Dorothy Doyle

A Lowcountry Classic

   The door opened revealing a tall, poised figure who smiled and invited me into her lovely living room, exhibiting the identical elegance of its hostess. Stunning in an exquisite brocaded jacket, Dorothy Doyle, her head held high, exuded elegance and style, a quality she feels contributed to her successful business career.
   We discussed the wisdom of parents telling us "no" to establish guidelines for living a good life. Astute children learn to listen to wiser minds. When Dorothy Doyle's father said "no" to a Broadway offer his daughter received, she lingered, listened, and changed lanes to a smoother highway. "At the time, it was not what my heart wanted, but I decided to move forward with another career," she said.
   A Maine native, Dorothy grew up in a musical family. In White Plains, where her family relocated, her high soprano voice had developed such strength that the Senior Adult Church Choir recruited her. She attended high school in Stamford, Ct., where she excelled in glee club, performing many solo parts. Always organized, Dorothy handled all her school assignments, rode her horse, swam and dove competitively for the Stamford Yacht Club and became the youngest president of the Stamford Junior Women's Club.
   After graduating from high school, she remained home a year to study piano, French, German, Spanish and Italian to qualify her for attendance at Yale University, where she majored in music and minored in voice. "After three years of playing and singing every day, I tired of it and wanted to audition for Broadway. Trips into the city were not allowed alone, so my mother, Mary Louise, always accompanied me; and often my dad, an Englishman, joined us for afternoon tea. We were always dressed in business attire, including my white gloves," she grinned. "I had good luck on Broadway and nailed the second lead in the traveling show of Call Me Mister in 1947. But my father absolutely refused to let me go on the road. I was disappointed, but I turned 21 that June and noticed an ad for a job in Liberty Mutual's branch office in Stamford. It said they would pay while training. I thought, 'I can do that!'"
   Dorothy immediately acquired the very complex insurance license. As first woman licensed in Connecticut, she quickly established her talent in the position of personal service representative, handling inside sales and service for Liberty Mutual, and received a special award for revising their sales brochure.
   In 1948, she moved to a very prestigious agency, Edson and Edson in Greenwich, as assistant to the general manager of the insurance department. In 1950, she was promoted to assistant secretary and made an officer of the corporation, assuming full responsibility of the department. "I loved it," she recalled. "I was so busy, I did not think about Broadway anymore!"
   When the business was sold in 1957, Dorothy became general manager of the Bolton Agency, Inc., in Stamford, where she achieved status as officer, director and stockholder. "Just before moving to Hilton Head in 1981, I was able to negotiate a very profitable sale of the agency," she said.
"We wanted to leave the Northeast and so I visited my brother on Hilton Head. My sister and I loved it, found a lot and built our home. I was not ready to retire, so had laid previous groundwork for a position with Bill Thomas at Carswell of Carolina."
   In l981, as quickly as her feet touched the island, Dorothy began another 10 years of service to the insurance industry as a commercial account executive, working until her retirement with Senator Scott Richardson. "She was so very professional and gave us the confidence to leave, knowing everything would run smoothly, and everyone looked up to her," complimented Scott, now director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
   Dorothy's professionalism and contributions to the industry found her chairing committees on local, regional and national levels for the Association of Insurance Women. She was founder and first president of Insurance Women of Southern Connecticut. "I followed my parents' example, always dressing professionally. I think it is a matter of self-respect. I was often told I possessed all the qualities of a woman and the professionalism of a man," she smiled. Always proud and straight, Dorothy said her brother teased her, "If your nose goes any higher in the air, it will return with snow on it!"
   "Through the years, I loved discovering the inner workings of corporations and factories, so I knew how to help them. I just absorbed the insurance business and could not learn enough about it. Every day was a new challenge," reflected Dorothy, who began painting shortly before her retirement. "My father painted, and it just felt right," she said. Without lessons, she has created amazing works which adorn her home, reflecting her inward strength and beauty. She advises "Dress and carry yourself well. Expect good things and you'll receive them!"