Sam Yanka had been working as a probation officer for 15 years by the summer of 1987. “I was comfortable in my job but, you know, being a probation officer can get pretty old after 15 years,” remembers Sam. “But what was I going to do? My wife, Deb was working as a credit manager, and we had a four-year-old son named Luke.”
But 1987 was to be a watershed year for Sam and Deb – and for their son. “When I found out about Primerica, one of the best things was that I could get trained and start earning money on my off time,” says Sam. “So I put a lot of effort into working the business. Within six months, I could see my way to freedom. I was ready to quit my job and go full-time with Primerica.”
Only a year and a half later, Sam had achieved the title of Regional Vice President and opened his own Primerica office in Oxford, MA. By this time, Deb had quit her job so the two could build their business together.
“It’s been a great 23 years,” says Sam, who is now a Senior Vice President. “We really engaged Primerica as a family and it has enabled us to have the income to live the kind of life, to do things and go places that we could never have done if Deb and I hadn’t stepped out on faith. And, recently, a development that makes things even better – is the fact that Luke has come on board. ”
“After college, I wanted to strike out on my own,” explains Luke. I knew from growing up in the business that Primerica offered something special — but Mom and Dad have always wanted me to make my own choices. So I went to work as an executive recruiter at a staffing agency. Everything seemed to be going fine at first. I liked my job and I was good at it. But then the bottom fell out of the employment market. Suddenly, the job orders started to dry up. Things just got worse and worse. I started to really hate going in every day. No matter how hard I worked, I didn’t have any control of the situation.”
Following in his father’s footsteps, Luke started working with Primerica on nights and weekends. “When the agency laid me off due to lack of business I was ready,” remembers Luke. “I just kicked my Primerica business into high gear. And I have to say that working with Dad has been really unbelievable.”
Luke says he feels lucky to have grown up in Primerica because he knew the direction to take when his job disappeared. “The wonderful thing is that Primerica gave me options – and it can for anybody. I was just blessed to have parents who brought me up and exposed me to the Primerica opportunity. From a young age, I was able to spend time with top Primerica leaders – so I knew that I could do it too. But I think it was a good experience for me to go out and get hit with usual pitfalls that everyone eventually falls into when they work a job. It really brought home to me that the Primerica opportunity was the way I would secure our family’s future.”
Today Luke is working rapidly toward his own Regional Vice President designation and is being helped by his partner, Kim. “She is a busy primary care physician but she takes the time to help me build the business because she knows the future we can have together,” says Luke.
“Luke is coming along fast but I want to stress that he and Kim are succeeding on their own,” says Sam. “He had the advantage of growing up with the knowledge and basic skills to be successful in this business but, like all our young leaders, he’s done it all himself.
“I just think it really says something about a company when so many of the second generation follow their parents into the business.”