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April Is National Financial Literacy Month

40 min read

Discovering and Rediscovering Your Economic Vitality

By NAIFA on 3/15/24 3:53 PM

Topics: Podcast
Jill Judd-1

Jill Judd is a distinguished Life Underwriting Training Council Fellow (LUTCF), Financial Services Specialist (FSS), and Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) with extensive experience in the insurance industry. Her professional mission is to provide individuals with the necessary tools and resources to manage the risks of everyday life, recover from unexpected events, and achieve their aspirations. Jill's expertise in the field has also led her to serve as a past President of NAIFA.

Before her career in financial services, Jill was an accomplished marketer who ran an advertising and marketing firm. Today, she leverages her knowledge and skills in the insurance industry to help clients navigate complex financial situations and make informed decisions about their future.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Jill Judd shares her background in marketing
  • How Jill entered the financial services industry 
  • Advice for navigating technological advancements as a new advisor
  • The role of sports in Jill’s career trajectory
  • How to thrive as a woman in the financial services industry
  • Discovering economic vitality through insurance 
  • Techniques for becoming a respected leader in the financial services industry
  • Is it possible to be creative in the financial services business? 
  • Jill’s involvement with NAIFA

In this episode…

Financial services is a male-dominated industry, often making it difficult for women to advance to leadership positions and achieve career growth. If you’re navigating this space for the first time, how can you establish yourself as an authoritative force and advocate for your clients’ economic vitality?

As a sports professional turned insurance provider, Jill Judd possesses the tenacity and leadership acumen needed to carve a path for herself in the industry. She notes that women are skilled multitaskers with a keen sense of emotional intelligence. This allows them to connect with their clients and position themselves as risk advisors to impact clients’ financial futures. By discovering your unique place in the industry, you can achieve economic and financial vitaly that extends to your customers. 

In this episode of Advisor Today, Chris Gandy and Suzanne Carawan sit down with Jill Judd, a LUTCF, FSS, and RICP, to discuss how women can discover their economic vitality in the insurance industry. Jill shares how she got into the financial services industry, the role of sports in the success of her career, how to thrive as a woman in the financial services industry, discovering economic vitality through insurance, and techniques for becoming a great leader.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, or NAIFA, the #1 association for producers in financial services.

At NAIFA, we enhance professional skills, promote ethical conduct, and advocate for legislative and regulatory environments.

By joining NAIFA, you gain access to a partnership that elevates your performance while providing greater purpose to your professional work. NAIFA members are happier, make more money, and stay in the business longer.

Get in touch with NAIFA and learn more about how to join NAIFA by visiting NAIFA.org.

Episode TranscripT

Intro 0:02 

Welcome to NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series, where we focus on how financial advisors work, live and give to their local communities and our greater financial services industry. Now, let's get started with the show.

Chris Gandy 0:20

Hi, everyone, welcome to Advisors Today's podcast where we feature the top minds in the financial services industry and brought to you by wonderful NAIFA. And we're here with our wonderful co-host, Suzanne Carawan. Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne Carawan 0:35 

Hey, Chris.

Chris Gandy 0:36 

So good to see you.

Suzanne Carawan 0:38 

Good to see you, too.

Chris Gandy 0:41 

So Suzanne, before we get going today with our wonderful guests, would you be so kind to tell us who are sponsors for today is?

Suzanne Carawan 0:47 

Sure, and we'd be happy to. So back in q4, we underwent a transition to include the Society of financial service professionals into the NAIFA family, and they are now our professional development arm and under that arm, we have recently re-released the life underwriting training certified fellowship the LUTCF course. And we are now actively enrolling people within that also have a new mentor component in there. And our guest happens to hold the LUTCF. So we might get into that a little bit. But this episode is sponsored by FSPs LUTCF program.

Chris Gandy 1:23 

Wonderful Suzanne, would you also since you're so kind, would you be so kind to introduce today's guest.

