Venus rising: These female brokers are reshaping the industry in their own image
August 20, 2021, 8:05 am
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This year’s Faces of Change panel at the Broker Expo featured an all-female lineup sharing their unique industry insights.

By Emily Payne | August 18, 2021 at 10:18 AM

The benefits industry has been increasingly struggling with a diversity issue as other industries embrace it. Thus, it seemed apt that this year’s Faces of Change panel at the BenefitsPRO Broker Expo featured an all-female lineup. Moderated by WellNet Healthcare’s Megan Chiarello, brokers Jessica Beames of BOK Financial Insurance, Stephanie Berger of Centered Insurance Solutions, Colleen Blum, Combs & Co., and Robyn Tikia of Risk Strategies Company were able to have a candid conversation about what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated field and how they’re forging a new path for others.

“It’s our job as females in our industry to tell younger generations that even though it is hard, it’s not as hard as it seems,” Blum said. “If we can find females who are good at talking to people and having organic conversations, you’re going to win business. It’s not as scary as we make it seem to be, as long as you have the work ethic.”

Related: What’s the good news, ladies? 5 years of highlighting women

Between discussions of alternative-funding strategies and marketing tips, attendees learned how each advisor’s career path had been shaped by being a woman. “When I started out, there was a consultant that had amazing self-funded experience,” Beames said. “He had all of this knowledge, and I had the privilege of working with him, and I would just sit in his office and pepper him with questions. Hearing that information that seemed meaningless to him helped me in a meeting with a client or a prospect.

“That was not an easy mentorship to build,” Beames added, due to the hesitancy many older men have about the optics of spending too much time with a younger woman–even a colleague. “Feel comfortable meeting with your female colleagues regardless of their age. The simple fact is that there are many more men in this industry than women, and there is so much we can learn from you and we want to. Give us the opp and a safe place to do that.”

The panelists also had some tips for current female advisors shaping new recruits. “From a mentorship perspective, it’s important to teach assertiveness, persistence, resilience–and, truthfully, working harder than your male counterpart,” Tikia said. “Women really have to face a lot of isolation in this industry. But we’re also creative, out-of-the-box thinkers.”

Whether we want to admit it or not, there are some innate differences between the way men and women approach business–ones that female advisors can play to their advantage. “We’re more nurturing with those relationships,” Tikia said. “We’re also able to be more technical whereas men come across as more salesy.”

Berger stressed how important simply listening to a client is. “Sometimes it’s best to not even open the presentation and just ask, if we’re in the room, there’s a reason. What is it?”

Blum agreed that it’s important for female advisors to play to their strengths, rather than mimicking their predecessors. “If we can come to the table with a different perspective, we can change the dynamic of this industry,” she said. “It’s mostly HR that is talking to us. They can have a deeper conversation with us. Our clients know that at the end of the day we’re going to have their back.”


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Tenacious Tuesday with Tara Faquir

Your Skills Are Transferable:

There is a common trend in some incredible successful women these days, they tend to start in one industry – build some serious life skills & then are able to pivot into a totally different unrelated field that they never thought they’d end up in. 

Today’s guest Tara Faquir Co-Founder of Trustate sits down with us to tell us all about her journey from her widely successful, exciting retail life at Nordstrom & Rent The Runway which led to a huge pivot into a little non-profit called Girl Scouts & landed her right to where she is at today – running a remarkably untouched industry with her best friend whom she met during a college transition. 

Tara, like all of our guests defines unstoppable. She knows her strength & more importantly when it’s time to pivot to her next challenge. Listen along as she shares her journey & teaches us how although we may not see it now but our skills are incredibly transferrable if we just took some time to look harder into our day to days.

Check out Tara on LinkedIn and

Click here to listen to the lastest episode!

Tenacious Tuesday with Gretta Zutz

Fertility Isn’t A Dirty Word – How Opening Up About It Changed Everything

Fertility is a hush hush topic that unless you’re in it, many don’t understand. Time to shake that up.

Gretta Zutz sits down with us today to share her journey, how opening up about her story changed everything for her and her family and how she is now dedicated to implementing fertility in her financial services practice in order to support her clients & friends.   If you’d like to have a conversation with Gretta about support groups, any doctors she used etc., feel free to connect with Gretta directly on LinkedIn by clicking HERE!

To connect with the Try & Stop Me Podcast host, Colleen Blum, click HERE!

Tenacious Tuesday with Lester Morales

Choose Your Own Adventure With Guest Lester Morales

“Take the next step or choose to let it cripple you.” The wise words from the incredibly impactful man himself, Lester Morales is our next guest.

  Lester is no newbie to the game of a go-getter. After many years as a super successful sales leader, he took a good look around and knew there was a bigger impact to be made in his industry & more importantly his life. With the help of wise words from his mom and a strong belief in himself, he chose to take the leap of faith and opened the doors of Next Impact, LLC. 

What happened would be enough to knock many others of course, still after major hits he has proven to never back down and is as successful as ever running a now 7 figure business he gets to call his own.

