Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Char Schoenbach talks helping LGBTQs through Allstate, next chapter
by Carrie Maxwell
2021-07-22

This article shared 1518 times since Thu Jul 22, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Lifelong Chicago resident Char Schoenbach began her career in sales and worked for two insurance agents before opening her own Allstate agency 31 year ago.

"I have always believed in providing all people with quality insurance," said Schoenbach. "I wanted to be an insurance agent for a name brand, high quality insurance company. I reached out to Allstate and went on several interviews because back in those days it was most often a male career. When I grew up, people used to say 'the insurance man is coming' so I knew it was not going to be an easy task but, in fact, Allstate did hire me."

Schoenbach opened her agency in September 1989 in Edgewater, and stayed there for four years, telling Windy City Times that, almost immediately, she got calls from gay men living in what was then called Boystown (recently renamed Northalsted) who saw her ads in the Pink Pages and many other LGBTQ+ publications. They were looking for insurance and found that Schoenbach's agency appeared to be the only LGBTQ+-friendly agency in that part of Chicago at the time.

"In the early 1990s, there were no insurance agents in Boystown and I felt that this was where I should be," said Schoenbach. "So I moved to Halsted Street because I saw an opportunity to serve an underserved community. Back then, gay couples would call and say they wanted to buy insurance but they were timid. They would say 'would you be interested in helping me and my partner get insurance because we want to buy a house?' I dug into why many sounded that way and I learned that they were turned down by other local insurance agents because these agencies did not want gay customers. As I learned that, I wanted to be the welcoming door in the gay community for insurance.

"I am happy that I helped many gay and lesbian couples have a wonderful experience. They could come in my office, feel comfortable and openly discuss what they needed. I gave them professional advice based on what the laws were at the time. This was long before civil unions and gay marriage were legalized."

When asked what it means to be one of the first insurance agents in Chicago from a brand corporation who welcomed LGBTQ+ people and gay/lesbian couples to her agency, Schoenbach said "it feels amazing. I paved the way as time went on for more inclusion. I am so proud of that."

Schoenbach fully immersed herself in the Northalsted community. This included becoming a member of the Northalsted Business Alliance and the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, having a booth right in front of her office during Northalsted Market Days for almost two decades and becoming the first insurance agency to participate in Chicago's Pride Parade in 2005 and the ensuing years.

"In 2004, I began knocking on the doors of our corporate offices about participating in the Chicago Pride Parade," said Schoenbach. "I showed them numbers and demographics and had people from corporate drive down to see the growth in Lake View/Boystown. I was able to get a bus through our marketing division and it was decorated by the LGBT employee's organization, and eventually Allstate had its own float.

"When some Allstate executives started marching in the parade in 2005 with that first bus, they were surprised by the many thousands of people who were out watching the parade. I think that is how I sold the whole concept of being a part of the community to our corporate leaders."

Additionally, Schoenbach worked with Allstate's marketing team to produce brochures exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community. Her goal was to be a "full resource center for my neighborhood."

Examples of the brochures were a lesbian couple holding their baby with life insurance in mind and a gay couple showcasing their possessions that focused on renters insurance.

"I was a pioneer in marketing that was focused on the [LGBTQ+] community," said Schoenbach. "I assured Allstate management based on my success, that this was a good business decision. They believed in me and saw my proven results and realized there was an untapped market that needed insurance. Until a few years ago, I was the only insurance agent with a booth at Market Days. I wanted to pave the way for the future."

By 2013, Schoenbach's agency was so involved with the LGBTQ+ community it led to Allstate creating an marketing department for that demographic. Schoenbach said she is "mostly responsible" for this development in the Chicago area.

Due to Schoenbach's business acumen her name has become very well-known in Chicago's LGBT community. Through the Allstate Foundation grant program for non-profit organizations, Schoenbach chose to give her grant money allocation to the Night Ministry, with a focus on The Crib shelter for 18-24 year olds. Each year, Schoenbach and other agent friends volunteered their time at The Crib. She was able to increase the amount of money donated to The Night Ministry by having those friends participate. Schoenbach said "this was just awesome."

"One of the greatest joys of going back to The Crib annually was seeing what The Night Ministry bought with the grant money they got the previous year," said Schoenbach. "This included desks, beds and other necessary things. I also attended their meetings and galas. It was so wonderful and rewarding to be a part of their organization."

Now Schoenbach is embarking on what she calls the next chapter of her life. She recently sold her agency to lifelong Lake View resident Steve Rosenberg. A lesbian couple Schoenbach hired many years ago has been retained by Rosenberg.

"I am sure customers will appreciate the continuity at the agency," said Schoenbach.

Selling the agency was a hard decision for Schoenbach, however, after over three decades she wanted to be able to enjoy her time more fully.

