When 18-year-old Priscilla Cavazos walked through the doors of Fred Loya Insurance in 2003 to begin her new job, little did she know that 18 years later, she would walk into another insurance office every day.
This office is in Edinburg and bears her name – Priscilla Cavazos Insurance Agency.
At the time, Cavazos also did not realize the role that first insurance job would play in shaping her future. She graduated from high school at 17. A year later, she married, gave birth to her first daughter Kyliee and started at Fred Loya.
Cavazos was a single mother three years later. She was offered the opportunity to go to California to help the company open a new office. Cavazos was prepared to decline the opportunity because she would be unable to take her daughter.
“When I was selected,” Cavazos said, “it was my mom who encouraged me to go. She offered to care for my daughter because she knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Her mother was opening a door toward a better future for her daughter.
Cavazos went to California and would return to Texas. After working for Fred Loya for five years, she took a job with a Farmers Insurance agent in Victoria. Cavazos expanded her insurance-license portfolio during her three years in Victoria and remarried.
Adding To Family & Business Experience
She and her husband returned to the Rio Grande Valley and welcomed a new child, Charlotte, to the family. When Charlotte was four months old, Cavazos accepted a job with State Farm and stayed there for two years, expanding her knowledge of marketing tactics.
She next took a part-time job at her church and served as the assistant to the accountant. This gave her the opportunity to learn the financial side of business while spending more time with her children. Eventually, she and her husband opened a pressure-washing company and added a third daughter, Faith, to their family.
Three years ago, the insurance industry beckoned Cavazos back, but a lack of confidence stood in her way.
“I doubted myself,” Cavazos said. “But my mother-in-law, who retired from State Farm, told me, ‘You’ve got this. You can do both. You can be a mom and a business owner.’ ”
Cavazos created a business plan, gathered the capital she needed, made it through Farmers’ three-step interview process and opened her own agency. There have been plenty of struggles. Recently divorced, Cavazos is raising her three daughters as a single mother. She isn’t doing it alone. While her mother opened that door for her years ago, several others open doors for her often.
“I have had a life coach since I was 30,” Cavazos said. “Sometimes I feel stuck in the forest and can’t see my way out of it. He helps me work through it.” Her best friend is her go-to person for more personal things. And then she has mentors like McAllen businesswoman Edna Posada.
“Edna is a super-big mentor for me,” Cavazos said, “especially when it comes to being a mom.” (Posada also raised her children as a single mom.)
“She has taught me that I might miss ballet at times, but it’s about the quality of the time I spend with my daughters and to make the moments count,” she said.
Reflecting On Life Challenges
If Cavazos had to do it all over again, would she?
“Yes, but I probably would have done it sooner,” she said. “I doubted myself for a long time.”
Another agent once told her, “I have a lot less experience than you, yet I’m sitting in the chair you want to sit in. Are you going to let me live your dream?”
That conversation hit her hard but also inspired her to push past her doubts and fears.
“It’s going to be difficult,” she said. “When I had my daughter at 18, I thought I would have to live off food stamps, and others thought that, too. But like I tell her, `Don’t be fooled by where we are today.’
“I had the dream, but when the dream got hard, I thought it was a nightmare. I had to build my book, I had no clients when I opened the agency,’’ Cavazos said. “But I have passion. Go to different people for different things and surround yourself with people who support you, but learn to be your biggest cheerleader.”
Cavazos finds time to serve the community and to network with other professional women. She served on the board of Organization of Women Executives for three years and is currently a board member of FemCity Rio Grande Valley.
“I believe in networking and the support you get from other women,” Cavazos said, “and both of these organizations give you the tools you need in business and help you build relationships in the community.”
Cavazos also invests time in herself.
“I love to read, so I read a lot on leadership and business, and I attend conferences, as well,” she said.
By investing in her children, her door-openers, her business, clients, community and herself, Cavazos has developed something else – confidence – so it is only fitting that on social media, she is known as #theconfidentplanner.
She’s a woman willing to help others, not only as a resource for their insurance needs but also as an example of how to create the life you want to live.