Sunday Conversation: Fisher blazing trails in insurance
Martha Fisher is a former principal of Cascade Elementary School. Cascade won the prestigious National Blue Ribbon School award in 2012. The program is for schools that achieve the highest level of achievement in education. Fisher won the state's Principal of the Year award in 2013-2014.
The Raus native retired in August of last year to work as an education consultant, but now is blazing trails in an entirely new career: insurance. And she is keeping it all in the family. Her sons Brett Fisher and Brad McGee own the firm, H.B. Cowan & Co.
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T-G: Tell me what brought you into working in insurance.
Fisher: When I retired last August, I took a job as a traveling consultant for a private company. I traveled all around Middle and East Tennessee, and a few times to West Tennessee, to work with schools and help them. I thought I didn't mind traveling. I loved working with the schools. But I discovered I didn't like driving anymore, especially driving back home from somewhere far away like Clarksville, at night, or worse, from Clarksville to Knoxville without even coming home.
My sons had worked for H.B. Cowan for years (nine and 10 years) and had bought the company one and a half years ago. I know they were worried about Mom traveling. This past spring, they were looking to add someone to the staff, and they said, "Mom, are you interested?"
God's got plans. I don't think I would have come here straight from Cascade. I took the job after much prayer. I have lots of grandkids and I have time to help with them now. I think my sons had other incentives!
T-G: What has it been like here?
Fisher: The other workers have made me feel welcome.
It's new, being on a learning curve. It's uncomfortable. I want to be the best in my field. That's me. God has blessed me in the education field.
T-G: Tell me who your family members are.
Fisher: My husband is Mike. My sons are Brad and Brett, and my daughter is Shannon Dearing. I have six grandchildren, and I love playing with them. One of them plays basketball at Liberty School.
My father is Dwight Stubblefield, who collects Boost and Ensure for cancer patients. (Her mother is the late Anne Stubblefield.) My dad, my sister and her husband and I plan to go to Branson, Missouri, soon; Dad wants to do some genealogy research in Arkansas along the way.
T-G: What are some family traditions?
Fisher: Every Sunday after church we all get together and eat. We take vacations together. That grows the love. We trust in God; we love God.
My son-in-law Jay Dearing fills in as a preacher at different churches sometimes. He preached last Sunday at our church, Thompson Creek Baptist (he preaches there on fifth Sundays). He preached on God having a vision for people. Our vision is to serve God and grow in His love.
We all get together for Thanksgiving with all our family members. I had 30 people at my house this Thanksgiving.
T-G: What do you do at H.B. Cowan?
Fisher: I am a customer service representative. I work with existing customers on the commercial side with my sons (other agents work the residential side). I work on any changes to the policy, take payments, look up information, input data and more.
I plan to get my insurance license in a couple of months. I've just been busy learning. I'm not worried about the test -- I'm used to testing! I just have to find the time to study.
The boys really impress me with their expertise. Brett has been doing most of my training.
If you asked me two years ago, I thought I would still be at Cascade Elementary School.
T-G: What was the highlight of your time in education?
Fisher: Cascade winning the Blue Ribbon. Because that was everybody -- the community, the county, all the teachers. Being part of the group that went to Washington, D.C., for the award was wonderful. That award and Principal of the Year were gifts from God.
T-G: What is your favorite vacation spot?
Fisher: Disney World. We go there as a family. We've been five or six times. We usually go at Christmas. We're not going this year because a couple of the grandchildren are so young, but we will go again sometime. We love staying at different Disney resorts.
T-G: What's your favorite ride?
Fisher: It's a Small World (she said with a laugh). My family says, "You get on that ride every year." The boys say, "Those dolls are always the same and do the same dance and music." Brad teased me that they put in a Michael Jackson doll to change things up. I also like the roller coasters.