Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – Sonesta Hotel
How I Built It Speaker Panel
Patrick Watkins, CIC, CRM
Patrick Watkins is President of Watkins Insurance Group, a shareholder in the business, and an active insurance agent and advisor. Watkins Insurance Group is one of the largest and fastest-growing independent insurance agencies in Texas. Since starting with the family business in 1994, the Austin-based firm has grown from a four-member staff to over 100 insurance professionals in seven locations across central and east Texas. Since stepping into the agency President role in 2002, Patrick has led Watkins Insurance Group to provide a wide range of business insurance, bonds, personal insurance, and employee benefit lines.
Patrick is an active member of the insurance community and holds both the designation of Certified Risk Manager (CRM) and Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC). He also served as President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) in 2011-2012. IIAT is the nation’s largest state association of independent insurance agencies representing nearly 1,800 agencies employing 15,000 agents and industry professionals. Patrick was named Young Agent of the Year by IIAT in 2005. He is past-President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Austin and has held numerous board and committee roles over the years. He was the youngest member to receive the Independent Insurance Agents of Austin (IIAA) President’s Award at age 31. In addition, he has been asked to serve on several agent advisory councils including Travelers, America First, Central Mutual, Safeco, The Hartford, and United Fire. Most recently, Watkins Insurance Group has had the honor of being named a 2015 Best Practices Agency in an annual study by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) and Reagan Consulting.
In the local community, Patrick served as President of the Austin chapter of the Community Associations Institute from 2008-2010. He currently serves on the Board of the Austin Symphony and as an Advisory Board Member of Caritas, an organization that provides assistance to community members in need. As an employer, Watkins Insurance Group is proud to have been named a Top Workplace by the Austin-American Statesman. Patrick continues to encourage community involvement within Watkins Insurance Group which in recent years has benefitted such organizations as the Austin Children’s Shelter, the State Firefighters’ & Fire Marshal’s Association of Texas (SFFMA), Toys for Tots, the Austin Humane Society, Austin Pets Alive, and the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas.
When Patrick isn’t spending time with his wife and four children, he enjoys hunting and fishing.
Jenny Emley, Director of Sales, Managing Member, High 5
Jenny, along with her husband Scott Emley, is owner of Double E’s Entertainment and High Five Entertainment, LLC (High 5), as well as Director of Sales, Managing Member, and co-founder of High 5. In just one year of operations, Jenny has created High 5’s event team from scratch, established a fast and effective booking process, lead menu design and product offering, performed meticulous and efficient event planning and coordination, and thorough training and event execution for a world-class guest experience. In the year prior to High 5’s grand opening, Jenny was instrumental in the detailed aesthetic design of High 5, sub-contractor management during construction, was the primary negotiator with The City of Lakeway’s city manager to achieve Certificate of Occupancy, and cutting through bureaucratic red tape to open High 5 on schedule. A mother of three young children, Jenny was most recently an elementary educator at Hyde Park Baptist Schools in Austin, Texas, teaching first grade. Jenny spent several years in the restaurant and soft goods industry, as a store manager at Ann Taylor Loft in Austin and as a server at Chili’s Restaurant, Joe’s Crab Shack, and Outback Steakhouse. Jenny’s passion for families, mothers, and children goes well beyond High 5, as she co-leads a young adult Life Group for her church, has led a group in Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), and has led numerous bible studies and Sunday Schools for young adults and children. Proud to call Austin home, Jenny has an aesthetic eye having designed and built, staged, and sold multiple homes in Austin, Dallas, and Colorado Springs. Jenny received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Texas A&M University.
Sherry Huffman, Huntington Learning Center
Sherry Huffman is the owner and operator of the Huntington Learning Centers in Bee Cave and Cedar Park, Texas.
After leaving a successful career in commercial account banking at the Bank of San Diego, she followed her passion for education and became a franchisee owner of Huntington Learning Center in 1998.
Sherry and her team have helped thousands of students achieve remarkable results through her dedication to education and the guiding principle that every student can learn. An early adopter of personalized learning, Sherry is an advocate and trusted partner for students and parents throughout Central Texas' schools. After nearly 20 years of operating a small business in Austin, Sherry's centers are among the most successful franchise centers in Texas.
Sherry has four grown children and seven grandchildren; she lives in Driftwood with her husband and business partner, Jim, and their cats, a dog, and a horse.
Stephen Pyle, The Frogpad Kitchen & Bath Designer Showroom
- Wife and Co-Owner Anne Marie
- Lakeway Residents since September 2001
- Started our business in 2008
- Married 29 years in June
- Two Children -Shannon (27) and Stephen (23) (LTISD Grads)
My career has been in the home appliance manufacturing business for 30 years prior to opening our own business in sales and at the corporate level.