A Father's Legacy
Three lessons to help life go right
Jonathame Wang was a highly educated and successful businessman in Taiwan. He immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1982. Unfortunately, many employers did not acknowledge his college education or prior work experience.
He worked in sales, retail and real estate. Then, in 1993, he found a position that offered stability and allowed him to own the business. It also offered the ability to help people just like him. As a State Farm Agent, in Irvine, CA, many of his customers were his neighbors and immigrants like him. They too were seeking to make a better life for themselves and their families.
When Jonathame Wang first opened his State Farm Agency, he leased a 1650 square-foot office. He found it was too large, so he split the space, and created an office half the size and rented the other half.
Jonathame’s son, Steven, spent time at the office as a child. He began working at the Agency while he was a student at Cal State University, Fullerton (CSUF). During his time as a team member, Steven learned three important life lessons from his father:
- Always put people first. Be nice.
- Rich or poor, you must give back to your community.
- Don’t sell something you would not buy yourself.
In March 2001, Steven Wang decided to follow his father’s example. Steven became a State Farm Agent. He knew from his father what it took to be successful. In his Orange County office, people came first.
In 2008, Jonathame Wang unexpectedly passed away.
After Jonathame’s passing, Steven decided to move into his father’s office space. Having built upon his father's success, he was able to expand the office to its original, larger size. What once was too big for his father was the perfect size for Steven and his team. With that expansion, Steven fulfilled his father’s initial vision for his Agency.
Rich or Poor, You Must Give Back
Jonathame valued insurance education. He also believed it was important to help others. So in 1998, when CSUF launched its Center for Insurance Studies (CIS), he drove to the university. He hand-delivered a check to CIS Founder Dr. Weili Lu. That donation, and those that followed, support the CIS mission of preparing future insurance and financial services professionals.
Steven Wang continues to give back to CSUF. He has a life insurance policy that yields dividends and builds an endowment. This policy will allow the university to continue helping students when Steven passes away. He also established the Wang Family Scholarship. It honors Jonathame’s memory and helps students pursuing a career in the insurance industry.
Just like his father, Steven also participates in the State Farm matching grant program. This doubles the impact of his charitable giving.
Don’t Sell Something You Would Not Buy Yourself
For Steven, his father’s passing was tragic but he used it as a life lesson. He saw first-hand how life insurance provided for his family when Jonathame passed unexpectedly. He now shares his own family’s experience. It demonstrates the importance and value of life insurance to others. For Steven, it’s much more than delivering a check.
“Yes, I deliver the check. More importantly, I sit down with survivors. Like I did with my own mother, I discuss things like budgets, expenses and income,” Steven said. “My role as an Agent is about helping people live confidently. I do so by helping them plan for their future."
And so Jonathame’s good neighbor legacy lives on. Steven honors his father by living the three life lessons. They allow him to help life go right for his customers every day.