Submitted by Melanie Bakala, State Farm
For Melanie Bakala, State Farm agent, giving back is a part of doing business.
Ten years ago, after a 16 year career in banking, Melanie Bakala made the leap to becoming a business owner. “When I was at the bank, my Marketing Director, Joseph Beaulieu, was brilliant when it came to community-based marketing,” Bakala said. “I learned from him what being involved and giving back can do for the community, and for the business.”
So when she opened her first State Farm Agency office in 2010, she quickly got involved in the Shelton Community. “Between serving on several boards, to getting involved in the local Chamber, I was able to get involved in the community very quickly,” she says.
When she opened her second office in Lacey three and a half years ago, she took the same approach. She joined the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound Board, both the Thurston County and Lacey Chambers of Commerce, as well as the IN-TEAM, a local networking group.
“I have found that being involved in both of the communities I serve has helped us stand out from the crowd,” Bakala said. But I also discovered that when I was asked to support organizations financially, I always wished I could do more.”
Bakala State Farm has supported dozens of organizations in both Mason and Thurston County over that last nine years. Inspired to find a way to give even more, she developed the Bakala State Farm Community Bucks Program. When an organization is part of the program, if someone calls or visits her office, mentions the organization and gets a quote for car, home, or life insurance, she donates $25 to that organization. “it’s a win-win,” Bakala says. “Whenever I write a check to support an organization, I wish I could do more. With our Community Bucks program, I can.
The Thurston and Mason County Communities have been good to my business. I believe that giving back to the communities I service is an important part of doing business.”