2:27PM Jun 6, 2022
In a crude laboratory in the basement of its own house. Everyone, welcome back to the
rod show today we have an absolutely tremendous episode, thought provoking episode, an episode that's going to make you possibly reconsider the way that you evaluate your team, the way you promote inside your team who you hire, how you hire them. We're talking to Sarah mewn is the producer at home team insurance and the author of undiscovered voices. Sarah is out there on LinkedIn, particularly talking about about women in the insurance industry Women make up and she gives the stats during the show. So I don't want to steal her thunder, but women make up more than 60% of our space, but only hold 12% of the leadership positions. And, you know, in large part that has to do with a tradition in our industry of hardcore misogyny. And, you know, I, we talk through that, because, you know, I don't like just always going to, well, you know, tall white men are the worst or whatever you don't I mean, like, how do we navigate this in a way where women are given the opportunities that they deserve? Because obviously, it's bananas that you would hold talented team members back because of their gender. And we talked through all these thoughts, but But it happens, right? It's happening in our space today. And I think we're getting better, but it's certainly still happening. It's still an issue. It's still a feeling, or, or whatever that women in general have in our space. And I think I don't want that to be the legacy of our industry. I hope you don't want that to be the legacy of our industry. And, and I just, I really enjoyed this conversation. I really liked Sarah, I was happy to have her on the show. I hope you'll connect with her on LinkedIn. I hope you enjoy this episode. Hope it it creates some thoughts in your brain. And as always, we'd love your feedback. You hit me up on DMS, you can share the show on social share your thoughts, whatever. You know, I think this is a really important and dynamic conversation that we need to have. And I was just super happy to have her on the show. So guys, with that, I want to just hit our sponsor up real quick. Today's sponsors podium, P O D ium.com podium.com. Guys, if you're looking for a better way to capture opportunities, a better way to communicate with prospects with clients a better way to get reviews, there is no better tool than podium for adding a chat feature to your website. It captures people's conversations via the web via mobile phone and then when you respond, it responds via text. And what you get is an extremely high response rate 95 Plus response rate to inquiries and for anyone that does any kind of embedded activity that is a very, very high number. So check them out. podium.com go to pod iulm.com podium.com Check them out today. guys. Love you for listening to the show. Let's get on to Sarah. Sarah, how
are you? I'm awesome. How are you? I'm good. Good. It's awesome to meet you in person. I'm only followed you. And you're famous snus online. So
I don't know about famous. I might prefer infamous but no, definitely not. So what's going on? I'm excited to have you on the show. And you know, I I started like, trying to remember what the initial post was that I like reached out about. And I couldn't actually figure it out. But I just you know, I think I love all the work you're doing and you know, I'm just excited to chat and learn more. Maybe a great place to start would be just sharing like, what it is you do like how what's your origin story? How did you get to this spot?
Yeah, absolutely. Um, so I don't know if he had seen about the book like if that was what prompted you or something else. And it's been kind of a long summer of it's been fun. Some of its mid not so fun journey type situation. But the the origin story to the book is basically that I have struggled to move into a leadership type position in the insurance industry myself. To be honest, I'm still not in a leadership type position where I work now. And the struggle has been extremely frustrating. Typically every company that I work at its its same or similar story, it's either you're too good at what you're doing. And so we can't move you up because we can't fill find someone to fill your shoes in order to produce what you're producing. Or it's a, we don't, we don't think that you have that kind of talent and ability. So we're not going to allow you. Um, it's usually one excuse after another, I even had one company say, Well, if you produce x amount, which was really motivated to me, will move you into to a management role at your old train and manage other sales team. And then they came back and they said, No, we can't do that, because you're out producing everybody else by four times, and we can't lose your revenue. So it's kind of like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. And, you know, if you did too good of a job, you get punished. But if you don't do a good enough job you get and kind of the, I guess, one of the other factors is that I'll see I would see, men in the industry move up a lot quicker than me that I would say maybe their production, like maybe they can only produce half of what I could produce, or maybe they weren't as hard of a worker or their ethics. And I would just get really frustrated that I'm like, Okay, this guy who's like, I would say, not as talented as me isn't moving up. But and I'm getting stuck, like what's going on? And then when talking to management would usually to shut me down even when talking to other men. A lot of times in the industry, they typically would say, Well, it sounds like it's a personal problem, like you're there, the problem is you. But then when I talked to other women, the other women would share similar stories with me. And I was sharing the story with a friend of mine, and actually was sharing some horror stories in there too. Where I struggled with an employer like he basically I left a job where I was making pretty good money, but I felt stuck and I was ready to move on. He enticed me to come work for him. Basically, it was a bad move for me. And I went from making six figures to making no figures. breadwinner, the family, just a really frustrating situation and scary situation. Yep. And he basically took me from being very financially sound and feeling good about myself to feeling completely deflated, and having no income within two months. Like he only gave me and he was, he was so awful. That when he was letting me go, his ending statement was, if you ever share what happened to you, while working in my office, you will be blacklisted in the insurance industry and will never have a job again. So sharing this story with my good friend, she she was like, she's my good friend. Now, actually, because we've been on this journey together. But at that time, we were just acquaintances sharing stories. She was like, you have a really interesting story. You should write a book or something or write an article that I was like, I can't because I'll never be able to get a job again because of the sky. And she was like, Who is this person? How does he still have so much power and control over you. And at the time, that was 2019 when I had the conversation with her 2016 is when this particular employer had let me go. So although had moved on to other employers, that he still had that fear in me. So I decided to take my power and control back and write a book not just about him ended up turning into a lot more than that. But he kind of like that was like the fire that lit me that I was like No, he doesn't get to have the last word. I'm not only going to share the story, but I'm going to write a book sharing a story.
