Mentoring the Health Insurance Industry’s Next Generation of Women Leaders

By Jessica Word

CEO, Word & Brown General Agency

As the daughter of one of the co-founders of Word & Brown GA, I grew up in the health insurance industry. It would have been easy to turn away from the “family business,” but I was fortunate that there were professionals over the years who took the time to help me focus, find my path, and recognize my leadership potential.

My journey made me recognize the significant role that mentorship plays for anyone who wants to advance in their career.

Then, it is no surprise that one of my areas of focus as a CEO is to foster and create development opportunities for young women looking to become benefits professionals. It’s important that agencies and brokerage houses make the time to nurture the development of women team members – they are our industry’s future leaders.

While we might all understand the need for mentorship, the last few years of pandemic work-at-home might have us out of practice. Let’s look at three cornerstones to successful mentorship.

It Starts Early: If a woman develops a personal relationship with a more seasoned professional early in her career, she is likely to be promoted more quickly than those without mentors, according to a study from SAP HR Research. This is why I’m passionate about mentorship – it’s a mutually beneficial relationship that helps both the mentee and mentor.

Over the last several years, I have mentored a student at California State University, Fullerton, every semester. I have learned so much from this woman and others during our regular conversations and they inspired me with their resiliency during the pandemic. Make no mistake, though, they need encouragement as much as anyone to develop a passion and nurture the drive necessary to make a mark in the business world.

One-on-One Relationships Are Critical: Most adults in a young person’s life are either family or faculty. One-on-one relationships, especially those with women just starting out in their careers, are key to seeing a broader picture of the business world.

This requires a regular time commitment to establish deep, meaningful, and organic connections. It can be challenging in our busy schedules, but we can all break away for a quick cup of coffee or lunch. A regular cadence of meetings not only is valuable for topics discussed, but it teaches the importance of holding to your commitments.

Having someone readily available to lend an ear when you need advice for a career shift, big move, or promotion is invaluable. Not only does it increase a mentee’s chances of success, but it creates a “pay it forward” mindset. And this kind of mindset has the potential to grow the number of women professionals in our industry, which is a great thing!

Network, Network, Network: We’re all familiar with the mantra, but beyond what it does for a young woman trying to get ahead, it is just as important to growing the number of women candidates applying to join our teams.

That’s one of the reasons why Word & Brown partnered with California State University, Fullerton, on a half-day event in the fall 2021. I worked closely with the college’s Center for Leadership; one of its key business programs is to create opportunities for women students to hear seasoned women leaders from a variety of industries talk about under-the-radar and hidden job opportunities. This event was truly one of the highlights of my year!

Finally, here’s a challenge from me to you: take the leap and reach out to a new women industry professional in the next month. There is power in reaching out to someone early in her career to offer important guidance that will help her to succeed. Who knows – she may eventually become a president of the National Association of Health Underwriters!


Jessica Word is CEO of Word & Brown General Agency. Established in 1985 and headquartered in Orange, Calif., Word & Brown is one of the state’s largest independently owned general agents. For additional information, visit www.wordandbrown.com.

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Member Meeting Recap | Apr. 20, 2022

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SAHU Newsletter | March 2022

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SAHU Newsletter | February 2022

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NAHU’s California Chapter Successfully Defeats Single-Payer Initiative

SACRAMENTO, CA 23 February 2022 — Single-payer advocates in the California legislature simply did not have the votes required to pass AB 1400 out of the state Assembly last week, resulting in a major victory for health insurance professionals across the Golden State. AB 1400 would have eliminated private health coverage in California and replaced it with a single-payer, state-run healthcare system.

CAHIP, SAHU, and the majority of California’s NAHU chapters participated in supporting efforts to oppose this bill. “This is why I am a member of SAHU, it keeps me in the know on important legislation that affects our insurance industry,” says SAHU President-Elect, Rosamaria Marrujo.

If you’d like to know more about the bill, its contents, and why insurance industry professionals opposed it, read the information provided by NAHU at the link below.


http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/nahus/issues/2022-02-09/1.html

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For over 30 years, SAHU has worked to improve our members’ ability to meet the health, financial and retirement security needs of all Californians and Americans through education, advocacy, and professional development. For more information, please visit: sahu-ca.com.

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Member Meeting Recap | Feb. 16, 2022

Presentation Topic: Legislative Update

Presentation Topic: Legislative Update

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SAHU Newsletter | January 2022

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Member Meeting Recap | Jan. 19, 2022

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SAHU Spreading Awareness for COVIDTests.gov

Last week, the White House announced covidtests.gov, a site with the purpose of supplying free rapid antigen COVID-19 tests to every U.S. household. The new site is now live and ready to take orders, as well as provide additional resources and information for those in need of testing.

The key takeaway is every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. For convenience, if you are interested in ordering immediately, you can use the link below to go directly to the order form and skip all the extra information.

COVIDTests.gov USPS Order Form

Additionally, on the site, you’ll find information on other locations you can purchase additional at-home tests, how you can be reimbursed by your insurance for up to 8 at-home tests per month, and 20,000+ Community-Based Testing Sites that will provide free testing.

Lastly, you can find answers to many of the frequently asked questions regarding testing and preparedness. Including What comes with the tests, when is recommended to use them, what to do if you get a positive or negative test, and much more. There will also be a phone number provided at a later date, so those without access to computers or high-speed internet can place orders.

We here at Sacramento Association of Health Underwriter, as industry-leading professionals, consider the health of our communities to be of utmost importance. We are strongly encouraging everyone to place the order for their household, that they may have the tests when needed. Should any individual find they are having trouble navigating or accessing the COVIDTests.gov website, they can feel free to contact SAHU directly at any time, and we will connect you with a local professional that can provide one-on-one help.

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For over 30 years, SAHU has worked to improve our members’ ability to meet the health, financial and retirement security needs of all Californians and Americans through education, advocacy, and professional development. For more information, please visit: sahu-ca.com.

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SAHU Newsletter | December 2021

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