In 2007, Camille Snyder was fresh out of college and working for a tech firm in Washington, D.C., when a sudden close call with cancer diverted her into pursuing the family business: insurance.
"I was making a good living in D.C. when I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic (tongue) cancer (in spring 2008) completely out of the blue," Snyder says. "... My situation made me realize the importance of life insurance and other types of insurance to people. I know personally what the financial and emotional impact can be on a person or family from being too sick to work."
Snyder, who has now been cancer-free for five years, started studying to practice insurance in 2010 and got her license in Washington, D.C. She moved back to Jackson two years ago and joined the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers in Jackson. In June 2014, the organization elected Snyder as its newest and youngest president.
NAIFA is to insurance workers what the Bar Association is for lawyers or the National Association of Realtors is for realtors. The organization offers industry-approved courses to keep insurance professionals up to date on the latest information and product developments for the industry. The organization also provides advocacy for the insurance industry and its clients, provides business and professional development for member organizations and promotes ethical conduct for insurance providers.
Snyder, 29, was born and raised in Fondren and is still living there today with her husband, Drew. She graduated from Jackson Academy and went to college at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., where she majored in business and commerce. It was shortly after graduating and going into the tech business that she received her cancer diagnosis during a business trip to India.
When Snyder returned to Jackson, she also joined her family's own insurance firm, the Allen Financial Group as sales manager, in addition to her work with NAIFA Jackson. She is now the company's managing director. Allen Financial is a general agency for Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America that Snyder's father, David Allen, established in 1979.
"A safe financial future is important for anyone," she says. "... I didn't have any risk factors and wasn't expecting to get hit with a life-threatening illness at age 23. It was an eye-opening experience for me. If you can put plans in place to avoid the negative impact of such things, it helps so much."
Snyder's experience also taught her about the power of people as well.
"So many family members, friends and colleagues did so much for me while I was sick," she says. "... It's a humbling thing, and I get emotional thinking about the goodness of people and their love and support, and not just for me, but for my family as well."