If you had the pleasure of hearing Brandi Bridgett ’09 speak as Master of Ceremonies at Homecoming 2022, you were likely left impressed and inspired by the serial entrepreneur and founder of The Agency at National Harbor. She has been recognized as one of the top 40 under 40 professionals in Maryland and runs one of the largest financial firms inside her brokerage with over 500 consultants nationwide.
However, success wasn’t just handed to Bridgett. She earned it despite life-changing obstacles that would have sidelined many others in her place.
In 2012, Bridgett received a call that changed her life forever.
“My husband was killed in a hit-and-run pedestrian accident,” she says.
A military wife, Bridgett had spent the previous several years moving around the country with her husband who was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.
“My spouse deployed six times in six-and-a-half years,” she explains.
Like many military spouses, the frequent moves disrupted her education and made it difficult to build a career. Born in the Washington, DC, area, she attended University of Maryland College Park before transferring to University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) to complete her bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Business Administration remotely.
“Having UMGC as part of my life allowed me flexibility,” she says.
She was able to work wherever they moved while continuing her studies, which provided her with an income and the ability to do something just for herself.
When her husband died, she and her three young children had just $100 in her bank account and $1,000 in retirement savings and were living in California thousands of miles away from their relatives.
“It’s the scariest thing that a person can go through,” she notes.
An answer to her prayers
Bridgett found support in from the military community, her church and her family. She moved back to the Washington, DC area after her husband’s death so she could figure out a path forward with her loved ones nearby.
As Bridgett grappled with the loss of her husband and how to care for three young children, she turned to prayer.
“I got frustrated one day and had a silent moment with God while I was driving,” she recalls.
She wanted to know why she lost her husband so tragically and what she was supposed to be doing with her life now. In response, she felt a clear answer ring out: she felt God told her she should be teaching finance. Bridgett knew nothing of finance at the time and didn’t know what to make of it.
“Two weeks later, I met a young woman who was a financial guru in an insurance agency,” Bridgett says. “So many lightbulbs went off. I thought, this is it. This is what I am supposed to do.”
The two quickly connected, and Bridgett learned the woman had lost her husband 15 years earlier and had raised three kids on her own.
“She said she would mentor me,” Bridgett says.
Forging a future in finance
Eager to learn from her mentor, Bridgett redirected her energy to absorb as much as she could about life insurance and related financial offerings. She went through the licensing and certification process, and she and her father opened a financial services firm, The Agency at National Harbor, in 2017.
“He had worked in insurance and annuities, and I took his knowledge along with my knowledge and understanding of technology, and we started to build this business,” she explains.
The mission of The Agency at National Harbor is to help the community understand present-day challenges families face in finance, retirement, debt elimination, business finance and securing a legacy for future generations.
Bridgett understands first-hand how important financial security is to families in an uncertain world and discovered that she had a passion for helping others achieve financial freedom and peace of mind.
“As a certified business leader, my job is to show every person that no matter what their current financial state is, they are able to plan for the future, start to build financial stability, and begin to build generational wealth,” she says.
Her services span corporate and personal finance. She helps corporations create supplemental retirement plans, advises executives on how to leverage premium financing for their retirement and assist individuals in customizing key components of their financial portfolio.
“It’s a one-stop-shop for all things financial,” Bridgett says.
It’s also a family affair. In addition to founding the firm with her father, her mother and sisters have important roles in the business, as well.
Pursuing her vision
Bridgett believes that the United States can be a more financially literate nation, and she wants to help empower others to achieve that for themselves and their families.
“I started with women because even though I know we have progressed, we are still underserved,” she notes. “I wanted to help women feel secure and have peace of mind.”
Then she expanded her focus to men and families and finally younger people. She welcomes clients of all income levels.
“I was that person with $100 and $1,000 in retirement who didn’t understand taxes,” she says. “I will never turn someone away and say they can’t come to my agency. We all start somewhere.”
Her business has grown so rapidly that she is moving out of a 3,500 square-foot office space into one that is 10,000 square feet.
“I want to double in size in the next 12 months, and I want to take my concept and replicate it across the country,” she says.
When she reflects back, she can’t believe what she has accomplished over the past five years.
“I know to whom much is given, much is required,” she concludes. “Every time we get new a blessing, it’s not just for me. It’s for everyone else, too. I don’t take it lightly and I don’t take it for granted. I am just walking in what’s given to me.”
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