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One woman’s story of achievement

Northern California entranced me from the very first visit I had at the young age of 18. Its spacious countryside, immense trees and the wild ocean fascinated me, as well as the sunshine and clear dry air.

Microclimates reminded me that you could change your world, as you know it, within moments. To me, despite not having family I cherish around, it was the perfect place to raise a child and train horses and riders.

To best describe my life, I would say it has been an absolute whirl of events, some determined and a lot unexpected. My childhood was spent on the East Coast, from Washington D.C., my hometown, to New York, N.Y. to Cambridge, Mass. Both my mother and father have the distinction of old world heritage and colorful lives. My father was of direct German descent and my mother Scottish /Irish (she emigrated to the United States with her family at age 16). I was brought up with nannies (’til 5 years of age), went to private schools and had lots of fun adventures. With four other siblings, my mother had her hands full.



My passions, which developed as a child, are horses, music, art, the French language, and reading. My mother introduced me to horseback riding at age 6. I looked forward to every lesson, determined to conquer my sweet horse’s ability to stand resolutely in front of the barn door when I was supposed to be trotting around the arena! We couldn’t afford lessons throughout the year or to own a horse, so my mother made sure I had plenty of free opportunities to be with horses (her passion as well). Art, music and books were always present in my family and much appreciated.

I moved to Grass Valley in October 1995, ostensibly to start a new career and other new possibilities for my son, Michael, and myself. Divorced in 1993, a new profession would allow me to raise my son more efficiently and to continue growing in health and happiness.




Grass Valley being so near Sacramento and still in the country, was a perfect situation. Thanks to a new relationship with a nice man, I moved my horses and myself onto a beautiful ranch within minutes of town.

I trained children and horses when I first arrived at Blue Fountain Farm. I had been an Arab horse trainer in Willits, as well as owning my own pony school for children. I found this career to be very satisfying for my spirit but it did not provide much for my pocket, as it was seasonal!

I had inherited some stocks and decided to use this money to educate myself and purchase a good home. Naturally I needed financial advice so I contacted a gentleman who worked for Primerica, a financial service company. This initial contact prompted me to train as a life insurance agent, and mutual funds representative. My representative and his wife, Tom and Deni, gave me technological support during my sales training and licensing.

We also became fast friends, as our goals and ideals matched. I was on my way to a new career and I had a mission to help other people prepare for secure futures, meanwhile securing my son’s and my future.

As a school Primerica really helped me to understand the financial concepts one must learn to be successful. It offered several sales opportunities, so I even obtained my real estate license for mortgage refinance loans. However, as a business, it lacked the financial support I needed (i.e. a steady paycheck!). Balancing being a mother, mutual funds representative, life insurance agent, real estate agent, riding instructor, I found I was wearing too many hats.

Once I had established this, I set about to find a similar business that would honor my commitments and allow me to grow steadily.

Tom had also moved on from Primerica to an independent insurance agency here in Grass Valley. In 1998, he encouraged me to apply with Interstate Benefits and Casualty to manage their life and health department. This new position greatly enhanced my life.

Finally grounded in a profession with hands on training and an open door of possibility, I could also focus on being an active mother.

In 1999, my son’s father, Chris, died. Although somewhat expected due to his illness, the reality was shocking and deep sadness for us both. We spent time with both families back east and grieved openly.

Today, my son and I live in a lovely miner’s cottage on the outskirts of Grass Valley. Our animal menagerie includes two big friendly dogs and a horse named Sachet. I have kept up my teaching and training on a much smaller scale of friends and anyone who requests help. If I can help people instill confidence and balance in their lives, I will be there for that purpose.

Diane Whitney

I. B. & C. Insurances Services, Inc.

(530) 272-1234


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