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Risen together

Jen Dunn delights in her work, family and community

State Farm, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Jen Dunn
Jen Dunn's full life is a rewarding blend of work, community and family, including spending time with son Nick (far right), husband Brian and daughter Julia (far left).

Jen Dunn is busy as can be, having just taken on a new position for State Farm, for whom she's worked since starting as an intern there while still in high school, to parenting her two teens through their final year in high school and early time in college.

"It's been a big changeover involving everything from paperwork to computer systems," said Dunn. "I've been working as an independent agent for State Farm these past 13 years but got asked to transition
to State farm corporate, where I'll be working with 47 agencies now. There was a leadership need."

Fortunately, Dunn will be able to work from home in Lagrangeville, much as she's done over the years, even when also running offices in Poughkeepsie and Brookfield, CT. She'll travel to train and oversee her agents in Westchester and Rockland counties, the Hudson Valley and Southern Connecticut, but she and her family are used to travel.

Dunn was born in Staten Island, but moved to Orange County with her family as a youngster. Eventually she went to SUNY Plattsburgh, after which she took her first full-time job with the company she'd interned and worked part-time for throughout high school and college: State Farm. In 1998 she and her husband Brian, who she's known since seventh grade and who also works at State Farm, started their family with the birth of son Nick in New Jersey. He was followed by Julia in 2002, and in 2004 the Dunns moved to Bloomington, Illinois, where State Farm is headquartered to this day.

"Even though I knew that we all wanted to ultimately get back to New York, that time in the Midwest was great for our family," Dunn  said. "With no extended family or old friends around us out there, it allowed the nucleus of who we were - Brian, me, Nick and Julia - to come together in a deep way."

By 2007, the family was back in the Hudson Valley after Dunn was offered the opportunity to open her own agency. Her husband worked in facilities then and he now helps with is wife's transition to corporate work.

"Brian's provided so much support in raising the kids, in all aspects of our lives together," said Dunn. "We have a good balance. The kids have also been great, having learned what it's like to invest time, money, re- sources and energy into a business."

Dunn and her husband also have been soccer coaches for their community and donated time through State Farm. In addition, Dunn has spoken on panels about challenges of extended families.

Daughter, Julia, is a high school senior planning to attend Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh for nurs ing. She has been involved in unified baseball, plus her school's chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions and the athletics' council. Son Nick, a senior studying economics and business at SUNY Albany, has worked with State Farm and shown interest in joining the company after graduation.

With Dunn's work involving care and empathy for her clients, the Dunn family has expressed the same, responding to others' disasters, from house fires and car wrecks, to per- sonal heartbreaks.
But that doesn't mean the Dunn's don't take time for getaways around the world or even the Jersey Shore.

"We take time every day to touch base with each other," said Dunn. "We also have an extended wealth of friends who have become like family. We all love being at home, sharing all life has to offer us."

In all, her life is wonderful mix. 

"We all know we're always trying our best, doing our best," she finally said. "What we do is never selfish. It's always about giving, and we always feel supported. Insurance is one of our world's best kept secrets. It's been a wonderful career, allow- ing us to always be helping people manage their risk. Every day may be like a roller coaster but it's amazing. It's a life."
Paul Smart is a father who writes for a variety of publications in the Hudson Valley.

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