When Missy Waters was born on March 15th — the crop insurance spring sales closing date — her fate was sealed from day one to work in the crop insurance industry, where she would eventually serve as a Senior Vice President of Marketing and Service at ProAg.
Now, after 34 years in the industry — more than 14 of them at ProAg – the Louisiana native is hanging her hat on a remarkable career, recalling the most treasured moments along the way and sharing advice for others in the industry.
“The people and relationships have kept me in crop insurance all these years,” says Missy. “It’s a down-to-earth career that gives the opportunity to help people in their time of need.”
[Crop insurance is] a down-to-earth career that gives the opportunity to help people in their time of need.
Achievements in crop insurance
A driving force for many positive changes in the crop insurance industry, Missy has led the way on several initiatives that improved the industry’s service to farmers. At Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, she was a major part of the team that helped develop the AgriWare® application, a system that won an IBM® Development Application Trends Award in 2001. This online processing system for policy entry and management was the first in the industry to use the internet to send live information during data entry between the companies and agencies, rather than sending files via file transfer. Most recently, at ProAg, Missy was a part of the team that helped create the foundation of the ProAgWorks® processing system to help revolutionize processing.
Missy has been prioritizing efficiency and streamlining processes for several decades, noting how advancements in technology have helped grow the industry from when she first started. After joining the ProAg team to serve in a national training manager position, Missy then moved into a regional vice president role shortly after being hired. Her career in crop insurance has led to many different roles within the industry, from underwriter to operations manager and beyond.
Like any longtime industry veteran, Missy recalls select moments that made her role especially rewarding.
“I reflect on the drought in the 2012 crop year and how proud I was, and still am, of the ProAg team and our ability to perform under pressure,” she shares. “Our team has always been willing to put in the hours to make sure our farmers are taken care of from the top down.”
Our team has always been willing to put in the hours to make sure our farmers are taken care of from the top down.
The ProAg Difference
Staying with one company for nearly 15 years was an easy choice for Missy. She reports a deep appreciation for the people, culture and opportunities granted from working at ProAg.
“What really stands out the most is when I came over to ProAg with a group of people from another large insurance provider and we saw a large amount of growth and new team members during that time,” reports Missy. “It was exciting to see everyone progress in their careers at ProAg.”
The company’s emphasis on supporting and empowering women in leadership stands out to Missy as well.
“Females are given the opportunity to thrive and succeed at ProAg; their fairness across genders has been important to me,” says Missy, noting how ProAg is an annual sponsor of the Women in Agribusiness Conference.
The company has invited female leaders to attend their annual women’s trips. These trips, according to Missy, have held special meaning in supporting her belief that ProAg invests in their team members on a personal level.
“There was always bonding and laughter on those trips,” she shares. “And a lot of great memories between customers and employees eager to spend the time together.”
Celebrating service well-done
It’s not difficult for Missy’s longtime coworkers to share the meaningful ways she’s contributed to their careers, personal growth and workplace happiness.
ProAg CEO Kendall Jones speaks of how important Missy has been to not only ProAg but to herself on a personal level. Kendall emphasizes the value of Missy’s genuine honesty and perspectives, and that their friendship offered her a feeling of security over the years.
Richard Stinson, ProAg Communications and Media Director, feels the same.
“I would not be where I’m at today, nor had the career opportunities I’ve had without Missy,” says Stinson. “She has taught me compassion and customer care, how the crop insurance world works, how to lead and more importantly when to follow or serve others. She has taught me respect, dependability, humility and how to own up to my mistakes.”
Jeremy and Andrea Ryan, owners of Avery Crop Insurance in Bainbridge, Georgia, also echo the sentiment of Jones and Stinson, adding that “Missy has been a tremendous asset to our business over the years. Our relationship with her over the years has been invaluable. Our agency, the team at ProAg, and the crop insurance industry have been very fortunate to have Missy’s leadership through all the years. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement!”
I would not be where I’m at today, nor had the career opportunities I’ve had without Missy.
Sharing advice before a well-earned retirement
Currently residing in Clearwater, Florida, Missy will seamlessly enter retirement enjoying time on the beach, boating, traveling and enjoying the warm weather with friends and family. She also is excited to find opportunities to volunteer and give back to the local community.
A big sports fan, Missy will devote more time to cheering on her beloved Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas Jayhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning.
But before she goes, Missy offers wisdom to those in the industry.
“I’m a firm believer that if you say you’re going to do something, you do it,” she says. “If you commit to anything, carry it through to the end. If you’re able to do that, you’ll gain a lot of respect from the people you work with. I try to live by that and, as a leader, instill that into the people I work with.”
Missy says that successful workers are those who let other people know they can count on them.
“Never lose focus of what your role is and how it contributes to the success of the team.”
We honor Missy Waters for her dedication to the crop insurance industry and congratulate her on a well-deserved retirement!
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