Nov. 7, 2019
Darla Moore School of Business alumna Jamesha Gore-Coggin (B.S. ’13) went from first-generation college student to opening her own State Farm agency over the span of a decade.
Recognized as a high-achieving student from a middle-class family, Gore-Coggin was enrolled in Horry and Georgetown counties’ Early College High School in its inaugural class and obtained her high school diploma and associate’s degree before coming to the University of South Carolina.
The program, which partners with Horry Georgetown Technical College, allows students to take college courses while in high school and provides them with financial assistance. Because of the program, Gore-Coggin was able to graduate college debt free.
“I felt better prepared as a student at [UofSC] because I had experienced the college classroom environment prior [to enrolling at South Carolina].”
Still, in her first semester at UofSC, Gore-Coggin experienced challenges that are typical for most first-generation students.
“Being a first-generation college student was slightly intimidating and confusing at first glimpse because there was no clear blueprint on how to prepare for the sudden independence that college life and being [away from] my parents’ protection would entail,” she said.
Gore-Coggin pursued a degree in finance and minored in marketing while at the Moore School.
She said her time at South Carolina enabled her to gain the skills necessary to be successful and find employment as soon as she graduated.
“My experience, training, education and studies [at the Moore School and UofSC helped me develop] leadership, professionalism, work ethic, dedication, self-discipline, problem-solving, innovation and the interpersonal skills necessary to excel in a competitive and fast-paced organization like State Farm,” she said.
Gore-Coggin went to work in June 2013 for the Myrtle Beach Bobby Kelly State Farm Agency, where she was an agent team member until July 2018. Part of the Agency Career Track Program that grooms agent team members to take over their own agencies, Gore-Coggin interned and trained from July to December 2018, when she opened her own agency in North Myrtle Beach.
Since taking over the agency, Gore-Coggin has been coaching, training and managing a team to help the coastal community with insurance and financial needs.
Gore-Coggin’s mother, Patrice Gore, came to work for her when the office opened in December. The two said the experience has actually helped them become closer as they work side-by-side in the office every day.
“Working together is actually fantastic,” Gore-Coggin said. “We are able to balance our personal and work life just fine. She’s naturally driven and customer-service oriented. I had to have her as part of my team.”
Patrice Gore, formerly a hair stylist and hotel manager, said she enjoys working alongside her daughter and helping the office form personal relationships with their customers.
“Jamesha’s work ethic is so amazing, and to see how she is very passionate about her work and her office makes me very proud of her,” Patrice Gore said. “When I think about all her accomplishments it brings tears to my eyes because Jamesha has worked so hard to get where she is now. She has always set high goals for herself and went above and beyond to achieve them, and most importantly, she remained humble through the entire journey.”
Gore-Coggin said she likes managing the daily operations of her agency and appreciates working for a company her own family members have trusted for decades.
“I am very blessed to have this opportunity at such a young age,” she said. “I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and this opportunity allows me to not only fulfill my dreams but help others at the same time.”