Nataliya Boychenko once read somewhere that if you want to know what your life purpose is, go back to what you played with when you were between the ages of 3 and 5. 

As a young girl growing up in Ukraine, Boychenko recalled, she liked to do two things: teach her stuffed animals and pretend to be an international businesswoman. 

“I would call myself from one room to another, pretending to be in England and calling someone in France. I would spend hours doing that,” she said. 

Fast-forward 30 years, she’s still teaching — although this time around as an adjunct professor at Drake University — and is currently one of the youngest shareholders at Holmes Murphy & Associates. 

Boychenko first visited Iowa as a freshman exchange student at Rockwell City-Lytton High School, where she attended classes for six weeks.

“I thought that I could do anything [in the U.S.]. I thought that you could work hard and you can make all your dreams come true. … I always wanted to be independent and I wanted to help others,” she said.

Upon landing back in Ukraine, she immediately knew she wanted to go back to the U.S. for college.

“My mom told me that when she picked me up at the airport, she asked how the trip went and I told her, ‘Mom, I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but I am going back there.’ ” 

She returned to the U.S. to attend Des Moines Area Community College as a 17-year-old to begin studying on a track that would lead to a career in the banking and insurance industries. 

Boychenko comes from a banking family — her mom, stepdad and older sister all worked in the industry. She enjoyed working with numbers, so following in their footsteps she got her start by working at Wells Fargo, first as a teller, then moving into personal banking. 

She realized she preferred to work with people, on the service side of the industry. Boychenko got in touch with one of her mentors, financial adviser Mike Bean, who connected her with Steve Flood, then the employee benefits leader at Holmes Murphy. She has since worked at Holmes Murphy for 14 years.

Boychenko considers mentorship a big facet of her life. Any successful person has had a ton of people supporting and believing in them, she said. “There are so many of those people in my life, and I am so grateful for their influences on me.” 

In turn, she believes that it’s her purpose to be that source of mentorship and inspiration to others, and has since mentored dozens of people.

“It’s fun to hear different perspectives. As much as they’re learning from me, I’m learning from them, too,” she said. “Every person you meet is a teacher or a student, and you have to figure out what they are. You can always learn and you can always teach.”

THREE AREAS OF INFLUENCE
1. Boychenko serves as a mentor within Holmes Murphy’s Women Optimizing Women program, which gives support to younger women within the company. “I love mentoring women. I’m always building connections with younger generations.”

2. Boychenko has been an adjunct professor at Drake University for four years. She currently teaches a class about the business of politics and health care as a graduate-level seminar. 

3. Boychenko represents Holmes Murphy & Associates as a mentor in the Global Insurance Accelerator program, helping coach startup insurance companies.