Suzanne Carawan 1:29 

I would be delighted to. So I'm happy to introduce Jill Judd. She's one of our past National Presidents of NAIFA. She has been an illustrious figure. And I was happy enough when I came into NAIFAA was probably the first person I really worked with from a volunteer leadership level. I'm sure Jill can run her background, but Jill is a State Farm Agency owner and holds the LUTCF and the FSS is that right Jill?

Jill Judd 1:55 

That's correct. And a couple more.

Suzanne Carawan 1:58 

And a couple more. Yeah, of course you all have. And Jill is coming to us from California, also an athlete and Jill has been instrumental and giving me a lot of good mindset tips over the years. So happy to have you Jill.

Jill Judd 2:13 

I am so happy to be here. Hi, Suzanne, Chris, nice to be here.

Chris Gandy 2:17 

So Jill, we started this podcast almost two years. I mean, it's been a long time, since almost two years when we've had very few, let's call it presidential. Let's call it presidential people on our podcast. So thank you so much for number one, the service that you've given to the industry. And thank you so much for leading from the front, in everything you do. So with that being said, I'm sure there's questions that people have about kind of who you are and how you got started. So would you share with us a little bit about how you ended up in the financial services industry? Like how did you end up doing this? Because I'm sure there was a lot of things you could have done? Right? How did you?

Jill Judd 3:05 

Yeah, in fact, there were a lot of things I did do. This was not the direction of course. When I was 20, I knew I wanted to have my own business. And I started an advertising and marketing firm. And I did that because I really wanted to have time and flexibility with my daughter. And I just knew that being out there and making things happen was where I wanted to be in the world. And I did that for 15 years. And what's really funny, I was thinking about technology today. And it sort of took me back to how the art world changed. And when I started in advertising, we were doing things by hand, we were doing press type, and were on a drawing board. And we were setting type on a long strip machine. And 15 years progressed, and the technology really took off. And this was right about the time where PageMaker came in. And some of those other pretty, pretty powerful software tools. And I knew I didn't want to be on a computer. I wanted to be hands on the project. So I was looking for something else to do and I went back to school, Chris. I'd always wanted to get my fine arts degree. And I went back and studied art history and fine art. And when I got out of school, I was thinking okay, well what do you do with all of this now? And I was still leaning toward the marketing piece. That was something that was always really interesting to me, but how do I get away from the marketing? Well, you can't, let's just put it out there, and Suzanne knows this, you can never get away from the marketing. But my husband is a State Farm agent. He's a 50 year agent right now with State Farm. And he said look, you're right between things. You're trying to figure out where you want to go. Come on over and I'll take you to lunch. And I was in his office, his State Farm office, and the phone started ringing. And I naturally had phones ringing, I picked it up, and I just made my way through the day. And at the end of the day, I said, you never really told me you get to connect with people in such a real way. And this is amazing. And he said, hey, come back tomorrow, and I'll take you to lunch again. So this went on for about a week. And by the end of the week, I was telling him, have you thought about doing this sort of marketing piece and me you thought about reaching out to your clients, and spreading it out and maybe doing some pivoting, and he looked at me, and he said, look, go get your own. So that's how I started, I went right to State Farm and I said, I am ready to look into this opportunity. And they loved the background, the marketing, I've always been a knock on doors, pick up the phone kind of person, that's never bothered me at all. And that's how I found my way to get to State Farm. And how I found my way to NAIFA. And I just want to tag this in because it was so closely aligned, because it happened right when I started, I knew I did not have a background in insurance nor financial services. And there was an advertisement in the paper tells you how long ago that was because we don't really even have those anymore. But they said there's a NAIFA meeting going on down the street, if you're a professional insurance or financial advisor, you should be here. And I said to myself, you know nothing about this industry go hang out with people who know about this industry. And that was right when I started after I you know, I opened my doors to this office. And I'm still here 25 years later loving life every day.

Chris Gandy 6:40 

So in some what the industry kind of chose you, but you really kind of chose the industry too. So let's go a little bit further. So obviously, it took a period of time for you to start. It's not just you wake up one day, and the phone rings off the hook. Right? So it took you a period of time to start. We have a lot of new advisors out there, if you were starting in today's times, knowing with your marketing background, what would be the best way for a new advisor to start or some people that have been in the business a while they need to restart? To shut it down, restart and do it over again? So I think we could always learn something from a marketing mine of how would you start today, with technology moving as fast as it's moving?

