When Sheila Stith was a girl, she always wanted to be a doctor. She couldn’t stop watching medical shows on TV and got excited about performing a dissection in lab class. Later, she realized her calling was still in the medical field, just in a different capacity.
Today, Stith has been in the health insurance industry for over 30 years, having had her own business, Stith & Associates Health Insurance Agency, Inc., for 13 years.
After a start in human resources and working for AAA Mid-Atlantic for 16 years, Stith found herself laid off and ready for a new opportunity. She landed a position at Aetna, starting in the call center then promoted to Medicare inside sales.
“Our department actually met our yearly goals six months early and Aetna rewarded us,” said Stith “By dissolving the inside sales department.”
Luckily, Aetna saw value in Stith’s sales potential and asked her to be the test person to launch their Captive Agent Program. Aetna gave her a quota to write 25 applications during an open enrollment period between November 15 and December 31 to determine the success of the program. She wrote 106.
“Needless to say, I had my own agency ever since,” said Stith. “I enjoy being able to help people navigate the maze of healthcare, and make critical decisions about their livelihood.”
Recounting a significant moment in her career, Stith described speaking with a customer who had medical needs but not enough money for insurance.
“I distinctly remember her crying on the phone that she would have to cut back on her meals to get the insurance she needed to get the medicine she needed to live,” said Stith. “That conversation has stayed with me and kept me in this business.”
For Stith, people should not have to choose between two essential human rights: Eating and medical insurance. That’s why she works to help people make decisions about their healthcare in the right way.
“Far too often I had clients whose records indicated their previous broker may have been more interested in the highest commission than what the customer actually needed,” said Stith. “And just knowing that keeps me doing this work so that I can support people in making good choices.”
This is the way Sheila Stith works.
I am physically located in Glenside, Pennsylvania. However, I am also licensed in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska, Mississippi, Alaska, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington D.C., Arizona, Massachusetts, Louisiana and the United Kingdom.
I am the CEO and President of Stith and Associates Health Insurance Agency, Inc.
One word that describes how you like to work.
Current mobile device:
Project(s) you’re currently working on:
I am currently making my business digital. I want client information to be readily accessible to not just the client, but his/her doctors. Thus, I am in the process of creating the electronic database for Stith and Associates Health Insurance Agency, Inc. I am also expanding my business and adding a financial consulting component. I have a world of knowledge that I can bestow onto others so people can make informed decisions or learn more about the field.
Accomplishment you’re proud of:
I started my own health insurance agency with my unemployment check of $564.00 and made it to achieving Million Dollar Round Table. Less than one percent of brokers internationally make it and I have done so several times. I am proud of that and that I was able to do so with the highest of ethical standards. I am also proud of being selected as the WIFS Tri-County 2018 Woman of the Year. My friends will tell you, I do this work as a service not an accolade, but it feels good to be acknowledged.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Besides my current projects of creating a consulting aspect to my business and going more green by creating an electronic database, I also want to expand in a couple more states.
Aside from your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
Does the Keurig count? I love coffee!
What do you like most about your job?
I thoroughly enjoy helping other people. But I also enjoy learning more about Medicare and all its different components. I am a Certified Senior Adviser and ensuring that I am abreast and aware of all the updates in Medicare to share with my seniors is important to me.
What are the top three apps you use on your phone?
Enrollment applications. I like to shop; Dress Barn and Bed Bath Beyond are definitely apps I use too.
Describe your workspace.
My workspace is organized but can be chaotic. The organization comes from me and my structure in ensuring things are consistently in the right places. It can get chaotic when clients wait until the last minute to complete their healthcare applications and my office has an additional rotation of people coming in all day; I still love them all though.
How do you manage your to-do list?
Even though my office is going digital, I still write everything down on an 11x17 piece of paper. I add items to the list daily and when I finish a task I add the date of completion next to it. William, my office manager, is also a tremendous aid and ensures everything that needs to be done, whether it made it to my to-do list or not, gets done.
How do you celebrate finishing a big project?
I always celebrate completions of big projects with team dinners! It was team effort and we deserve to acknowledge it together over some good eats.
What’s your best everyday habit?
While I want to say drinking coffee, I do not know if that is considered the “best” everyday habit. I will say per my business, I check the cash flow daily. Call it the financial savviness in me, but I find it to be a useful practice.
What do you listen to while working?
I enjoy listening to gospel music. It is equally inspiring and calming. If you come to my office you will likely hear Tremaine Hawking’s song Change in the rotation.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Tavis Smiley’s Fail Up – 20 Lessons Building Success from Failure.
How do you decompress?
A good action movie usually does the trick.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Doing what I do is enough to get me out of the bed each morning. I enjoy the field, I enjoy the work and I absolutely enjoy serving my clients. So it doesn’t feel like work.
What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office?
If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s getting a cup of coffee.
Who are your business idols and why?
I have two friends: Cindy Diccianni and Angie Ribuffo whom I absolutely admire. I am thoroughly impressed by the way each has transitioned from the medical field into the financial services industries but also how they have each brought their skills, discipline and strength to dominate in their current fields.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
Treat clients as if they were my own mother and father. I have this engrained into my brain and heart; it keeps me grounded on why I do this work the way I do it. I ensure that my parents have the best and I expect to ensure that other people’s parents have the best too.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Your first loss is your best loss” – my dad. To me, this means that the Lord may close one door for you only to open another. I believe in things happening for a reason and I accept any “losses” as wins.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
I would be a pediatrician. I absolutely love babies.
Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way post?
Jocelyn Wright. Jocelyn is a professor at the American College and has her own financial planning firm. She also encourages women to join the financial services industry which I think is important since this field is considered to be male dominated. Her commitment to see women succeed and her passion to help all people should be awarded.