The book just so everyone knows the book is undiscovered voice. Right? And well. Yeah, well, I've voiced it sorry. And we'll have links in the show notes and everything for everybody or just go to I'm sure Amazon or wherever books are sold and you can get it you don't have to go to my site obviously just if you forget, you can go to go there but so you know, there's some some really interesting stuff in there. So one it's interesting. I, like I hear these stories, and it makes me frustrated because I hate that our industry still has assholes, like someone like that one too. As someone who has been told they would be blackballed from the industry on three separate occasions I can tell you that those people who say that stuff are completely full of shit regardless of what their job title are. So you know, we have that in common that you know, whenever you the thing about our space, I feel like and I had an awesome conversation She's probably about a year ago with Naghmeh keen on on a similar topic who, you know, I'm a big fan of mags. That, you know, there's no doubt that for far too long, and even today, still, you know, women kind of get treated like second class citizens or as, or as difficult employees to be extra managed versus just another part of the team. And it's amazing to me that these, these guys are able to still do this, like, like to me, you know, so we hire a lot of moms, particularly moms with young kids, because our work environment is like, I have two young kids, and I have to do shit all day to like, go to school, or like, whatever. So what I'm not gonna let my team do that. So what happens is all these Fattal white guys, they won't let mom's work for them, because the moms in particular, have their schedules aren't 830 to 430, like in front of the computer for eight hours. So what happens is, they get tossed aside or relegated to some shitty position or just straight, let go. And my perspective is like, all I need you to do is get your work done, I don't care if you get your work done at seven or 5am. Or you take an hour break in the middle of the day, because you got to make your kids lunch. I don't care if your kids sitting on your lap during a zoom call, like, like during our zoom calls, we'll have two or three of our team members will have literally their kids sitting on their lap. And and that's just like mom's a young kids. But just in general, I feel like there's I this is gonna sound terrible what I'm about to say, I'm almost happy that these assholes still exists. Because what it allows is people like our company, which is probably 70% women to like, find all these amazing, talented people and say, Here you go, like, to me, I'm like, Oh, my God, I'll take all your talented people and all these idiots don't want like, oh, you know, like, Let's go like it. It just it's so sad. It's sad that it's a thing. But I It does feel like there are starting to become organizations that are like, this is ridiculous. It's 2022. But what are we talking about? I mean, do you feel that way? Like there are that it's starting to shift, even though obviously, there's still a good old boys network in our industry?
Yeah, I think that we are we're trying to move the pendulum, if you will. And part of that is that there has been a complaint about talent shortage for you know, a few years, but this year, in particular, for all industries has been particularly rough. And my whole argument in the book, and when I had decided the problem I wanted to, to solve, which you touched beautifully on just a minute ago, was that I was going to show that we have more than enough talent already in the industry. And in fact, we can attract so much more new talent, just by helping women move up in to leadership type positions, and noticing the talent that you have right in front of your eyes, giving those opportunities to those women. For me, in particular, I would have never left where I was at, I would never have made that move to that guy that, you know, made my life miserable. If they had just moved me into management position, I'd still be there. If they had just given me what I had asked for and desire, they would still have the talent intact in that agency. And yet, I had to move on for what I thought was a better opportunity in order to get that. And that's what's happening is you have women here are right, in my age group where you're kind of like, well, you know, I'm either late 30s or early 40s I have to I have to make a move before it's too late. And no one will hire me because now I'm getting too old because that that's another problem. And what do I do? If the insurance industry isn't moving isn't allowing me to move up and I still have that desire, then I'm going to go and find another industry or maybe even start my own business if I have that capability, that revenue in just move out. So like so 61% of the industry is female, yet only 12% making into leadership roles. So it's it's very heavy on the bottom for women, and then you know, heavy on the top for men. And if we just even that out, we would like all this talent that you're attracting. We as an industry will attract that talent and then also keep our talent intact that we already have that we're not even discovering.
