Kimberly Vanover, CSO of Engrail Therapeutics, Top 10 Influential Women Leaders of 2023 Profile

Kristin Garlow
President & Owner
Mountain State Agency Alliance

Kimberly Vanover, CSO of Engrail Therapeutics, Top 10 Influential Women Leaders of 2023

"Building Long lasting Relationships"

Since her start with Mountain State Agency Alliance, Kristin Garlow has always had a vision of providing her clients with services based on the principle that “People and Relationships come first.” Understanding that all her clients' needs vary greatly, Kristin works diligently with her team to create client interactions that are specialized and focused on creating success. She has set a standard of performance for her team members that allow them the flexibility to perform to each client’s unique situations and move towards greater heights.

Mountain State Agency Alliance operates independently as one of the top-performing SIAA master agencies in the nation. Its mission statement has always been “Keeping the independent agent independent.” With the changing landscape of property and casualty insurance, many smaller agencies cannot compete with the massive online marketing budget that most direct-to-consumer insurance companies have available. “We help our agents by providing them access to the nation’s top P&C insurance companies and negotiate the highest commissions and incentives available. This allows our agents to provide amazing coverage to their customers, while still creating higher revenue streams for their businesses,” says Kristin.

President & Owner of Mountain State Agency Alliance, Kristin has always had a strong sense of responsibility for providing opportunities to other females in the P&C industry. She has worked exclusively in independent insurance agencies since high school and understands that the men in leadership positions widely outnumber the female representation in management and ownership positions. Kristin was fortunate enough to work alongside a great female mentor and tries to share the same lessons she has learned from her mentor with other females in the industry today.

“I have spoken a great deal at insurance functions over the last 2 years about the important of female mentorship in the insurance industry. It’s a passion that is very close to my heart. Without my own personal mentor over the last 20 years, I wouldn’t have the success that I do today. I want to pass that on to other females in the insurance industry,” explains Kristin.

“I also own an all-female team member insurance brokerage, which is unusual in itself! When we look around and see females in our industry having to make choices based around career versus home. The way to growing our female leadership demographic, will be to not force them to make the decision on whether they are going to be great leaders at home or at work. In 2023, they can and should do both.” For the steadfast leader, mentorship is critical. Mentorship sets into motion a change in leadership opportunities inside the industry and through individual agencies nationwide. “If you want the best and brightest people leading your agency, you have to develop the mentor relationship that allows personal and professional growth to happen,” she adds. With this brilliant mindset, Kristin has been taking the company to great success.

One of Kristin’s accomplishments that she is very proud of is in the last two years, and she has focused on providing opportunities for her team members to balance work and life. “I have implemented a hybrid remote work situation and unlimited PTO. These are two major changes we do not often see in our industry,” she elucidates. “These changes allow our team members to have consistent positive interactions with our clients since the team members are provided an opportunity to have a more balanced life overall.”

Everyday Kristin and her team work on providing positive responses to all situations their clients face. “If we can’t help them fix an issue, we provide some options. If the clients are struggling to find a carrier to ensure a non-traditional risk, we start looking with them. Every day is a team effort to make sure our agents know that we are in this together!” she states. “I’m excited to see the strength of my company’s partner carriers growing and adapting to the changing insurance landscape daily. It’s eager to see what work is being done today that will ultimately lead to new opportunities to offer to my agents in the future. I’m also looking forward to seeing the professional development of my team members. They are all amazing, intelligent, and resourceful women and their personal and professional growth will organically create growth for my company and clients.”

According to Irene, a coach’s job in sports is to bring out the best in each player. This concept does not differ in managing team members of a school bus company. To bring out the best in someone, listening to them to find out their daily motivation is essential. “You need to give the employee freedom to make mistakes but be able to support them if things do not go as planned. I truly value my team’s thoughts and want them to apply their good ideas into “real world” practice,” she elucidates. “On the contrary, it is vital to provide feedback and the reasons an idea will not work in a constructive manner. I never want a team member to feel that since one idea didn’t work, they should stop innovating.”

As a woman working in a typically male-dominated industry, Irene finds leadership and success happen when one works hard and brings unique ideas to the table. Sometimes it is easy for women to feel timid when a more senior male colleague is present. “Working with a success mindset is the key to achieving your goals,” she states.

To date, the most significant achievement for Logan Bus was the implementation of meteoric growth. While other bus companies were filing bankruptcy, Irene and her team could leverage their infrastructure and management to acquire additional routes to service the children of New York City and Nassau County. “While growing our business, we continued to provide safe and reliable service to the children of our communities,” she explains. “We continue to work on utilizing technology to improve the overall efficiency of our operations.” An example of this is a “Smart Bus.” A bus that has the technology to provide real-time data on the drivers' route, speed, and location. It will also provide real-time data on the condition of the bus, providing the company mileage update and other information that may require service. Cameras will be part of this all-inclusive system that can help the company see the road conditions, the driver’s behavior, and the students on the bus. This will continue to improve the quality and safety they already provide.

“At Logan Bus, our goal is to make this first step seamless, so these children can go onto learn great things. My personal goal is to make sure the infrastructure is in place to take us through the next 50 years,” says Irene who has been hailed as a true inspiration in the industry owing to her unique mindset and ethics with values. Altogether Irene has assisted Logan Bus to reach great heights with steadfast determination and leadership.


Mountain State Agency Alliance


Kristin Garlow
President & Owner
Mountain State Agency Alliance


Mountain State Agency Alliance was created to help the independent agent remain independent and ease the way for new and captive agents to enter the independent agency world.

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