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William Medina: from truck driver to New York Life
Vice president of Rotary Club, Medina is giving back to the city in which he grew up.
WRITTEN BY :   Henry Veneracion, Staff Writer

DOWNEY – William Medina, scheduled to succeed to the presidency of the Downey Rotary Club (he is currently vice-president) in two years, drove a truck for six years after completing his studies in 1999 at Mission Viejo’s Saddleback College. It was his first job.
He says driving his 18-wheeler hauling frozen foods (going up north) and produce (coming down) the length and breadth of 12 Western states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, California, etc.) gave him glimpses of places he wouldn’t otherwise have ordinarily visited. This was the interesting part of it.
Then there was the scary part-when weather conditions went bad. Fortunately, he got through the experience whole and unscathed.
In one stretch of time, Willie drove his 18-gear big rig to and from Las Vegas and Los Angeles three times a week. It was during one of those moments, by his lonesome self on the freeway, that he asked himself: “Am I going to do this for the rest of my life?” Convincing himself that he could do better with his life than just driving a big rig, he left the Downey-based 9-truck-fleet Caliber Trucking which was owned and run by a friend of his to join a mortgage business run by another friend. He was to work for that friend’s small mortgage firm for the next three years (2005-2008).
Finding that he liked working in the financial services area, Willie says he interviewed with three insurance companies before finally joining New York Life Insurance Co., a mutual life insurance company (defined as “an insurance company owned entirely by its policyholders”), in April of 2008, because he liked its “strengths, stability, and culture.” these characteristics would form the core of his selling points as he goes about today recruiting potential agents to his team.
Willie says that at first, as a life insurance agent operating out of New York Life’s Fullerton General Office, one of 119 general offices (=major branches=regional headquarters) in the country, he sold such products as disability and long-term care insurance. The next year, he became a registered representative, meaning he was enabled to sell securities products, i.e., mutual funds, bonds, and so-called variable life insurance products as well as annuities.
Last year, he became part of the Fullerton General Office’s leadership team called the Hispanic Cultural Initiative as a senior market management associate, responsible for marketing and recruiting in the Hispanic/Latino community whose identified need for ‘protection, accumulation, and asset succession’ “for too long have been underserved.” In line with this, Willie says he ‘created’ events as avenues for opportunities to share product and company information with the different Hispanic organizations and the community in general, as well as recruit thirteen qualified candidates to join the New York Life team.
Just last Oct. 1, Willie got another promotion: he was made a member of the General Office’s management team as a partner. The next rung up the ladder is senior partner, and the next rung is the coveted managing partner role. (By the way, New York Life is the largest mutual life insurance company in the U.S., with assets of more than $380 billion and in excess of $19 billion in surplus funds.)
As a partner, Willie gets the opportunity to form his own team; he says he already has one good candidate lined up and hopes to eventually have three good, well-prepared, and highly-motivated members under his banner before year’s end. He’s looking for candidates “with a success pattern, a high degree of integrity, and are coachable.” With his own team, he knows he will have to do a lot of mentoring/coaching. Thus he says he himself has to “keep on learning.”
Born in 1979 in West L.A. the second of three children, Willie played offensive line, defensive line, and linebacker during the first three years of high school at Warren High, and was the kicker in his senior year, at which time he also wrestled.
The family moved to Downey when William was 6. He was a second grader when he started attending Price Elementary, then Griffiths Middle School, then Warren High.
He says his parents were strict, and instilled in him the values of hard work and discipline. This applies to his siblings as well. Older brother, Victor Jr., is now 37, is an electronics engineer, and lives in Garden Grove, while younger sister, Tesia, is 19 and is in her sophomore year at Murrieta Bible College.
His dad, Victor, is of Mexican descent, with roots in Celaya, Guanajato, Mexico, and still works as a spot-welding engineer; his mom, Billie, half-Mexican and half-Irish, was born in Del Rio, Texas.
He got married in 2005. Wife Kari, a K-5 teacher, taught at Price for four years, Lewis for two, and has been a substitute teacher for the past two years. They have a 4-year-old daughter, Hermione, and are expecting a boy in December.
His reasons for joining the Downey Rotary in 2009, he says, included: the fact that he grew up in Downey, he still resides here, as do his parents, and “I love it. I want such wonderful activities as the pancake breakfast and the Arc/Rotary golf tournament to continue.”
His goal in 10 years: become a managing partner.

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Published: Oct. 31, 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 29



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