GEICO's new assistant VP Beatrice Dela Pena has never been comfortable in the comfort-zone
CHEVY CHASE, Md., Oct. 2, 2019 – Beatrice Dela Pena's exposure to the world of business began early. Her parents ran their own contracting operation, with her dad taking on various painting jobs and her mom maintaining the books.
"My parents immigrated from Mexico, and my siblings and I are first-generation Mexican-Americans," said Dela Pena. "It was inspiring growing up and seeing the work that they did."
"Inspiring" is also a good word to use when describing Dela Pena's GEICO career, which has seen her achieve milestone-after-milestone. The latest came in June when the GEICO Board of Directors elected her assistant vice president of the company's ever-growing GEICO Local Office operations. Seventeen years ago, she was a recent high school graduate when she landed a job as a GEICO sales counselor in her native San Diego. Although still a teenager, Dela Pena brought with her quite a bit of work experience.
"I began working full-time as a high school junior in fast food, and I also joined the Army Reserves and went to boot camp the summer before my senior year," she recalled. "After graduation, I worked for another insurance company, but I wanted to work for a company that had opportunities for advancement. I saw a job listing for GEICO that offered a bonus for agents with an insurance license. That's all it took for me to apply, and, thankfully, I was offered the position."
Dela Pena's drive to work for bigger and better opportunities while embracing challenges has been a constant in her career. Over the years, she has advanced through supervisory and management positions not only in San Diego, but at GEICO's offices in Macon, Georgia, and the company's corporate headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where she is now based. Along the way, she earned a business degree from California State University San Marcos and a CPCU (Chartered Property Casual Underwriter) certification. Dela Pena says she's never taken any job, task or assignment for granted.
"In every job I've had, I have worked hard, whether I was mopping floors at a fast food restaurant or selling policies at GEICO," she said. "I have taken my work seriously and always strive to do my best."
Teamwork has also been instrumental in Dela Pena's success. One of reason's she likes GEICO is because every associate is essential and valued.
"In business nothing is achieved alone; it's always a team effort. At GEICO, every person in every job impacts our success, efficiency and brand," she said. "It's humbling and exciting to be part of a group that collectively drives GEICO's success."
Dela Pena says that being an introvert in the business world has presented its own set of challenges. She's had to push herself in ways others have not and has learned to develop confidence in her introversion, rather than view it as an obstacle.
"Learning to not be afraid to raise my hand and volunteer to take on new challenges or step out of my comfort-zone has helped me learn new skills and gain experiences that have changed me personally and professionally for the better," she said.
Dela Pena is a role model not only to her two daughters—Olivia, 4, and Ava, 3—but many others who see a bit of themselves in her success story. She tells students and career newcomers they should never let an opportunity pass to demonstrate their willingness to grow and be challenged.
"Volunteer to take on new opportunities that put yourself outside of your comfort-zone! Most people don't do that because it's a risk," she said. "In my experience, staying in your comfort-zone is an even bigger risk."
GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 28 million vehicles.
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