Bernie Narvaez of Napa’s Narvaez Insurance Services has won one of this year’s North Bay Business Journal’s Latino Business Leadership Awards.
Tell us your story and that of your organization:
My family immigrated from Mexico when I was 5 years old. They came with a goal to earn the American dream. My parents taught me the importance of learning the American Culture while still embracing my Mexican heritage. I learned through my parents struggle that I can accomplish anything if I am willing to work hard. After the 9/11 attacks I decided to join the Marines, I was angry that someone would attack the country that has given my family and me so many opportunities.
The Marine Corps taught me the courage to face challenges despite any self-doubt or fear, I learned that discipline is a great vehicle to achieve goals, and the importance of team work and community. Values that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
My father and I started Narvaez Insurance Services in December 2007. The industry just did not cater to the Latino community to the level that we thought was acceptable. Our vision was to provide service to our clients through education, honesty, and tenacity.
In 2009 my unit was activated to Iraq and I had to leave my business for over a year. Not only did we start during the recession but I now had to shift focus from my business to my unit to make sure we were combat ready.
Fortunately, my family came together to help while I was in Iraq. We now have several thousand clients offering multiple lines of insurance while protecting families and business owners
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?:
We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary, became first-time homeowners and are now expecting our first child.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?:
Honorable discharge from the Marines. Being named 2017 Veteran of the Year of California Assembly 4th District by Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. Graduate of Leadership Napa Valley Class No. 30 and Citizens Academy 3. Being a loving husband and soon to be dad.
What is your biggest challenge today?:
Same as day one, help clients navigate the complexities of insurance and why it is important to properly communicate with your insurance agent.
Words that best describe you: Honest, friendly and helpful.
As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?:
Starting from scratch in a very competitive industry. We overcame the obstacles with persistence and serving a niche market.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: Technology will continue to impact the Insurance industry as it has shown in recent years. We will need to consider the best way to implement these changes to best serve future generations without sacrificing best practices.
Who was your most important mentor?:
My father, Gerardo Narvaez Sr. Not only is he my mentor but he is my hero. He has shown me that getting back up is more important than how many time you’ve fallen.
Tell us about your community involvement:
I am currently appointed on the Napa Parks & Recreation Commission by the Napa City Council. Big Brother with Big Brothers of America. I am president of the Napa Valley Marine Corps League. Government affairs director for the Napa County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Veteran advocate for my community.
What advice would you give to a young person today?: Dream big and work like hell to achieve it.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Warren Buffet
Current reading: Winnie the Pooh short stories. Reading them to my soon-to-be-born child.
Most want to meet: Jeff Bezos
Stress relievers: Watching a good comedy
Favorite hobbies: Fishing, hunting and camping
Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?:
It is an honor to be recognize by the Business and Latino community and hope to be an inspiration to young entrepreneurs.