Happy anniversary, ladies!  This month’s column marks our one year anniversary of this series!  I can’t believe how fast it has gone!  

I’m happy to report that my sister-in-law gave birth to a 7lb 1oz baby girl named Josephine on June 19th, and we are all so in love with the new addition to our family!  I’m already educating her on insurance and financial services and planting the seed of succession early. 

This month, you’ll get to meet some great women from different corners of the U.S.  Get ready to feel inspired as you meet Alice, Kristin and Laurie! 

Alice Tang, BPG Wealth Management LLC

“I stepped off all boards (except one) and opened my time and energy to new challenges. I found public speaking — or public speaking found me. I enrolled in an eight-month academy program by the National Speakers Association (NSA) Oregon Chapter. It has not only provided me with training to become a professional public speaker, but has also given me contact and context from academy members in other walks of life. They have different ways of doing business, different perspectives and different audiences.   Because of this, many different doors have opened in the last few months. I also gained a sense of peacefulness every day. I am working less and accomplishing more, with no evening or weekend appointments. This also my third year qualifying for Court of the Table at the Million Dollar Round Table!” 

Kristin Blakeslee, MassMutual

“I learned early in my career that my passion would lie in connecting good people with good people, and I have been fortunate to support that passion for nearly 19 years in various recruiting roles, 15 of which have been in the financial services industry. 

One of my favorite quotes by Warren Buffet is: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” This nicely sums up my belief about recruiting. Recruiting, to me, is much more than filling a position or hiring an employee. I believe recruiting is the lifeblood of an organization and a brilliant opportunity to change not only the trajectory of a candidate’s career path, but also an opportunity to plant the seeds of success for the organization. Whether I am recruiting experienced financial advisors or coaching someone on how to improve their recruiting process, the sheer importance the act is never lost on me.  

Over the last year, the financial services industry has continued to adjust and shift in response to market pressures, and with these shifts, recruiting must flex.  I have spent the greater part of the last year developing new recruiting processes, philosophies and tools to support the attraction of the best and brightest candidates. Each day I wake up, I challenge myself to think outside of the box and deliver a unique idea to set us apart from the competition.” 

Laurie A. Leja, Northwestern Mutual

“There’s a famous quote that reads, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.”  This is the motto that I apply to my practice as I feel it is important to never be afraid to take risk and grow.  I was fortunate to work under the renowned Harry Hoopis for the first 21 years of my career. Being average was never an option. He taught us to work the Al Granum system and engage in client building. Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) was the first benchmark and the best meeting I ever attended 14 years ago and I’m proud to report that I have never missed a meeting since that time! 

In this business, I feel it is important to take a comprehensive approach to planning so that my clients know that they have a trusted advisor who understands them.  I also provide an innovative teamwork structure, my parents were an amazing team that served as great examples for what this should look like.  My husband and I have been working together for the past 17 years and our clients often remark how well we work together as a team to cover the bases with our complementary skill set.  In this business I feel that evolution is key.  I connect with others in the industry by attending company and industry meetings and events. Study groups have also been essential to my success. I am currently in two that focus on physicians and long-term care. I recently added a third called the MAIA Group with female leaders from my MDRT circle.”  

As always, if you know of great women in the industry who are working hard to make this this industry great, send an email introduction to me at scombs@combsandco.com. I’d love to connect!