Yeah, so this is an honest question. I'm not leading anywhere. Being that 61% of it, but only 12 61% is women but only 12% is leadership. How much of that is true I'm just not wanting leadership positions. And I'm not saying that to discount because I'm fully aware of the bullshit that goes on in our space. So that's not me discounting anything. But, you know, I, I sometimes ask myself like, I, I'm trying to replace myself a CEO like I don't want to be I just like doing marketing. And yeah, and much like much like what you're talking about being that a lot of my ideas tend to be quasi misfit I'm, I'm not treated probably with the same sense of disdain that most women are in our space, but I certainly am treated like an outsider, I had to start my own agency to, like, execute my version of what this could be. But like, I had, you know, we're probably trying to do the math here. We have three guys. And seven or eight women. Two of them are leaders. So we have we're probably for 5050 on our leadership team. I'm just trying to think like, does it do is part of that? Is part of it women not pushing for leadership positions? Or is it a lot of it just men won't get out of the way? Or is it just the legacy? Or I guess what I'm saying is like, if we were to if everyone was given the same opportunity, right, there wasn't any SEC bullshit, you know, misogyny or whatever. If we toss all that out, how do you think it would actually equalize? Do you think it is that in general, you know, men, you know, I guess I'm just wondering, like, how do you think it would actually glides? Like, how far off from where you think we would be? Because it doesn't seem 5050? Seems like where we all go. But it could be 60, it could be 60% women in leadership, that could be more than 50%. Right? I guess I'm saying Where do you think would actually equalize if there wasn't like, a general sense of misogyny in our space,
if it if the playing field was completely evened out, and everybody had the same exact opportunity, and that includes there are barriers, like you had mentioned a little bit that are different for women than they are for men. So for example, a moms typically are the ones that have to do the caretaking for kids, even if they make the same income as their partner. A lot of times though, the you also have the divorce situation where you have a single Mo, where they're really like 90% of the time, the sole provider for that family. And so income wise, they need more income wise, and sole provider for you know, caretaking for their kid too. So like, you know, one barrier as for that particular age group is flexibility, like what you're doing, and letting them know, like, you have the opportunity to move out, because they're not going to always have small children. So it's really of having that open conversation with the females, and finding out where they're at, like, where do you see yourself at? How can I help you get there? How can how can we provide the education. So that's another piece of barrier that is particularly for more for women than men, where women aren't even offered the same education and the same trainings, as a lot of times men are, um,
I just wanted to touch on that point, because that is and are just, I want to ask a follow up question. If you don't mind. I don't mean to interrupt you. i. That is such a foreign concept to me. Sometimes I ask these questions, and I've been accused of like, whatever that thing is, where you, you act like something isn't real. And I don't mean to be I just it to me, that's bananas, that that would be the case. So and I guess, you know, being fired, you know, I get fired a lot from jobs. So I guess it makes sense that I don't understand these thought processes. But is that a real thing? Like, honestly, women aren't offered the same education opportunities that men are like, and I mean, that with all night navigate, I mean, I, I understand there's misogyny, but I guess, I just like, it's just not the way we operate at all. Like, it's that seems crazy.
No, it absolutely is a thing. I mean, for me, in particular, I never had any formal training, I had to learn, like, make the mistakes and learn as I go, which I know, like sometimes is just an industry problem that we have in general, where we don't take the time to train our employees so that they have a shorter learning curve. Yeah. But what I would see was that I would say, for example, my co worker who would come into the same position as a brand new producer, and he was sent off to like safe Code School to go and learn how to be an effective producer and learn new skills. Whereas I never got those opportunities to with the same company to go and learn those upper level skills. Or I would ask like, can I go to this conference? Can I have this networking opportunity? Amy, and I talked to other women where they have the same issues, and I did the research. And these are a lot of the issues that we have that hold us back, is that when when we asked for those opportunities, a lot of time, we're told, it won't benefit you. It won't benefit the company, it's a waste of time for you. But yet you see a male counterpart get invited to go do it.
And it's just straight old fat white guys don't like women. That's just what it is. I mean,
I mean, I think I think they like women, but they like to sexually harass us is what they like, they like to look at us because we're pretty, and they like to sexually harass us, because that's been, you know, and I've even been told by employers, they're like, I don't know, you know, like, I've been told by some, they're like, You do such a better job than everybody else that producing it must just be because people like to look at you. I'm like, but I, I can actually produce this young blonde girl who's way prettier than me. So I don't think that's it. You know, and I don't know, like, we shouldn't have to worry about whether we're going to be hired because we're pretty or not pretty maybe like it can, can it not the office skill, because I see a bunch of ugly white people hired that do just fine. And it doesn't seem like that holds them back from being hired into a producing type role that I would say a lot of them are unattractive.
I, you know, so this is I had a conversation with during the Black Lives ladder Matter movement I had Billy Williams on. I was talking to him about racism. And, you know, we talked about a bunch of stuff, but we ended up going to this place. And I said to him, you know, the thing that I've never understood about racism, because I'd love to believe that I'm not, you know, whatever. But I just said, I'm a capitalist. At my core, I believe in responsibility and accountability and free markets and all this kind of stuff. And if you believe in that stuff, then the ideas of misogyny, like sexism, racism, they're stupid, because all they do is hold you back. Like, like, even if you were even if you were like, just hardcore, white nationalist, aihole if you're also a capitalist than the not promoting women, not promoting anyone, you know, anyone of a minority race, like, it's, it's the stupidest thing for business that you could possibly do like, like, why would you take someone and I guess this is just why I don't understand it. I mean, I wholly believe that it exists. And completely, I'm just saying, I personally could never understand this mindset, because I look at someone I'm like, can they help my company make more money? Yes or no? Are they going to do a good job for our clients? Are they going to get in our culture and support their team members and make us a better place to work until people can thrive? Yes or no. Like that is literally the bar. I don't care if they have three fingers on their third hand, and they're the color of the dye their skin, The Color Purple? If, if they can do the job and fit into the company and help our clients and want to be part of it. I just don't understand this methodology like it just it bewilders me, like I just absolutely bewilders me that people could run their business this way.
