"Make sure that you wake up every morning having a daily goal. The success of these will bring about the result of your long-term goal being fulfilled. This approach will lead to a woman’s success in whatever it may be she is aspiring to achieve."-Devina Zalesky, President of Allwest Insurance.
Devina Zalesky is the President of Allwest Insurance. Founded in 1968 in North Vancouver, BC, Allwest Insurance Services Ltd. is one of the largest Autoplan producers in British Columbia and provides full service coverage for all its customers’ insurance needs. The company’s philosophy is to provide caring, knowledgeable and professional representation while making sure the client’s best interests are met. With a highly trained and large group of Insurance Agents, Allwest’s motto is “we come to you, wherever you are”.
Allwest operates over the entire Metro Vancouver with 6 locations in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, and Langley.
Devina Zalesky was a Finalist in the BC Business & Ernst and Young 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year. She won the 2015 Business Excellence Award for Best Business from North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.
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What does being a woman mean to you?
It means being confident in your identity, recognizing and supporting all people in your personal, professional, and philanthropic life.
What has been your biggest achievement in 2021?
My personal achievement in 2021 was, most importantly, being reconfirmed as cancer-free and keeping my family healthy and safe.
Professionally, after continuously growing Allwest Insurance for the past 35 years, having it partner with Navacord Corporation, one of Canada’s largest and fastest growing insurance agencies and witnessing what this new partnership will bring to Allwest’s employees and customers.
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A milestone that defines your journey?
While being married and raising my family, my life milestone was buying Allwest Insurance in 1993, where I had been an employee for 10 years. Then organically growing the company from 20 employees to nearly 400 this past year. It was by this, I was able to do whatever I could, whenever I could to help and support women looking for a life-changing career.
Were there any challenges or hurdles that you had to face to get to where you are today- especially as a woman of color?
I started working at a young age picking blueberries, then cleaning offices and in high school got up at 4:00 am to open and work in a restaurant. These jobs gave me grounding in the obstacles I would face when I started my career. I was 18, a woman and an Indian. It was a challenge on all three fronts as insurance was a white, older, and male-dominated industry. I continually had to prove that I could deliver at the highest level of what was expected.
What are you working on right now and in 2022?
Besides the other business ventures of the last five years in residential and commercial real estate, I am looking forward to establishing a Family Foundation to continue the work of aiding those in need, particularly Indian women.
What’s your advice for women who wish to follow your path?
Make sure that you wake up every morning having a daily goal. The success of these will bring about the result of your long-term goal being fulfilled. This approach will lead to a woman’s success in whatever it may be she is aspiring to achieve.
Photo: A Master Media