"I am thrilled to take over the successful agency Char built over the past 31 years and also serve the community I grew up in," said Rosenberg.

Schoenbach will be taking the next couple of months off to consider her next steps. She knows that the future has to include helping people.

"Do not be surprised if you see my name popping up somewhere," said Schoebach.


This article shared 1518 times since Thu Jul 22, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

HRC report: Wage for LGBTQ+ women is 79 cents to the average man's dollar 2022-06-22
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released new data outlining ...


Gay News

The Andersonville Village Market returns for summer 2022 2022-06-21
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (June 21, 2022) The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is pleased to welcome back its 2nd annual Andersonville Vintage Market, featuring antiques, home décor, jewelry, accessories, clothing, music and ...


Gay News

New report looks at LGBTQ+ restaurant workers and job risks they face 2022-06-15
-- From a press release - Today, One Fair Wage, a national nonprofit representing tipped subminimum wage restaurant workers, released a new report on the harsh realities of being a LGBTQ+ restaurant worker. The report shows that the subminimum wage encourages rampant ...


Gay News

Venture capital firm 'Colorful Capital' launches with a focus on undervalued companies led by LGBTQ+ founders 2022-06-09
-- From a press release - EVANSTON, IL — JUNE 8, 2022 — With LGBTQ+ founders receiving less than 1% of U.S. venture funding, Colorful Capital launched today with a mission of delivering capital and support to an undervalued community of business ...


Gay News

Molson Coors hosts return to Tap Into Change program 2022-06-09
- Molson Coors recently marked the return of its Tap Into Change Program—in which proceeds of sales from Molson Coors products at select locations are donated to local LGBTQ+ non-profit organizations—by hosting a kickoff event at the ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2022 Democratic Gubernatorial race: Gov. JB Pritzker talks record, future plans if re-elected 2022-06-05
- Gov. JB Pritzker is running for re-election in the Democratic primary against challenger Beverly Miles. Prior to becoming governor, Pritzker spearheaded the creation of the non-profit business incubator 1871 and was the co-founder and managing partner ...


Gay News

WORLD Grindr ads, British mayor, Billie Jean King, Australian awards 2022-06-05
- In Australia, a retail worker-turned-Greens politician credited catchy ads on gay hookup app Grindr for his stunning victory in Brisbane, The Daily Mail noted. Stephen Bates defeated Liberal-National Party incumbent Trevor Evans in the inner-city seat ...


Gay News

Pritzker, Stratton visit queer-owned businesses in Andersonville 2022-06-04
-- From a press release - Chicago, IL — Following visits to several queer-owned small businesses in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton reaffirmed their commitment to Illinois' LGBTQ+ community ...


Gay News

HRC, Showtime launch third year of QUEER TO STAY, an LGBTQ+ small business initiative 2022-06-03
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, and SHOWTIME announced the third consecutive year of "QUEER ...


Gay News

20th OUT of the Office held at The Godfrey 2022-06-02
- Andrew Hayes, founder and producer of OUT of the Office, rebounded with a fabulous 20th anniversary event after a two-year COVID-19-imposed hiatus. The June 1 celebration, at The Godfrey Hotel in River North, attracted more than ...


Gay News

U.S. Chamber of Commerce report: 72% of small biz willing to lose customers over pro-LGBTQ+ policies 2022-06-01
-- From a press release - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (https://www.uschamber.com/) has released its Special Report on Small Business and LGBTQ+ Inclusion, focusing on how the small business community has increased inclusivity initiatives, non-discrimination policies ...


Gay News

GLAAD: True LGBTQ allyship extends to all aspects of business, including political giving 2022-05-31
-- From a press release - Tuesday, May 31, 2022 (New York, NY)—GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today announces GLAAD's Recommendations for Corporate Allies to educate corpo ...


Gay News

State Farm drops GenderCool Project; Illinois General Assembly LGBTQ Caucus, Equality Illinois respond 2022-05-26
- This week in response to an outcry from a hateful few, Illinois-based insurer State Farm dropped their support for The GenderCool Project, which provides LGBTQ-affirming books to schools across the country on a voluntary basis. We ...


Gay News

Molson Coors to host Tap Into Change program kickoff at Roscoe's 2022-05-24
-- From a press release - With Pride Month right around the corner, Molson Coors is celebrating the return of its Tap Into Change Program, a program in which proceeds of sales from Molson Coors products at select locations are donated to ...


Gay News

Leather business 64TEN to name street after Ed Negron on May 30 2022-05-14
- On May 25-30, leather shop 64TEN, 6410 N. Clark St., will mark its 21st anniversary. The celebrations will coincide with the International Mr. Leather (IML)/Memorial Day holiday weekend. ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.