This week we get to know Stacey Frost of Sutton Benefits & Pension. To learn more, visit their website.
What inspired you to join the benefits industry?
In March of 1998 just after the birth of my daughter, Hailey, my search for employment secured me a customer service position with a national First Nations Brokerage Firm. Little did I know that many years later the wonderful world of Employee Benefits would have become such a significant part of my life and my career. A more important question might be what inspired me to stay in the benefits industry? The people! For me, it’s been getting to work with our amazing clients. While employee benefits has a certain holistic preventative approach which I value deeply there continues to be so much that remains reactive. Working with employers, who view their employees as an extension of their family, through life events such as disability, critical illnesses, and death deepens those relationships and that level of trust that I value so dearly. Without them where would we be… and perhaps even worse without us where might they be. There is peace knowing that the care and attention we take with our clients to ensure that they have all the necessary coverage in place for their team when it really matters. They know we are with them every step of the way. This is that feeling that keeps me here.
Who is your mentor?
My mentors would definitely include my team members at Sutton. I couldn’t have asked for a better work-family to spend the better part of my days with. We have built an amazing team with shared values and a strong work ethic. If I were to choose one mentor it would be the one person I work most closely with, Andrea Hansen. She inspires me daily to simply be a better person. My volunteer spirit has led me in many different directions. My inability to say NO often landed me on more than a few roles on committees, boards, and fundraisers. My core group of friends most of whom I have met through these networking opportunities believe in me and are a tremendous support. I wish for everyone to be so lucky.
What is something that people do not know about you?
I am a science fiction geek! I’m no “tekky” by any means, but there is something fascinating about thinking outside the box. Dreaming about the possibilities and the what-if’s – however outlandish they are. Consider the technology changes we have seen in the benefits industry since 1998. I recall often spending my day filing statements, claims experience reports, renewals… in dozens of very large filing cabinets, and printing pages and pages for proposals. Today everything can be done electronically including signatures, meetings, claims, etc with an app for just about everything all at your fingertips. Just imagine what the Employee Benefits industry will be like in 2030!! Perhaps one day my daughter may say “beam me up Scotty” and take a trip to Ireland for the day. Why NOT!!!
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned in the business to date?
Change is inevitable and necessary for growth. Benefits are a moving target and if you don’t change with it, you will be left behind. The key is to learn to thrive on the adventure versus being afraid of it. Be an early adopter and if you are at the table, be present. Your opinion matters. You hear often “the client is always right” but sometimes they are not. Be bold and courageous. Have those difficult conversations and be confident that what might not feel right for them today, will be something they thank you for tomorrow. Be a better listener. Be real.
Do you have insights about the industry that you would like to share? Thoughts about the future of our Industry?
I see the advisor relationship becoming more and more important as the evolution in employee benefits continues. Keeping up with trends, benchmarking, and new product development is going to be key. With so many mergers and consolidations, the larger brokerage houses frankly lack personality. While they might cater to some in my experience relationships still matter and more than ever we have an opportunity to uniquely deepen those relationships with clients that really care about their total rewards strategy. Providing a significantly enhanced value proposition.
The Benefits Alliance Member Spotlight showcases our members across Canada who provide custom solutions for their clients Employee Benefits and Group Retirement.