Laura A. Kiser

January 25, 2010 

Her job: District general agent, Colonial Life

Age: 38

Status: Single; three children, Alexis, 13; Meagan, 11; Jenna, 8

Community involvement: Chairwoman/president, Greater Blythewood Chamber of Commerce; chief executive officer, In-Vest USA; board member, Blythewood Middle School Education Foundation; member, advisory committee, Columbia S.C. Sports Council; volunteer, Jeep Rogers Family YMCA

Education: Richland Northeast High; attended Midlands Technical College

Her story: Kiser was 19 and working as a hairdresser to raise money for college when a friend suggested that she try insurance sales. She went to the Mary Brewer Insurance School (now Brewer Information Services) and started working for Combined Insurance Co.

Kiser then moved to Texas with her family before returning to South Carolina in 2003. She began working with Colonial Supplemental Insurance, where she oversees about 20 employees.

She was elected president of what was then the Blythewood Business Coalition in 2006. Membership grew to about 80 from seven in her first year. Kiser turned the coalition into the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce in 2008, which now has about 190 members.

Kiser also works with In-Vest USA, which has raised more than $2 million to buy more than 2,000 bullet-proof vests for law enforcement officers.

What saying does she live by? "God, Family, Business"

Her life changed when ... She moved back to Blythewood from San Antonio in 2003.

She had "walked away from a business, her best friend, husband." She was "coming back with almost nothing to start life over again, alone with three small children.

"This event was quite a challenging experience. However with determination, perseverance, and a new dream, anyone can do anything they put their mind to."

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take an idea and make it a reality? "Face fear because it is only: False Evidence Appearing Real; Be able to endure a season of difficulty that will test your faith."

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