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Employee blog: AmFam was her dream for 28 years; now, it’s time for a new one


For 28 years, Darcy Henderson’s dream was helping American Family customers reach their goals and protect their dreams. Now, the Life Company project and process administrator is saying good-bye and pursuing a new travel dream.

When I was asked to write a blog about my career at American Family and also about leaving American Family to pursue my dream of expanding my travel business, what first came to mind is how far I have come since my first day back in April of 1990.

I remember my big decision at that time was whether I should take a $3 an hour pay cut – I was making $8.65 an hour at my current job – and take the entry-level job American Family offered me in the Life Records Department.

At this time, we also were moving from Stevens Point, Wisconsin to Madison, where the cost of living was double and we knew no one. My employer at the time had a company in Madison that I could have transferred to. The easy road would have been to stay in my comfortable supervisory position at least until I was comfortable in a new city.

Change is good
As you probably figured out, I did decide to step outside my comfort zone and stop making excuses about why I shouldn’t make the change. I followed my gut that kept telling me that I would have many more opportunities for growth and benefits if I took the entry-level position at American Family.

Sometimes, you need to go backward to move forward.

Risk taking = dreams fulfilled – Part 1
My gut did not fail me during the 28 years I’ve been here. Throughout my career, by taking advantage of the education offered, working hard, setting personal goals and having the right attitude, I’ve held many positions in the Life Company. I started in the records department – which no longer exists – and ended in the Life Sales and Support team as an administrator, with many positions in between.

As I sit here, 28 years later, my gut and everything American Family stands for is telling me I should follow my dream and start a new chapter in my life, which once again takes me from the comfort that I feel here at American Family.

Risk taking = dreams fulfilled – Part 2
Am I taking a risk? Would it be easier to stay here until I am ready to retire and live very comfortably for the rest of my time on this planet? Yes. However, following my passion for traveling, helping others do the same and staying fit is what brings so much joy to my life. Neither of these are things I can easily accomplish by remaining in my comfort zone. I am excited to grow my travel agency, which I started as a small business in my spare time, and I also plan to become a Pilates trainer in the fall.

Nothing but gratitude
This is what I feel as I leave American Family on April 19. I am grateful for everything American Family has provided to me, be it educational opportunities, job opportunities, great benefits, and most importantly, all the awesome people I have gotten to work with and the friendships I have made.

All this has helped me decide to step outside my comfort zone once again to take a risk in building another chapter in the awesome life I live with my wonderful husband, Todd, who supports my dreams 100 percent.

Do I have many what-ifs about my future? Yes. But, fortunately, the project-management experience I gained at American Family has made me realize everything is “figure-out-able!”

And, I’m looking forward to doing just that. Bon voyage!

Photos: Darcy Henderson has traveled extensively and planned trips for others through the travel business she started. Soon, she’ll be leaving her 28-year AmFam career to devote herself to travel planning full time. Learn more about Darcy’s travel business at her website.