Women advisors share stories on how to succeed in business

October 5th, 2015, No Comments, be the first ».

There’s a common saying that members of Women in Insurance and Financial Services often embrace: If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing.

That message was the theme of a Monday morning panel during NAIFA’s Career Conference and Annual Meeting moderated by WIFS incoming president Susan Glass.

“To get to a certain level (of success) you need to get to a level of discomfort first,” Evelyn Gellar of New York said. The marketplace is changing with the launch of new product lines, increasing consumer demands and innovation, she said. Geller advised the women in insurance and financial services to leverage their peers at organizations like WIFS and NAIFA who have unique abilities and “can help build your practice to the next level.”

Cheryl Canzanella of Jacksonville, Fla., said fear of rejection is a common state for anyone working in financial services. “We hear ‘no’ a lot, but if you have an opportunity to face those fears and you have the right people surrounding you and uplifting you, then you also have the opportunity to get in front of your fears and face them.” Fear may be uncertain, “but it also can be exhilarating,” Canzanell said.

Kristin Alfheim agreed, saying the fear of making the right connections or talking with the right people doesn’t go away. “If it does then you are in a state of complacency. If we don’t have a fear of failure then we don’t chase success.” Industry events such as the NAIFA conference can help women move forward in their knowledge and careers. “Talk to the right people and make the right connections.”

On Monday, NAIFA and WIFS announced a partnership to strengthen advocacy and professional development.

“NAIFA and WIFS are closely aligned in our commitments to advance the knowledge and professionalism of insurance and financial advisors and position our members as industry leaders in financial services,” said NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux, CAE. “Studies show that American’s ability to save and plan for retirement is at an all-time low, so the need for consumer access to affordable, professional financial advice is critical. This partnership reflects NAIFA’s commitment to ensure our members have the knowledge to serve their clients, as well as our commitment to diversify the workforce with talented women advisors in the field,” Mayeux said. The NAIFA-WIFS partnership also will help unify our voice on Capitol Hill at a time of unprecedented challenges in the legislative and regulatory environment, Mayeux added.

“WIFS welcomes the evolving collaborative relationship with NAIFA.  This partnership speaks to our commitment to advancing women, supporting our members and lending our voice to the industry” said WIFS President Susan L. Combs

NAIFA CEO: Change must happen for membership to grow

October 5th, 2015, No Comments, be the first ».


In its 125-year legacy NAIFA has been an innovator, educator, advocate and protector, yet every organization and generation has its own set of challenges, and NAIFA’s is no exception, NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux said Sunday at the NAIFA Career Conference and Annual Meeting.

In his remarks to the National Council, Mayeux, who joined NAIFA as CEO in July 2015, offered a reality check to members with charts that displayed the twin realities of a shrinking membership base and declining revenue.

“We ignore lessons of history at our own peril,” Mayeux said, citing sobering examples of a changing industry that includes a shrinking workforce, fewer companies and an aging agent population.

“The industry is changing, there’s no doubt about it. But are we responding fast enough to these changes? Are we nimble enough that we can thrive in this new environment? The stakes are high.”

Mayeux cited Kodak and Blockbuster as two companies whose products and services once dominated the marketplace only to lose their share because they did not adapt to the environment and change to meet consumer needs.

On the other hand, companies such as BMW, which after World War II was forced to dismantle its production of aircraft engines, is a case study in adaptability. After its factory floors were shut down, BMW survived by making pots and pans and other kitchen utensils.

“Think about that the next time you’re in a 750i!” Mayeux said.

BMW is an inspiring story on a company’s ability to be nimble and change. Asking the audience how NAIFA will evolve and change, Mayeux suggested the following:

  • We must have an enterprise mindset that is open to change. “Unless we as leaders are willing to consider all our options in a vastly changing market, then our decision-making process will be flawed.”
  • We must think and act holistically. “NAIFA is a Federation of 600 state and local associations. But we are One NAIFA. We need to think and act as one enterprise,” Mayeux said.
  • We must adapt our business model to changing conditions. “Change can be scary, but we need to face up to it. It is reality. The answer lies in better understanding and responding to our members and their needs,” Mayeux said.

Mayeux challenged the National Council to affect change “one step at a time.” A major focus at NAIFA National will be the creation of a value proposition “that makes NAIFA membership truly indispensable,” Mayeux said.

NAIFA will work to diversify its revenue portfolio, Mayeux said, through  training and professional development programs and by enhancing corporate partnerships.

Said Mayeux: “I am confident that if we are nimble, embrace creative thinking and stay focused on NAIFA’s mission, we will succeed as ONE NAIFA.”