We had the good fortune of connecting with Teresa Strunk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Teresa, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born and raised in Spokane, WA; about 45 minutes west of the Idaho border. Spokane experiences all four seasons, and we spent a lot of time playing outdoors, camping, & boating. I was a member of the Campfire organization, which taught me a lot about the outdoors, building a proper fire, tying knots, and so on. It sounds nerdy, but I’ll always value the skills I learned and hope my daughters learn all that, too. Spokane is much smaller than Phoenix, so I appreciate the values and work ethic of ranchers, farmers, loggers, etc. It was a fairly simple, small-town upbringing, and I’ll always appreciate Spokane and still love visiting family and friends whenever possible. I like to think I haven’t changed too much since moving to Phoenix 11 years ago, and will always call Spokane “home”.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My husband, Casey, and I own an Employee Benefits & HR firm, The Strunk Insurance Group. Casey’s father, Greg, founded the business nearly 40 years ago, and we purchased the business in 2018. After our second daughter was born, also in 2018, we decided it would be best for our family for me to work in the business. I had spent the last 10+ years in Advertising/Media sales, but I was eager for a change and excited to enter a new industry. I’ve always felt sales is more about the people than the product you’re selling. Relationships built on trust and offering a custom solution has always been a priority to me, and luckily Casey and Greg built their business on the same mindset. We have clients at Strunk who have been with us 20-30+ years, and to me it’s a testament of putting people and relationships first, over any commission. Health insurance is complicated, and clients need help navigating best options for themselves & their employees. We aid in education, enrollment, compliance, and administration, and have an amazing team to assist clients in every step. One thing that sets us apart is our desire to give back in our community. Greg, Casey, and myself are all involved with local Non-profit organizations. I’m currently serving as Board Chair for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, and believe my experience has made me better in business: I’m a better listener, more organized, and have sharpened my skills creating solutions that benefit all. I’ve moved on from my college job at the Customer Service Desk at Fred Meyer (Kroger), but my love for helping people remains strong.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ve hosted girlfriends from Washington a few times and there are always a few “must see” places I like to take them. Sadly, my beloved Char’s has the Blues recently closed, and that was always top of the list for after dinner dancing. We have such pretty resorts here, drinks & appetizers at Jade Bar at the Sanctuary or Arizona Biltmore are always met with rave reviews. We went to brunch at Ocotillo recently and their trees and plants have grown in so beautifully over the past couple years. Competing for best dinner spot would be Rokerji (in the basement, if possible), Hillstone, Cibo, The Mission and Flint by Baltaire. Flint just opened their rooftop patio and would be perfect for an after dinner cocktail. We did Old Town in our 20’s and 30’s, now I’m thrilled with a nice dinner and delicious wine or cocktails, catching up with friends is most important now. For lunch, I love Postino, the patio at Chelsea’s Kitchen or The Gladly, for their famous salad. Clearly food & drinks are my priority, but for a little exercise, a hike at either Camelback Mt or Piestewa Peak can’t be beat. with a juice or breakfast at Luci’s at the Orchard afterwards. I’d also love an afternoon at the Desert Botanical Garden to show off our beautiful cacti and plants in Arizona. We’d have to get out of town for a night or two, and Sedona would be my top choice, with dinner at Mariposa a must-see, and hiking at Devil’s Bridge if my friends were feeling adventurous. Sedona truly a magical place; I’ll always remember my first time seeing it. The wineries in Cornville have really come a long way in ten years, even my Washington friends are impressed.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I owe all of my success to my mother. My parents divorced when I was 4, and my mom went back to school to become a Registered Nurse. She had 3 young daughters at the time, and now that I am a mom I just can’t imagine how she did it all. Our mom taught us to never give up, always try your best, follow the Golden Rule, and give back to others. She passed away suddenly in 2015, just two months before my first child was born. I regret never truly thanking her for all she did for my sisters and I; for the wonderful life she gave us and the lessons she taught us. I never truly appreciated all she did until becoming a mother myself. She was and will always be my hero.
Thomas Shull, 2 photos