Yeah, and I totally 100% agree. And I even like I even have a chapter where I talk about how much more money a company makes when they're diversified, versus being not diversified. So for every 1%, just 1% of diversity type, you know, diversity, inclusion, and equity that you increase in your company that increases profit by 3%. So if you're talking about million dollar companies, 3% is huge. And it's an easy I mean, I guess it's probably not that easy, but it's something that you're doing the right thing, and that's creating more profit for the company. So it's a win win. There's no losing there. So I was trying to like, when writing the book, I was trying not to just say that. I was trying to say it's an industry problem that needs to change, but also I'm writing it to hopefully reach reach leadership people to show like, hey, or CEOs or you know, whoever is making those decisions, that care about money, making lots of money, and say like, Hey, you're leaving 3% for every 1% of this change that you're not making like every time you don't move that pendulum, you're losing so much money. Yeah. Because like one thing in particular that you said that, like you're looking to see if somebody can help your company, generate more income and propel you forward as a organization? Well, if you're hiring this, this purple person, let's say, Yeah, with three fingers, and they're having a really hard time getting a job, because they're purple, and they have three fingers. How awesome of a job do you think this person is going to do for you, they're gonna work their tail 200% Harder than, you know, the white guy that is, you know, like, super egotistical, and maybe he's like, fresh out of college. And he's like, I'm the best thing that ever happened to the insurance industry. I'm gonna, you know, blow this world up. I'm 20 years old. And I know everything, right? Because we all know that 20 year old that comes in, and he's just like, I'm going to 20. Yeah, women aren't that way, men tend to be that way at 20. Women are not. And we can go into that in a minute. But the so if you're taking this purple person with three fingers that hasn't had the opportunities that they should have been offered, because they are a talented individual, and then you're taking this person that just has a huge ego, but knows nothing. And you're comparing the two, like, the obvious choice would be the purple person with three fingers. But most people don't see it that way. They're gonna see oh, this person thinks they can do a great job. So I think they probably if they believe in this out there, but they're not going to work as hard. They're going to expect everything handed to them versus the purple person who's going to work for you so hard, because they're so appreciative of that opportunity.
Yeah, I I'll be honest, yeah, I, my I, I will push back only on the part that I think I don't like when we swing the pendulum too far to those who have been underprivileged are absolutely going to do better. I think, you know, the way I try to look at it is look like that 20 year old, egotistical aihole, they're going to relate to a certain part of the market. And I want that person. And their and I want the purple three fingered person, because they're going to relate to a different part of the market. And I want the mom and I want the grandma and I want the Grandpa and I want the 45 year old dude who's divorced and trying to remake his life, and I want anyone, I don't, I don't care. If you're six foot three look like, you know, George Clooney, white guy, privileged if you're going to show up and work hard and play in our culture, and get along into that, if you're, you know, it just to me, I try really hard because I think that it creates if we swing the pendulum too far, which I think in some ways has happened in our culture, in a media sense, not in a real world sense. But in a meeting immediate sense. I think there's, there's this idea that, look, I'm a six foot three white guy who went to a top 30 college, if you were to take a snapshot of me, you'd be like, given everything a whole, what you didn't realize is I grew up dirt fucking poor in a town of 900 people and literally pulled myself out with while my dad was in jail, and my mom was holding our tiny little divorced family together on a secretary salary, like, you know, but if you were to take a snapshot of me, you'd say, Look at this guy, he's the problem. He's the this is the repressor right here, right? So I sometimes struggle with that. Because if you were to literally just take a screenshot of me, and you would look at me and point and say, there's the repressor right there, there he is, look at him, look at how privileged he is. Look at all this stuff. And you would know that I grew up in as shitty or shittier household as anybody else who isn't a six foot three white guy, and I you know what I mean? So it's like, I I am completely aware and believe that white dudes who particularly white dudes who are in reasonably good shape and are reasonably good looking get a tremendous amount of natural advantage in our current culture, that part I, I am, I don't deny that. But it's very difficult for me, and maybe I'm wrong, but it's very difficult for me to say I want to give the single mom with two kids who's struggling, who's super talented, I want to give her a shot and make sure that she gets every opportunity to be everything she can possibly be in art because we have this no ceiling insurance Career Program, which is not just for producers, it's for everybody. And I want to give her a shot. But then I'm not going to give this other guy a shot over here because he looks like the repressor and that is a very difficult thing to manage I think because I want to give everybody a shot. And and I think that that's something sometimes comes off and I'm really interested in your take on this because I you know I don't always know how to how to say and do the right things. I you know, I I want to give everybody a shot. And sometimes that's like, Well, Ryan, you don't understand by giving this six foot three white guy over here shot, you're just perpetuating the system. And it's like, well, I don't know, I feel like anybody who's willing to play by our rules that the way that we run our team and the way we run our company, and wants to help people and help each other be of service, I feel like everybody should get a shot. And it's a very difficult thing to manage. You know? I don't know.
