Rhonda Sciortino was abandoned at the age of six months, and became a ward of the court until she emancipated at 16. Except for a brief time with a wonderful foster family, those first 16 years were spent in the custody of a mentally ill man and alcoholic woman–her grandparents.
When Rhonda was eight years old, the little shack where she lived was destroyed by fire. They had no insurance, and for months they were homeless. Rhonda vividly recalls wearing the same filthy sundress and flimsy dimestore flipflops to school day after day for months after that fire.
At age 15 Rhonda decided to seek emancipation. One of the prerequisites was that Rhonda have a job, so she went to work for the first person who would hire her–an insurance agent. When her employer explained the concept of insurance, Rhonda was flabbergasted. “You mean someone would have paid for our house to be rebuilt AND given us money for clothes and a place to sleep?”
Rhonda learned everything she could about insurance. Despite being denied again and again, Rhonda repeatedly petitioned the Insurance Commissioner to allow her to sit for the insurance agent exam even though she wasn’t yet 18. An exception was finally granted, and Rhonda became California’s youngest licensed insurance agent at 17.
At the age of 27, Rhonda’s passion for good child welfare providers and appropriate insurance intersected. She committed herself to protecting people and organizations that protect children. She had personally experienced excellent foster care during her short time with a foster family, and she knew the shame of homelessness as a result of inadequate insurance. Rhonda quit her job and started her own retail insurance organization. A few years later, she opened a national brokerage which helped insurance brokers all over the US protect the child welfare organizations in their areas. In 2008, Rhonda sold Child Welfare Insurance Services to Markel Insurance Company. She now serves as their National Child Welfare Specialist, helping child welfare organizations all over the US to manage the risks and realities of caring for kids.
Rhonda is happily married to Nick Sciortino. They live in Newport Beach, CA near their daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons who are the joys of their lives.