark, yet important issue.”
“Tammy convinced the Co-operators that this issue was important and in need of support. I can still vividly remember Tammy, front and centre on the field at a Calgary Stampeders Game, donating a $50,000 cheque, This took courage and vision; I believe the real change makers in our community need both. Tammy, in my mind, exceeds in both of these…Tammy has also been a supporter in time and donations for the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre since it opened.”
As you’ve probably guessed by now, Tammy is a huge football fan and an annual Calgary Stampeders and Calgary Flames season ticket-holder. She is not only on the 2019 Grey Cup Steering Committee; she is the current chair of The Stampeder Ambassadors where they raise money for the Stampeder Foundation. She has also been named an Honorary Stampeder Alumni in appreciation of her countless years of support.
“Tammy Truman has been a great Ambassador for the Calgary Flames & Stampeders for many years…Tammy Truman is a perfect example of a successful local business-person matched only by her interest in seeing our City and community succeed. Tammy would first and foremost describe herself as a sports fan, and we are lucky to have her on our team with CSEC,” says John Bean, President & CEO, Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation.
Calgary Stampeders punter, Rob Maver, a three-time West Division and a two-time CFL all-star says, “Having gotten to know Tammy quite well over these past few years I can say with certainty that her charity and community work in Calgary are second to none.”
Kicking Crohn’s In The Butt
One in 150 Canadians is affected by the disease and Canada has one of the highest incidence rates of Crohn’s and Colitis in the world. This initiative is personal for Tammy who was diagnosed with Crohn’s in l992.
“After being introduced to Rob Mavers wife, Libby, I learned we shared more than just a passion for football. We also shared the experience of a life affected by Crohn’s. With the support of the Calgary Stampeders, Rob and I have created a new initiative. We are ‘Kicking Crohn’s in the Butt’ to increase awareness of the disease in a fun and easy way,” Tammy says.
Truman Insurance donated one dollar for Crohn’s research for every punting yard Maver accumulated in 2018 & 2019. “Kicking Crohn’s in the Butt directly supports the valuable work done by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. To be able to represent both Tammy and CCC is something of which I am very proud,” Maver adds.
“The 107th Grey Cup will take place on Nov 24, 2019. I’m a proud member of the Steering Committee and invite Canadians from coast to coast to join me and Team Truman at the 107th Grey Cup festival www.greycupfestival.ca,” Tammy adds.
Up Close & Personal
Tammy never officially tied the knot but as the baby of a very large family she is the proud Aunty of 30 nieces and nephews (with 3 more on the way).
When she is not working with clients or attending a sporting or other community event, you may find Tammy in Scottsdale, Arizona, the sunshine capital of the world. “Especially in Canada, it’s important for all of us to get our Vitamin D,” she adds with a smile.
As a last word, Tammy says, “One of the reasons my all-female team and I are successful is because we lead with our heads as well as our hearts. We’ve proven that combining business and community involvement is a winning strategy for everyone. Remember that personnel manager that predicted I would fail because no one would buy insurance from a woman? He couldn’t have been more wrong - Truman Insurance just celebrated our 25th business anniversary!”
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category
Truman Insurance Agency Inc
8720 Macleod Trail Unit 19
Calgary, Alberta T2H 0M4
(403) 221 - 7257