Yeah. So I would agree, as far as like pendulums, going too much one way or the other. I would agree with that. And even with, like, with going on this journey, and the journey is about women. But I also want to help because I felt like if this thing starts swinging more for women, to move into leadership roles, it'll also offer open opportunities for minority groups, you know, like, I think it's just all layered on one another, for sure. When I tried to kind of like swing over to the DEI space. The problem is, is that I don't know what that is, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, that diversity in equity and inclusion space. So the problem is, is that I'm a I'm a white, essentially. And so this is where I'm trying to, like, kind of meet you where what you're saying. So because I am white, and I haven't experienced what it's like to be of color or to be of another ethnicity, it's really hard to get into that space. And for people to take you seriously, even though I do have experience as growing up with a single mom, having to, you know, basically tooth and nail myself and, you know, make a name for myself. And it has been difficult as a female, but it hasn't, you know, I'm not of color to where I can speak for that perspective. So then I can't, so it's really hard to be taken seriously. On those efforts. That's why I've tried to I'm focusing on my own experience, like I'm a woman, and this is what I've had experience. And then I interview, you know, other people of different ethnicities and backgrounds so that they can give their perspective in the book, so that I'm not overstepping. Even trying to like research the space and get into the space, you'll even see, some of those people will start talking bad about privileged white women. And that rubs me wrong. Because just because I'm a white female does not mean that I've had much privilege, saying no, like the same thing, as you say, there, maybe I have some privileges, they don't, but it doesn't matter. At the end of the day. If someone is talented and willing to work hard and fit in your culture, they should absolutely have the option to come work, you know, for you or with you. I completely agree. Like you shouldn't just hire someone just because they're of color. But maybe, maybe their attitudes are not great. Maybe that person or maybe this woman, she only wants to work 20 hours and doesn't want to move up and you want to give her an opportunity because she's a woman, but you're like, well, she doesn't really want to work. Maybe her husband supports her. And I don't know that she's really going to do what I need her to do. But and then you have like you said that George Clooney you know, six foot three male model that is going to work his tail off and probably bring in lots of business. Well, if you're if you're having to choose between the two, well, I think most of us would choose the one that wants to work full time. And, you know, and it's not because he's six, three, and George Clooney that we're hiring, and we're hiring him because he he wants more he wants to grow with us. So it can't You can't like and even like I've talked to others about, you know, there was a time where companies and I think maybe they still do it where they'll hire somebody who is of a different ethnicity, just to fill them in a role that maybe they're not even qualified to do, just so they can check the box that they're diversifying. And that's not the right way, because you're setting that person up for failure anyways. Yeah. Versus someone who's qualified that maybe they're white, but you're trying to diversify.
Yeah, see, this is this is what I this is what I worry about, in general, not necessarily with our company. Because no, I mean, with our company to, is, to me, when you do what you just said, you're not actually being you're not actually fighting against sexism and racism, what you're doing is perpetuating in my opinion, the system because what happens is people look at that person and they go, Well, geez, they didn't earn that spot. And all you do is create bitterness and more frustration and more now, how about just don't be sexist and racist. And just open yourself up and hire people and train them and do the right things? And good, I get that that model you're going to have to take you're going to take some shots, because your numbers aren't always going to align with the national averages and all this kind of stuff. And it's like I basically said to our team Look, we are going to hire the people that fit us. We are in general, a, you know, it's so freakin unfortunate that these are now considered like conservative ideas but it's like we we are in service of each other and accountable to our jobs. Beyond that, I don't care if you're a veteran, I don't care if you're a single mom, I don't care if you're, I don't care what you are, I don't care where you came from, I don't care what your background is, I don't care what accent you have, I don't care what your heritage is, I don't care. If you're going to be in service to our team and each other, and our customers, and you're willing to be held accountable to the things that you say you will do, then we want we want to consider you for our team in some position or another. And it's very hard thing because, like, you know, I it's it's a difficult concept when you know, you you especially today were when you're raised, like I was an athlete. I think like it was good, you feel the ground ball. Good. You hit a fastball. I was a baseball player, you know, right. So like, that was all we cared about. And I had dudes from, you know, especially, you know, as I went through my career and started to play on more advanced teams, you get people from every walk of life, you're in a meeting, and you just don't even think about it. You literally don't even think about if anything, you think it's fun that you're meeting all these people from different places. So you like you, you get launched out into the world. And then all of a sudden, it's like, you know, you see one there are actually idiots out there that are racist that are sexist, and those people are terrible. And it's like, how do you differentiate yourself without succumbing to like, the kind of like, I hate Wolk, I love the high level concepts that they're fighting for of equality. And of all this stuff like those the high level concepts, I'm in complete support of I hate the divisiveness just like I hate all the nonsense that comes from the other side, too. Like I'm not saying I'm I think they're right, I don't at all, you know, I think most of us live in the middle, where we all just want to get along and work hard and support each other. And it's like, how do you live in that space? Without getting labeled one way or the other? You know, it's just such a difficult path to walk. And, like you said, like, you want to, you want to be supportive of Dee, I know that acronym now. And you can't or you struggle with it, because you're white? Well, that's, you know, that's a hard concept for me. But I also get it like, especially black people, and you're like shit for so long that I get why they're mad and frustrated. Like, it makes sense to me. So this, it's just this is such a tough thing. And I just keep coming back to like, if we just, if we think about this through the filter of what's best for our team, and our people and our company and not these other stupid aspects, then these problems are solved themselves. I feel like
