Sheneka Leggison—Family, Faith, and Gratitude
Sheneka Leggison, senior underwriter for Pearl’s real estate errors and omissions program, never expected a career in insurance. When she was younger, she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. “Anybody who knows me might find that dream a little odd considering I have no pets besides my son’s three ladybugs,” Sheneka smiles. “However, I grew up around animals, and I still really like them.”
Sheneka’s introduction to insurance didn’t come until after college. “I went to Illinois Central College (ICC) for a few years where I received an associate degree in business,” Sheneka explains. “I later transferred to Bradley University, where I received a bachelor’s degree in business management and administration.” Sheneka’s first job after college was working in an insurance agent’s office. While there, she became licensed in property and casualty and life and health insurance. “After being at this agent’s office for a year, I decided to seek out other opportunities,” Sheneka recalls. “I came across the underwriting position at Pearl, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Today, Sheneka handles E&O underwriting for new business and renewals in territories on the West Coast. She is often the go-to for coverage questions, too. “I love the level of authority we are given in underwriting,” says Sheneka. “We do have guidelines to follow, but there is no micro-management. I love that no account is ever really the same and some are more challenging than others.”
In her 16 years at Pearl, Sheneka has seen a lot of technological advances and growth. “I have been involved in testing for different systems that we’ve implemented over the years,” she says. While these advances have certainly made her job easier and more interesting, Sheneka credits Pearl’s culture and people for her length of service. “I love the strong sense of camaraderie that exists at Pearl. My team and I work well together, and the atmosphere is fun.”
Sheneka also appreciates that her coworkers share a strong work ethic. “We work so well with one another in my department,” says Sheneka. “We bounce ideas off each other, and we collaborate so well. We really have one another’s back. We share highs and lows and genuinely care for one another—it’s a true work family!” Sheneka has had several managers since she’s been at Pearl. “I must say, they’ve all been wonderful! You can’t say that about most places you work nowadays.”
Sheneka lives in Peoria with her husband, Roy, and her five-year-old son, London. “I thank God for my son. He can be a handful, and he definitely keeps me on my toes with his millions of questions per day, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything. He tells me, ‘Mom, I know I am asking a lot of questions, but that’s how I learn!'” Sheneka laughs. “I enjoy playing with him and just watching him grow. He truly amazes me every day.”
Like most parents of young kids, this past year has presented some unique challenges. “It has truly been a job working from home and also doing online learning with London, but we make it work, and he seems to be doing well. I must say, I now have even more respect for teachers and what they do on a day-to-day basis.”
Sheneka has been married to her husband for seven years. “I actually met Roy before I ever knew him,” says Sheneka. “I was walking out of a store one day as he was coming in. We both locked eyes for a moment, said hello, and went on with our day.” As it turns out, the two had mutual friends. “Almost one year after our encounter, I attended a Labor Day cookout with friends, and the host ended up being Roy’s brother,” Sheneka explains. “That was back in 2011, and we have been together ever since.”
Around her family, Sheneka is known as the “actor” because she can act out snippets of any scene from a movie or dance video or just mimic a conversation. “This started when I was younger and kind of just stuck,” she says. Sheneka also used to paint landscapes. “It’s something I have since strayed from, but I plan to get back into it. I enjoyed it so much, and it was a great stress reliever.” Sheneka also enjoys singing in her church choir with her mom and sister and looks forward to the day when this activity can resume.
Through the ups and downs of life, Sheneka’s faith is what keeps her going. She always tries to find some joy in each day and keep a smile on her face. “I know no matter what may happen, things could always be worse, and for some, it might be. I have faith that things will work out for the greater good no matter what happens in life.” Sheneka notes that it takes a lot of faith to get through each day, especially with what the world is going through right now. “No matter what, there is always something to be thankful for,” she says. “My family and I just try to be thankful for each day we are given and make each day count. One of my mottos is ‘every day is a second chance.'”
Sheneka also believes in treating others the way you want to be treated. “This motto encompasses a lot. When you do this, you really stop to think about the effect your words and actions have on others. We all value ourselves, and we should show that same care and value to others.” We agree wholeheartedly, Sheneka, and we hope more people in our world adopt this way of thinking, too!