Volunteer Spotlight – Jonathan Theders, RiskSOURCE Clark-Theders

About Jonathan Theders

In 1998, Jonathan Theders, joined the family agency, RiskSOURCE Clark-Theders, a second-generation, family-owned business. “I got into the business because I really wanted to work with my Dad. It wouldn’t have mattered what business he was in, I just wanted to work with him.”

Jonathan and his Dad, Rick Theders, had breakfast every Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. It started off with his Dad explaining a lot, and Jonathan asking questions. The breakfasts took on a life of their own. Sometimes the discussion was personal, and other times it was all business.  There was no set agenda.  “It was all about communication, taking and giving of each other’s time and being religious about it.  I am the luckiest person in the world to have been able to spend so much time with my Dad. I’m very thankful for the countless hours we have spent together.” Jonathan says.

“It’s going to be my time to mentor you.  You need to learn from me to be a leader in the agency and the industry.”  – Rick Theders

Eventually, Jonathan started to come up with his own ideas, and he became confident in a leadership role. As I learned, I developed more of an opinion, and a strategy for the future. It was during that time away from the office that I had the opportunity to ask questions and learn.

“My Dad can now be involved in as much or as little of the agency operations as he wants.  This is the greatest moment of my career.  We have had over 1,000 breakfasts together, and a lot of eggs.  We still do it to this day.”

Amanda Shultz is the agency’s president.  It’s unusual to have a non-family member as president.  Amanda began joining Jonathan and Rick for breakfast and she now leads the day-to-day operations of RiskSOURCE.  In 2013, Jonathan took on the role of CEO, with Amanda Shults as president. In 2023, after leading together for a decade, they decided to switch up the CEO role. Jonathan transitioned to the role of Chief Growth Officer, with Amanda currently serving as President & CEO.

Jonathan cares about his clients.  “I get happy when customers get an award or an achievement.” And on the opposite side, “I want to do anything I can to help them and get them back on their feet if something bad happens to them. COVID is a good example.  There were a lot of people hurting, and it was hard to see.  I worked a lot of 80-to-100-hour weeks to help them get back on their feet.”

Jonathan is most proud to be an Independent Agent when he can give his clients the “WOW” factor.  “It’s about risk management more than insurance. It’s what gets me up in the morning, providing creative solutions, and creative risk management.”

Jonathan has been married to his wife for 25 years. He has two daughters, which were not interested in joining the agency, and are pursuing other career paths. Jonathan also has a brother and a sister that do not work in the agency.

About RiskSOURCE Clark-Theders Insurance Agency

RiskSOURCE Clark-Theders has been looking out for the best interests of their clients, their team, and their community for more than 45 years. They have offices in Cincinnati, Ohio and Knoxville, Tennessee, serving 45 states.

The agency’s core values are the foundation of their award-winning culture, and what steers them to do the right thing every day.

  1. INTEGRITY – Do the right thing regardless of profit.
  2. FAITH – Extend God’s love and grace to everyone.
  3. SERVICE – Make a conscious choice to serve others.
  4. EXCELLENCE – Expect more of ourselves than our clients do.
  5. AUTHENTICITY – Keep it real. Be you.  Enjoy your day and go ugly fast.
  6. TEAMWORK – Never let a team member fall.

“We talk about our values at every quarterly staff meeting.  We spend a lot of time defining what the values mean, what they don’t mean, and determining if we are living those values. The proof that we are living them is if we are doing them. We tell our new employees to marry their passion with their job.  We want our employees to feel like they want to be here.”

Jonathan’s Commitment to Volunteer Service 

 Jonathan has served on OIA’s Technology Workgroup and is completing a term on the OIA Board of Directors.  He reached out to Jeff to inquire about service on the Board.  Jonathan was inspired by OIA’s COVID response to the members, and the association’s evolution over the last few years. “I wanted to join the board because I wanted to give back to the industry. The OIA board volunteers are great. It is a committed group of individuals, it’s not a ‘Yes’ board. We have great conversations. I love being surrounded by smart industry thought leaders. Whenever you pull good minds together to think about the future, good things will happen. We are always trying to move the needle and revolutionize the Independent Agency System. OIA wants to capture the voice of the smaller agencies, not just the larger ones.”

Jonathan has also served on Zywave’s Customer Advisory Board and the Beyond Insurance Global Network Board.

In his community, Jonathan volunteers for several private companies and non-profit boards. He is passionate about the University of Cincinnati’s next gen leadership development program, and helping other family-owned businesses grow. He is a strong supporter of the Goering Center for Family and Private Business, which offers programs to family-owned businesses to see that they succeed and flourish. “It’s all about people who appreciate outside advisors.  Everyone is seeking knowledge and wanting to be the best version of themselves.”  He says he sees the impact it’s having on others around the community.

When we asked Jonathan about how he accomplishes so much between his work at the agency, and volunteering in his community, he shared, “I love every minute of it. It’s part of my life. “I believe that part of our job is being stewards for the community. I love consulting and helping others if I can add value.”  Jonathan lives by the “Give to Get Mentality” …. the more you give the more you get.

RiskSOURCE Cares

It was Jonathan’s vision to develop RiskSOURCE Cares, the agency’s community outreach program. Since its inception in 2007, Jonathan has enjoyed lending his time and talents to many organizations, especially those tied to the arts such as the May Festival, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Ballet. He is also a Founding Family of the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty and active in their leadership. RiskSOURCE Cares has grown into a program that brings the agency’s six core values to life.

“We do things individually and as teams.  What I like about the individual aspect of doing this is that people can give where their heart is. Team members learn about each other by what organizations they are volunteering for. It helps individuals find their passion.”

Advice for the Next Generation of Independent Agents

 When we asked Jonathan what advice he would give to the next generation of independent insurance agents, this is what he had to say. “We work in an amazing industry – find out what captures your passion in life, and it will always work out.  If you don’t like it in a year or two it’s not going to change.  Get out of it.  You should always love what you do.”

“For me, the harder I work the more people I can serve and the more money I can make. There is a direct correlation to the amount of work to the outcome. It’s not easy, but it’s incredibly satisfying. It takes 3 to 5 years of grind to get there, but if you love people and are inquisitive, you will do fine.”

Jonathan Theders and Amanda Shults will be providing OIA’s Keynote opening session,

“How Culture Affects Agency Operations” during

IACON23 on Oct. 4 & 5, in Columbus.

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