Yeah, and you I mean, you said it really great what the sporting analogy. Were like when we're playing sports in school, which I was never athletic. So I can't say firsthand, but I see sports, my son's in football and my daughter's in dance. And really, you're brought onto a team based off of how well can you hit the ball? How well can you you know, hit the ball over the net for volleyball or whatever it is, how good of a dancer you are, what can we teach you? Are you teachable and trainable. So if they don't look at any other aspect of who you are, or anything, they're not looking at skin color, they're not looking at gender. I mean, like for football, usually women girls can't play but that's not the point. It's there's other sports for for girls. But the point is that they're not looking at all these other factors that sometimes are, seem like whether people are meaning to make assumptions about that person, or whether they are, you know, deciding based off of their age or gender or color, whether they're going to fit in the team. Those factors shouldn't come into place. The only factor that should come into place is can this person, like you said, fit into my culture? Do a great job. Are they trainable? That's huge, because some people like maybe they come in they can they know everything. And they're absolutely not trainable. Like maybe they're good at what they do. But they're not great and they'll never be great. And you know what I'm talking about, right? Yeah, like these untrainable people. Like, I mean, that's a factor that you're looking at too. And really what I'm talking about in the book isn't so much on the hiring level. It's more taking that 60% of women that we have on the bottom that are hitting the ceiling, if you will, bouncing off just you know, hit it, bounce it off, tried another company, hit it, bounce it off. They just can't get past that level, removing those ceilings, removing those barriers and giving that that woman the same opportunities, removing those extra barriers that she may have that maybe men don't have in general. Taking away assumptions, like just because someone's pregnant doesn't mean that they don't want to move in to a higher level position doesn't mean that they want out produce everybody else. In fact, for me, when I started having babies, I started doubling my sales, because I needed more money. Bottom line that was very motivating, I was like, Oh, I have daycare. Now. I either can sell more, or I don't eat, you know, which one do I decide to do? So, so it actually provided motivation for me. And I've noticed like one of the ladies in our office, she just had a baby. She's doubled her sales, since coming back from maternity leave. And I think it's probably because she's paying daycare for her baby. And she's probably like, I don't want to miss out on the level of living that I'm used to, or I want to be able to provide for my family, or maybe I have a goal of a bigger house. And so she's out producing like she's the number one on our sales team right now. So I think it's just, it's taking away assumptions is taking away ceilings, it's providing the same level of education, the same level of career pathing. The other problem that I have seen is that a lot of times women are hired into service positions, whereas men are hired right into producer positions. And maybe maybe the women only want to start off in service, maybe that's what they want to do. But then the opportunity to move up and go into a career path is much lower at that position. So I think that needs to change to like maybe we make opportunities of teaching them how to move up in those roles, or how to move from service to producing because honestly, I don't think it's that different. It's just a mindset difference. Yeah. I mean, I started off in service. So I think it's, it's, it's just, I want to say like play leveling out the playing field, but just making sure that you you treat George Clooney. And if we started with this purple person,
I don't even know where that came from.
I think he just didn't want to put like an ethnicity on it. Yeah. But you know, and this other person, and making sure that they have the same they are, first of all, that you're communicating with them the same way, like effectively and having open honest communication, because a lot of times what happens, like I've been told, and I talked to other women, where you have an open door policy, I hate the word open door policy, because it's never an open door policy, it's always you go into the office, you talk to your boss, maybe if he even gives you the time of day about what's going on. And then they're like, Okay, I don't want to hear it leave, or I don't care. Or, ya know, I went to prom.
There's so many shitty leaders in our industry. Like, this is the problem. Like, the problem is there that there are leaders in our space that are really just good producers who started an agency, and now they're leaders. And it's like, they're not good leaders, they just own equity in the business or the what their name is on the box. And like that, to me is is the problem is that there is a there is a there is a major gap in quality leadership in our industry, because the shit that goes on in our space. And in look, I love that you're telling this story. And I think it's amazing. And I'm so happy that we're having this conversation, but it's like, You're not the first person that I've heard this from. I mean, you go walk through a conference hall and this is like a super common story. And it's like, they won't listen to me. They won't let me do this. I mean, the number of 25 year olds that that that email me or DM me, Ryan, I'm so friggin frustrated. I don't know what to do. I feel like every idea I have gets shot down. You know, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba. It's like, Who are these people that own these businesses that just walk in every day? And basically everything is no, no, no, no, no, don't talk to me. If you actually have a problem, then you're really just a nuisance, and I don't want any to do with you. And she's a problem because she's always saying and it's like, well, maybe one of those ideas that she has is like really important. And it's just it's like this complete lack of quality leaders who are actually thinking about their people. And that you know, that's that's the thing like I feel like this is if you we just don't the idea of servant leadership is something I really believe it right. Like I tell my team every day My job here is to make sure you are the best that you can possibly be at your job. That's what I do. If I do that the business grows. Right. If I if your job is to make me the best I can be the We don't grow. That's that dynamic is the difference between us moving forward and staying exactly where we are. And I feel like that's why we look at this, we look at a flat, you know, or negative growth for the majority of agencies in our space, especially independent agencies. And it is because the person at the top believes it's everyone else's job to make them better, when the reverse is how you actually grow. And it's just so unfortunate. Now, here's my question for you. So, I'm a 37 year old woman with good experience and ambition in an agency. And I've been passed over twice to move up to a position that I feel like I'm qualified for and want, and I'm frustrated as shit. What do I do? Like, what's the what's the path? What are the what's the action plan? Like? How do I start to take take control of my career? And, and what are the next steps for me so that I can start to get out of this place where I feel frustrated and boxed in.
So it's interesting that you asked me about that particular age, because that was right around the age where I was at that one position, I was working inside of a credit union selling insurance for
two. That's your first problem a credit union you gotta get.
