Walking into the office of Germania Insurance agent Lillian R. Cashmer, you will find yourself reminiscing about a more simpler time. The unique vintage car decor is Cashmer’s special touch to the office she has worked so hard for.
The daughter of Daniel and Sylvia Rodriguez, the Pleasanton graduate recalls when Leming Elementary School still existed.
“It’s not there anymore. It’s kind of sad, but you know, things change.”
After graduation, she worked until she could find her niche. She married Tommy Cashmer and they were blessed with two children, Hillary and Carol.
“I pretty much worked retail because I knew the shifts were flexible, so between me and my husband we could take care of them. I then ended up selling insurance,” said Cashmer.
She got her foot in the door by working for Catherine Brown of GEICO Insurance. She started with her in 2000, working her way up the ladder.
“I took all the training and courses and ended up finally getting into State Farm, because I wanted to get in with a big company. As my kids were getting older, I was working in San Antonio a lot and so I wanted to work here locally.”
She sent her resume to a blind box ad in the Pleasanton Express and thought, “I have no idea who this is, but I am going to send my resume.”
It turned out to be with Johnny Lambaria of State Farm. She worked with Johnny for five-six years. Then she decided to go independent, so she worked for Randall Harred. Cashmer loved being able to help people and cater to each of their needs. She loved finding a company best suited for them, getting them out of a difficult situation and back to where they needed to be.
“A year ago, on Sept. 1, I opened the agency. Randall offered the agency to me after working for him for seven years. He is semi-retired so I took over,” Cashmer said.
She enjoys the insurance business for the assistance and service she is able to provide.
“My philosophy is when they come in here, I want them to tell me what they need and I help them. I will make my recommendations, but I’m not going to sell them something they don’t need,” said Cashmer.
She is grateful that Mary Garcia has joined her team.
“She is getting ready to get her license to help me so we can grow and keep providing that service,” said Cashmer.
Lillian likes being an independent agent and not having to worry about selling a specific amount in a month and meeting quotas. From Randall she learned the importance of taking notes, as well as having a live agent available for customers to come in and talk to. She offers that small town feeling, taking care of others the way they would want to be treated and being sure to return phone calls.
Her love of old cars and history is evident by visiting her office. It is a hit with customers.
“There is nothing wrong with the executive type offices. Those are nice, but I kind of put my own spin on it. I want people to come in and feel comfortable.”
She is quite active in community service and is involved with the Pleasanton Lions Club. She has served as advisor for the Pleasanton LEO Club (the youth organization of the Lions Club) for about 10 years. She coordinates events with Pleasanton Police Chief Ronald Sanchez, such as Blue Santa and this year’s first annual Beat the Heat. She provides music at events for the Parks and Recreation Department.
She also is the board chair for the Atascosa Health Center, as she feels there is a need for the underserved people in the community. She is an active member of her church, St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Loire. Her family also hosts exchange students through ASSE. They are currently hosting Javier from Spain. Daughter Hillary is going to be 25 and is a Pharmacy Tech at Walgreens. She has a year and a half left of school. Hillary also helps her mother at the office. Her daughter Carol Watkins, 21, is married to Jordan Watkins. Carol is in the US Army and an Unmanned Aerial Systems Operator, flying drones.
“She and her husband just did a tour in Iraq. They got back right before Memorial Day. They came down to visit and Chief Sanchez sent her some Pleasanton PD stuff that was pretty cool. She liked that very much. They are both stationed in Ft. Stewart, Georgia. They had to evacuate during the hurricane, but they were safe.”
According to Cashmer’s Germania representative, she is ranked number 3 in her district out of 60 agents in auto insurance. It is an achievement she has met for five months.
“It was pretty nice to hear that. When that person walks out that door, you know you did something, especially when they are smiling back, because auto insurance can get difficult at times,” said Cashmer.
“Opening this agency in September, and being a Hispanic, female minority, it was tough trying to get a loan, but I broke those barriers. I could not have done it without the Good Lord by my side and the support from my husband Tommy. He is my biggest supporter. I think of all the blood, sweat and tears we put in getting this place ready.”
Last year was an emotional roller coaster for Cashmer, since her agency opened at the same time her daughter was deployed.
“I wanted to see her before she deployed and I couldn’t. That was one of my challenges, but she assured me that she was going to be fine. She said, ‘Mom, you’ve got your agency. I’m proud of you.’ I wish she was here to share this moment, but she was over there serving our country and I couldn’t be any more prouder. She finally got to see my office for the first time, when she came in July on my birthday.
“I am very grateful for Randall giving me this opportunity. If if weren’t for him, I’d still be working under someone else. I owe it to him for giving me that opportunity and trusting me.”