"The biggest thing in life is that you are always going to be handed lemons, it's what you do with them that's going to matter."
Jennifer Conner was born and raised in Midland, Texas and is determined to give back to Midland whatever she can for the love and support she has received throughout the years, from losing her father, Bob Conner, at the age of 6 to now raising her son, Preston Martinez, as a single mother. "I could never give back as much as Midland has given me," said Conner. Nevertheless, she's determined to try, using her mother, Virginia Conner, as her guiding example and strength to keep moving forward.
Jennifer graduated from Lee High School in 2000 and attended Midland College on the Legacy Scholarship. While at MC, Jennifer was a part of Students in Philanthropy (SIP) and was the manager for the men's and women's basketball team for the 2000-2001 season.
"Forrest Allen and Sonya Mikeska, whom I worked with during my manager time, have always been really great mentors for me," said Jennifer.
After a year at MC, Jennifer left Midland and transferred to Texas Tech. While in Lubbock, she started working for Health Smart Preferred Care, which is how she got her start in insurance. In 2003, her son Preston was born and she ended up not finishing her degree at Texas Tech. Jennifer moved back to Midland with her son to refocus and finish school.
She began working at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas when she returned to Midland while going to school full-time to take the courses she needed to finish her Associates in Business Administration. Then Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas decided to make some changes, they told her she needed a Bachelor's degree and 5 years' group insurance experience in order to move up. Jennifer responded quickly, "Well, I don't have those yet but you just wait."
Jennifer then went to work at the AFLAC Regional Office as the Regional Administrator and started working on her insurance license while still going to school. It was a counselor with Midland College's Bachelor of Applied Technology (BAT) program that told her she needed to get a few more courses under her belt before she could enter the BAT program. When she completed the courses she not only entered the program, but also received her second associates' degree - Associates in Business Systems.
"I had the most amazing experience in the BAT program," Jennifer said. Dr. Jeff Crain was the biggest influence for her during her time at MC. Jennifer remembers, "He inspired and pushed us to do things we are passionate about and encouraged us to do them even if it meant going outside our comfort zone."
Finishing up the BAT program in 2007, Jennifer was part of the first group to graduate from the program. She still stays in touch with her fellow graduates: Amme Cole, Patrick Repman, Lisa Torres, Sue McMinn, Ann Saenz, Brad Cline, and Luis Mata.
Currently, she is a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midland, a general volunteer for the Midland Rape Crisis and Children's Advocacy Center, is part of Midland 101, which is a leadership class put on by the City of Midland, and is now on the MC Alumni Advisory Board, working with J. Don Wallace, the new MC director of Alumni Relations. In her spare time, Jennifer cheers on her son in his sporting activities and is working with Linda Barnett at West Texas Canine College to train her Great Dane, Bella, to be a therapy dog.
Jennifer has since been promoted from a Regional Administrator to a District Sales Coordinator with AFLAC. Her motto for the district team is an excerpt from "Aspire! Discovering Your Purpost Through the Power of Words" by Kevin Hill, "Ollin - To Move and Act with All Your Heart."