Yeah. Yeah. So I was around like 35 was when I was starting to get frustrated there. And then something happened that I was like, Okay, I have to find another place. I gotta figure out what I'm going to do. Around it was probably like between 35 and then 36, or 37 is when I left. You know, like, for the wrong place. So I guess the first part and so my, my dilemma was, I was making 150,000. And I couldn't, I was I am I again, it took me a long time to get back to this level. But I am the breadwinner, my family and I was the breadwinner, my family at that time. And when I was going and looking for jobs, that like even in big companies like I was even, I even went and, like I thought I was gonna be a marketing rep with like Safeco and travelers and Hartford, even when going to look at what they pay, a lot of them only pay at like 60 or 65,000, which meant that my income gets cut in half. So I wasn't able to, to justify leaving. And then this particular like, I took the wrong job. And that that has nothing to do with your question. So what I wish I would have done and probably what I would advise other women who are in that position, is get your because I've never done this, but I hear it helps but get as much education as you can try to figure out if there's any way for you to create your own opportunities. If you have that capability. I didn't have that capability, because I couldn't have the capability of having no money. And I didn't have any money saved either. Because I was supporting two young children and a husband. But if you have that capability, that's great. Or maybe like do your research, like how can you position yourself to where you're good can be hired at a higher level and make more money? Or match what you are making where you're at? Or at least a tolerable amounts, but a place that has more growth opportunities? Yeah, it's really trying to figure out picking the right place to leave or the right process to know. Education is huge. I don't know. Do you know, Dustin Bryant? She's with national alliance. I believe it's national alliance, like it's an education partner
feel like I know the name. Yeah.
So like, really like looking into like supporting yourself more opportunities. So taking the time, like, Okay, I'm gonna get some designations. This is gonna make me more desirable to a, you know, to a company, maybe for a higher level, or maybe a higher level of pay. Try to do networking, like try to see if you can get out to conferences, even if you have to take a PTO day. Because your company that says it's not necessary, even if you have to pay out of pocket, you're investing in yourself. So my, I guess my advice would be, don't jump if it feels too, if someone offers you something that seems too good to be true. Do a gut check, because I wish I would have checked myself with that awful guy that I went to go work for. Because I knew that I knew there was something off I just went for it anyways. Yeah. And it was a bad leap of faith. You know, no one ever talks about the fall of faith, but I had like the fall and those break and all that. But really like figuring out what you what your next move really, really is. And what the best way to get to that next move is and how you can invest in yourself.
Do you recommend like building a personal brand and having got like a personal brand in the space? Do you see that as being advantageous? Posting on LinkedIn? You know, stuff like that.
So I do, and I don't, and I'll tell tell you the do and I'll tell you the don't yeah, I'm super interested. So I do believe that you should make a name for yourself and have your own personal brand. Outside of where you work outside of your employer to where you're making a name for yourself. I do 100% agree that you should do that. The part that is hard, and it's happened with me is having your own personal belief system and brand can actually gets you in trouble with whoever you're employed by. Even if even though it's your own personal thing that you're doing on your own, that's not tied to them, they'll still they can still say, because this has happened to me and I've gotten let go because of it. In the past. You're not representing the company the way we want you to represent it. We we don't follow your personal brand. Or they even say personal brand. We don't like what you're putting out there. Yeah, this isn't representative of us. And if I came back, well, it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with me. And my posts that I got in trouble for was posting about mental health when I posted about it, and I basically told people that depression is real, and I go through it. And if you need help reach out to me. That's all the past was, and I got into major trouble before it really. Yeah, it's yeah, they said that it was I mean, very antiquated thinking here, right? But they said that it wasn't scientifically backed up, it's a controversial issue. And they don't want that to be tied to their companies. I
feel like I go through depression, like three times a day.
Right? Like I mean,
an AI human, if you're not
medically proven that it's a, it's a problem, and that everyone goes through it. And then the more we hide it, the more it hurts us and just, I don't know, it just hurt my heart when they when I got in trouble for that. But what I'm saying is having a personal brand is beneficial. But it can also be harmful. Yeah,
I think you know, so obviously, this is I'm a firm believer in in. So there's there's two things here. One, I think that everyone should control their personal brand. And if your employer is not going to let you control that, within reason, right? I mean, obviously, if you're saying some really wacky shit, or some illegal stuff, that's different, but like, you know, I think that in order for you to control your career, your personal brand is very important. The problem is, you can't make an excuse for it. Right? Like I've said a ton of stuff that I some some things people like some people don't like there are there are people that straight hate me for my viewpoints on certain topics, or just don't like me or think I'm an idiot, I used to get what is he done? Like, I would literally get people that would constantly come What is he done? What is he done? Yeah, he says that, what has he done? What has he done? Okay, so like, there's, it's, it's, it's a at the same time. My personal brand has driven my career. I mean, the reason that I've been able to do the things I've been able to do is because I've shared my thoughts and feelings with the industry. So I think it's one of those things that I highly if you have the gumption for it, and I don't mean that as a knock on people, because you will get hated on you will get you know, you will get people you will get people attention in a very positive way. But you will also get attention a negative way. If you are able to handle that. I feel like the juice is worth the squeeze. But, but it definitely comes with you know, I tried to tell everyone who takes us I was actually I don't know if you know, James Jenkins, if you've heard that name, James Jenkins. Yeah, so James is awesome, dude. And he says a lot of crazy shit. And I love him for it. But he was having some problems because some people