“Insurance Agent just wasn’t cutting it for me,” said Ashley Fitzsimmons of Fitzsimmons Insurance Agency. “I wanted something attention grabbing. I wanted something that said: I’m taking this industry to the next level and I’m not afraid to let people know I love it.”
Thus, the Beyoncé of Insurance brand was created.
“When I say: Sexy, exciting, rewarding, challenging, what’s the first industry you think of?” said Fitzsimmons. “Not insurance. We need to shed the ‘pale, male and stale’ title!”
Fitzsimmons found her way into industry through a path many agents relate to: Family.
“I’m fourth generation,” said Fitzsimmons. “Had you asked me during college if I’d ever go into the family business, my answer was always no.”
Today, Fitzsimmons is grateful her family talked her into giving insurance a try. They told her starting out wouldn’t be easy. But there’s nothing Fitzsimmons loves more than a challenge. She made a point to cultivate relationships and soak up as much knowledge as she could to gain client trust.
She recalls witnessing her first total loss, which was the moment she realized she could truly make a difference in people’s lives.
“I cringe when I see fire trucks driving by our office,” said Fitzsimmons. “And on this particular day, there were a lot.”
It was during hunting season and the weather was rainy. After determining the fire’s location was a client’s cabin, Fitzsimmons immediately drove out. All that remained was a wood stove in the middle of the pile of ash.
“Although I couldn’t magically fix everything with a wave of my hand,” said Fitzsimmons. “I was able to stand with my client and let him know I was here to help. He still tells people about that day, and how by simply caring and doing what I would have wanted someone to do for me, it made the situation better.”
When asked what she loves most about the industry, Fitzsimmons says although being able to educate her clients is gratifying, she also enjoys her peer group of fellow agents that have become like family.
“I have met so many incredible individuals in this industry,” said Fitzsimmons. “Not all superheroes wear capes. Some wear high heels, dragon leggings, goddess costumes, crazy socks or drive really awesome blacked out Wranglers. But what all of these superheroes have in common is their love and passion for the industry and each other.”
This is the way Ashley Fitzsimmons works.
Forest City, Pennsylvania – I’m about 25 miles north of Scranton, PA, and of course, I’m a fan of The Office!
Beyoncé of Insurance – Wearing heels and closing deals.
One word that describes how you like to work:
Creatively. Connect with me on LinkedIn and ask me what I mean…
Current mobile device:
13” MacBook Air
Project(s) you’re currently working on:
I’m actually currently working on writing a book – but I don’t want to give anything away just yet!
Accomplishments you’re proud of:
The last year and a half has really been incredible. I’ve been asked to speak at multiple conferences, including Gary Vaynerchuk’s Agent 2021 this past January in Miami as well as Elevate in Cleveland this past June. But the most recent exciting accomplishment was finding out last week that I’m 2018’s National Outstanding CSR of the Year. It still hasn’t set in that I’ve won this amazing award yet!
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Implementing new processes/systems to help streamline agency workflow and client touches. Rather than typing out long emails when following up on quotes or claims, I’ve created images using Canva and send that out instead both via text and email. I’ve had great responses to it. I’ve also embedded Calendly into our agency website to direct clients to choose the best availability times for them instead of playing phone tag. These are such simple yet effective things that everyone can do!
What are your biggest professional challenges?
Definitely balancing everything. I’d like to think I’m a pretty great multitasker and organizer. But no matter how good you are, you can’t do it all. Sometimes I take on took much and find myself overwhelmed. It’s important to recognize when this is happening and simply slow down.
What do you like most about your job?
There is nothing better than when a client genuinely thanks you. That is the best feeling in the world. Some write thank you notes and some simply look you in the eye and say, “Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this to me, I feel like I understand it for once.” Their gratitude is priceless.
Aside from your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
It’s not necessarily a gadget. I ALWAYS have a notebook or a notepad on me. I carry a notebook around with me and jot down ideas or quotes or just random thoughts as they come to me. If I don’t do it right when I’m thinking of it – they’re gone!
What are the top three apps you use on your phone?
Instagram, Pinterest and the TouchTunes/AMI app. Want to mess with someone? When your friend is standing at the TouchTunes Machine picking out songs, open up the app on your phone and pay extra to override their song with something like “Kiss From a Rose” and watch their face as they scan the bar to see who thinks they played it.
Describe your workspace.
Minimal. I’m currently on a minimalist kick. Clutter is the enemy and I try my best to leave my desk at night organized and clear. It starts my morning off right the next day!
How do you manage your to-do list?
Pick your daily top three. Don’t try and conquer the world. Giving yourself smaller daily goals to achieve will help you be more successful.
What’s your best time-saving tip or hack?
The way you communicate with clients can save you a ton of time. When’s the last time you ACTUALLY listened to a voicemail on your phone? How many times has a client called back and said ‘I saw you called, I didn’t listen to the message, though’. I’ve learned giving clients the option of texting me or utilizing the chat feature on our website will save a TON of time. No phone tag. No drawn out conversations. Straight and to the point – appreciated by your clients just as much!
What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office?
While I’m firing the system up, I sit down and make a list for the day of what I need to accomplish. I’m a very visual person – I have a notepad I do this on daily and I cross things off as I go. After I finish writing out the list, I highlight the three most important things that need to be completed before I leave. Having a top three helps keep me focused and makes the list seem less intimidating.
What do you listen to while working?
Boring, I know – but just the local radio station. Not everyone loves Africa by Toto as much as I do…I think the aggressive transitions on my iPhone from Annie Lennox to Drake would be frowned upon.
What are you currently reading?
I have a tendency to read multiple books at one time. Currently, I’m going through The Four Hour Work Week, Unf*ck Yourself and Mindhacking. I will say, though, that this year so far, my favorite book has been The Power of Moments. I would highly suggest everyone to add that to their list!
What’s your favorite blog and/or podcast?
My all-time favorite podcast was season one of Serial. I started listening to that and couldn’t stop. Anything true-crime related really grabs my attention. And for those of you who know what I’m talking about… I don’t think he did it.
Coffee or tea?
Completely depends on my mood. Right now I’m on a big green tea and honey kick. Some days I skip them both and start the morning out with a mixture of water, Himalayan Pink Salt and lemon thanks to my good friend, Woody Brown.
What are you watching on Netflix right now?
Season Two of Ozark
How do you decompress?
I love the outdoors and I love the water. A lot of this summer has been spent on one of two lakes in our area. Kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, you name it. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting at Lake Wallenpaupack watching the sun set!
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Lately, the jaws of life…
Who are your business idols and why?
Everyone in the #5amclubins. Every person in that group is incredible in their own, individual ways. They pick goals, hold each other accountable and crush them. And the best part about it is I get to call them all my friends.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
You’ll never be caught up. This sounds depressing, I know. But it’s true. I was stressing one night a few years ago about how much work was piling up. I remember my grandfather looking at me, smiling (which of course got me fired up) and he simply said ‘take a deep breath and go home. I learned a long time ago that you’ll never fully be caught up.’ There’s always going to be filing to do or an account to quote. Don’t stress. Keep pushing through!
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
I don’t think I would switch jobs – I would create a mega agency/consulting firm with all of my favorite insurance agents!
Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way post?
Meg Ashmead Pacella of Ashmead Insurance Associates