An accomplished professional and businesswoman, Jody Hamilton earned a Bachelor of Arts in physical education with a minor in agriculture from Fresno State University in 1975 and was licensed as a teacher for kindergarten through 12th grade. She came to the insurance industry quite by accident when the only job she could find after graduating was with an insurance company. While she only remained with the aforementioned insurance company for about six months, Ms. Hamilton remained in the field, achieving two insurance licenses in California and five insurance licenses in North Carolina.
In 1977, Ms. Hamilton joined the American Automobile Association as an assistant cashier and bookkeeper. Eventually transferring to the claims department, she rose through the ranks to serve as a claims examiner and adjuster. Shifting into management positions, she spent 15 years as a claims manager and six years as a district office manager. At that time, she was notably one of only two managers who had a college degree. For her service to the American Automobile Association, she received several awards from her sales representatives and earned a trip to San Francisco. After 22 years, Ms. Hamilton took early retirement from the association, but continued to work with other agencies.
Ms. Hamilton’s next position was as an insurance agent with an agency in Fresno, California. Subsequently, she began work as an agent with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Over the course of her six years with Nationwide, she worked with both automobile and home insurance and sales. After spending several years as an independent insurance consultant in California and North Carolina, she formally retired from the insurance industry. Remaining active in her retirement, she is today involved in real estate and property investment and owns two houses in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, that she rents out in the summers and a house in Beech Mountain, North Carolina, that she rents in the winter.
Furthermore, Ms. Hamilton owns an 80-acre almond farm in Fresno County, California, with a 2,000 square-foot house. She is currently renting it to a local farmer who maintains the trees and harvests the almonds, which she then sells to haulers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, snowshoeing, and hiking with her dogs, two labradoodles named Ginger and Coco, at Blue Ridge Parkway. Looking toward the future, Ms. Hamilton hopes to travel more and continue enjoying her well-earned retirement.
Having accomplished a considerable amount over the course of her career, Ms. Hamilton attributes much of her success to having a good work ethic as well as to the solid foundation she was given by her parents. She cites that her favorite part of her career was being able to help people, especially when they were dealing with a claim for lost or damaged property. In addition, Ms. Hamilton is incredibly proud of what she accomplished as the district office manager at the American Automobile Association. She knew everyone in her office, along with their families.
One particular moment that stands out to Ms. Hamilton as she looks back over her career is from a time when she was working as a claims manager with the American Automobile Association. She didn’t get along with the district office manager to the point where he tried to fire her for doing her job. When that manager was subsequently transferred to a different office, the new manager expressed shock that the previous manager would treat her so poorly and that he was “stupid to throw [her] away,” which made her feel very good about her abilities. That manager went on to let Ms. Hamilton more-or-less run their 280-man office because of how competent she was at her job.