were given him some some some slack about some things he had said, and I mean, they're just like opinions on insurance topics. It's not like it was anything super controversial. But but you know, he was getting some hate. And I just said, bro, you, once you decide to put yourself in the public space, you have to understand you have to try to keep the you're going to have a 20% hate or quotient 20% At a minimum of the people that read your content are just going to go this guy, this girl, this person, they're an idiot, hate them can't stand them. This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. What does he know? What does she know? What have they ever done? The other side of it is you're gonna get people who are willing to, to see it the other way. And I like I love this thought I love the way she thinks I struggled with depression too. I mean, just in the last two years, I've had to two bouts with depression myself. I mean, I deal with it just like anybody else. And and I look at it and I'm like, I don't know if any human who is actually participating in life has not had moments of depression. I mean, how could you so to think things that I look at and I'm like, we need more people talking about how they handled this, how did you get through it? You're a functioning human today? How did you get through a three month stretch or a year long stretch or two, and your stretch, where you just couldn't get out of the funk, the haze, the whatever, you know, however you want to describe it or worse, and these are conversations we need to have. And, unfortunately, to have them, we all just have to accept that there are idiots in the world. And those idiots are gonna say stupid things. And I actually carry those idiots as a badge of honor. And I'm like, I when people, you know, people will say, share DNS about something I said, here or there, you know, whatever. And I think, I think that it's unfortunate, but at the same time, I think it's a good thing. Like, if everyone just agreed with everything you said all the time, you would never find your people, right? Like that company was not your people, as much as it may have been a good situation, or you may have been making good money or whatever, which is a tough, which is tough for all for obvious real life reasons. They weren't your people. They weren't your people. And I guess the hope is, if we do you know, telling the story, writing this book, what you are going to find is your people, the people who look at you and go, yep, yep, we'll take the good stuff. And we'll take the bad stuff. And we love it all. And let's fucking go. And that is why I think personal brand solves a lot of this. It's not the easier road, but it ultimately gets you to your people. And I think that's what we're all trying to do, hopefully.
Right? Yeah, absolutely. I would say that. And I actually had this question, asked of me, when interviewing with a another podcaster whether I wanted to be on this podcast, and he said, Do you do realize that there's gonna be people out there that see you as being a loudmouth. And because you have a big mouth, they may not think you may not be hireable in the future for the things that you say. And I told him, I said exactly what you said. I said, I don't want to work for those people. Yeah, I would rather than weed me out first, than me have the unpleasant experience of working for those people. So I'm okay with that. I'm already I've already put that persona out there. And I'm, I am who I am. And at this point I have, I'm lucky enough to have that capability. I still have the fear. I'm like, oh, you know, I don't I don't know, if I'm gonna get in trouble for what I'm doing. But if I do, like, I'm hoping it will take me to a better path in the future. Well, anytime
you need a pep talk, just DM me, I'm like personal brand pep talk. That's like my side job that I don't get paid for. So I'll just fire emojis and some strong arm emojis and all right, fuck those people to you. And then you'll feel great. You get back. Because that's the truth is, you know, I feel like, you know, you look at the people, the people that I that I the business people, the professionals, the athletes, whatever, you know, whatever walk of life, even local people, business people, people I know around here, people in my church and stuff like, the people that I admire, are seen are often seen more as misfits than as one of the collective. And it doesn't mean everyone should be a miss, you should be exactly who you are. But if you are, if you do feel like kind of a misfit, I think you have to embrace that. And you know, we talked about internally rogue we talked about all the time, I refer to us as misfit gangster killers, and I just throw those words together, because they're fun to say, but like, that's what I want. Like, I want people again, you know, care if you dye your hair, frickin yellow or rainbow, I just don't care. And I think that there's people should be celebrating the fact that you're willing to take ball, you know, whatever the female equivalent of balls is to get on this thing and say the things you're saying right guts, it takes to say these things. I know that and I know you're early in your, in your in the progression of telling all these stories, and I think it's fucking amazing. And we need more people telling these stories, because some people are going to be turned off, but some people are going to be turned on and those people that are turned on, they need to hear what you have to say. So I hope I hope everybody, at least, you know, connect on LinkedIn was Sarah right? We'll have all the links. Well, I want to let me put it this way. Where are the best places to connect with you to get the book like Where should people go if they want to just get into your ecosystem?
So LinkedIn is where I post all of my insights have basically about women and insurance and women women in leadership and insurance in general. So LinkedIn at the best spot, I other social media platforms, I use x Just to sell insurance so that's the one I speak more to the insurance industry. And then my book is available on Amazon nice. You can look it up by my name I apparently I'm the only ceremonious author in there or undiscovered voices unlocking the potential of women and insurance the full name awesome that's fine
I highly encourage everyone who's has either just enjoyed this podcast or is very interested in this topic to support Sarah's work I mean these are these are important topics to our industry like I we should all take it as as like a slight that our industry is seen as old and Fattal white guys and antiquated like that isn't the world that I want to live in it's certainly not the industry that I that I want us to be seen as and that work is going to take us thinking bigger and thinking outside the box and yeah you know you may show up to your good old boys you know local networking event and you might catch a little flack but you know what I think in the long term all of our companies will be better and I'm just so glad that we had a chance to connect this has been great. Me too thank you so much. day you got yourself in your pocket
few drinks and smoke a joint bubbles. One of the few drinks and smoke a joint bubbles