 Lester’s journey is a true definition that you don’t get to choose the cards you’re dealt on the journey in life, what you do get to choose is how you move forward to make an impact from that.

 Connect with Lester on LinkedIn 

Instagram: @collblum & @tryandstopmepodcast

Tenacious Tuesday with Christina Passmore
April 20, 2021, 10:26 am
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Check out the latest episode of the “Try and Stop Me” Podcast! Learn about Christina Passmore’s inspirational journey as Colleen Blum talks to her about travle, beauty and when she realized: “I Can Kinda Write”

Flight Attendant, Beauty Brand Amazon Seller turned Successful Copywriting Business CEO

Christina Passmore travels the world as a seasoned flight attendant for a large Canadian Airline, during some big life changes she set out to make some side money and dove into the Amazon world where she she quickly gained good traction in becoming a Beauty Brand Amazon Seller. She was still paying the bills with the airline salary while building her Amazon business all until COVID hit and travel came to a screeching halt. Christina knew she needed to pivot quickly so she teamed up with a mentor of hers where she was asked the question I’m sure we’d ALL dread:

What are you good at?

Who can honestly answer that?! + Add a meaningfully response, when you’re already feeling down? Not many of us.

Christina’s response: “Well I can Kinda write”.

Listen in as she shares her journey & how that “kinda” turned into on going success and continued future dreams. She even drops in some pointers for anyone looking to get started in the e-commerce space. 

Give her a follow on IG @copybychristina

Now Available on your Favorite Podcast Platform

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Tenacious Tuesday with Kristin Andree
March 23, 2021, 7:52 am
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YOU’RE NOT FOR EVERYONE with Guest Kristin Andree

“Have you ever felt you spend so much time living your life, that you forget to enjoy it? 

That the place you find yourself in seems almost unrecognizable, leaving you to wonder, how did I get here?”

Our next guest, Kristin Andree is helping us get right down into it!

Kristin is an Author, Speaker, Business Coach and Podcast Host. 

Today’s episode we are diving deep into her new book “You’re Not For Everyone, But You Can Be For Everyone.” 

Like the episode? Be sure to grab the book on Amazon.

Kristin Andree Contact:


LinkedIn: Kristin Andree

Instagram: @andreegroup

Feature Friday with Colleen Blum
March 5, 2021, 4:17 am
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“Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.” Georgia O’Keeffe

Episode 2021:9

Je ne sais quoi… an indescribable quality that makes someone or something so appealing.  The “it” factor.  It’s elusive, can’t be taught, but you know it when you see/hear/taste/smell/feel it.

As you’ll learn pretty quick during the next episode of Did You Know That?, Colleen Blum has all the “it” qualities you can envision.  But she is where she is today because those qualities aren’t idle; she has put them to work for the last decade to reach a point of daily happiness.  That is an accomplishment worth talking about, which we do.

Join us for a fun, engaging conversation and then go check out Colleen’s own podcast, “Try And Stop Me” (both on podcast platforms & YouTube), and other online accounts.

Try And Stop Me (YouTube):


Instagram: tryandstopmepodcast

Combs & Company:

Music: “You Can’t Stop Me” by RocknStock via Artlist

#perseverance #ambition #drive #courage #tryandstopmepodcast #didyouknowthat #indulgeyourcuriosity #youtubechannel

Changing The Provider Experience with Guest Bryan Cush

Bryan Cush, Co-Founder of Tidal Health Group is on a mission to change the way consumers find providers. 

Backed with a strong purpose and the courage to try, he and his team are tackling the large task at hand. 

Listen along as Bryan shares a bit on his background, the company’s mission and some key valuable lessons he’s learned along the way so far.

You can Click Here to check out the podcast on Apple Podcasts!

Tenacious Tuesday with Rob Pecha
February 9, 2021, 4:39 am
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Check out the latest episode of the Try & Stop Me Podcast with host, Colleen Blum.

Lessons In The Redirection

Rob Pecha dreamed about fighting for his country but after 2 years of training he was told he could no longer continue.

Listen along as he sits down to tell us all about the lessons he was able to take from those day and turn them into motivation still to this day in his life and career.

Tenacious Tuesday with Petia Abdur-Razzaaq
January 26, 2021, 6:09 am
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Influencing The Brands with Guest Petia Abdur-Razzaaq

Host: Colleen Blum

How many times have we’ve seen big brands just miss the mark?

Petia Abdur-Razzaaq, Founder of the Stylista Group is a top marketing strategist and tackling just that. She has teamed up with powerful females to flip the script on this problem. Listen how she shares her journey which has lead her to co-creating “Mosaic Mommies”.

Mosaic Mommies is a community of multi-ethnic moms and micro-influencers who share information about their favorite everyday products and services.

Their mission is to become the one-stop destination for mom influencers of all cultural backgrounds to connect, learn and nurture their unique needs.

Influencing the brands by branding through influencers.

Check Petia out at:

LinkedIn or at The Stylista Group

Don’t have time to watch and want to listen on your way to work? Click Here to list at Apple Podcasts!