Jill Judd 7:27 

Yeah, and you just said the magic word right there. And it's technology, you have to embrace the technology, because it allows you to scale your business, it allows you to build efficiencies you could never build before, you know, when we were doing things out of rate books. And on microfiche, these are mechanisms that worked for the time are right now when I look at something like the client management systems we have that kind of allow you to really dig into your statistics and figure out what you're doing, what your team is doing, how you're doing it, what opportunities you're missing. I think embracing technology right out of the gate is really critical. But the other piece is more of an emotional side. And Chris, I'm a real believer in positive self-talk and showing up and expecting the best of yourself. And I think what really throws people when they first get into this industry is an expectation. It's not a realistic expectation. They might look at someone like you and say, I want that success. And I'd like that today. And rather than giving yourself a bit of a runway and saying, hey, I'm in this and I'm in this for the long haul, I'm going to do what it takes. I mean, when I was in high school, I worked for my dad and he was a bricklayer, I worked for him as a HOD carrier. So just to give you an idea for people who don't know what that is, I would mix the mud and carry the bricks to him. And if I didn't have them there on time, we were losing precious moments of getting the bricks laid. And the cement was hardening. And it was a timing issue. So it was always about show up on time be there make the thing happened and anticipating the need. So as a new advisor, you've got to anticipate your own need. And part of it is going to be a sacrifice of time. And that's okay. So just let people around you know, I can remember being in this office till two or three o'clock in the morning, and I didn't feel bad about it. My family knew I took a break we went had dinner, we might have done some other things in between time. But I knew that the joy and the fun was creating the business. You're creating this thing, and it takes a diligent effort. I think people, it's sort of unfortunate that there is, sometimes I think people just want the good stuff right away without the sacrifice and the sacrifice is the joyful part. That's what really binds you to the business and to the people that you have, you gave some things up to have this. So then when you're sitting back, and Suzanne and I were talking of, just prior to the podcast about walking on the beach, I'm on the beach every day, I can do that. Now, I can do that. Now, because I sacrifice the time, in the first couple of years. That's really important, you've got to give up some things.

Chris Gandy 10:34 

So the beach, huh, that's kind of nice, walk on the beach and thinking about your business. I mean, that's, that's how they paint the picture. When you start off in the business, the paint, the picture is painted that you will be this one day. But what they don't tell you is that all the repetition, and the disciplines necessary for you to accomplish that is something to behold. So Suzanne mentioned the fact and again, you've had a pretty good background connecting in the sports world, right. And so Suzanne talked a little bit about that we you tell us kind of a little bit about your background, how it connects to sports and, and perhaps how sports and the discipline and mental discipline when training potentially helped you specifically in the industry like ours?

Jill Judd 11:29 

Absolutely, I was raised with three brothers. So I almost don't need to say much more than that. But when you get your butt kicked by three brothers, you really learn how to find your way on the field or on the track or on the court. And I am so thrilled that I was raised with these tough boys because I just really learned how to find my own grit, and find my strength in my physical strength. And I think for a young girl, at the time I was growing up having physical strength and ability wasn't as celebrated as it is now. But in my family it was, so we never really thought twice about it, which was pretty nice. I did it all I played all the sports, softball, basketball, volleyball track, track is what I loved the most. And when I got, I'm going to just sort of fast forward because I played through school, I didn't go to college right out of high school. So I can't talk about college ball or anything I played there. But when I started this business, because and I'm going to take this back to the marketing piece, I understand that you've got to find your way around other people, new people, fresh people, fresh faces, who you haven't talked to before, that's part of it. So what I started doing was volunteering and participating in activities that got me around new people. And an example would be I started coaching with team in training, I did nine seasons with them. So we're not only raising money for cancer for kids leukemia and lymphoma, but I was also coaching people, how to be a better athlete, how to run a marathon, how to do a triathlon, and things of that nature. And so I got the coaching piece, I got the athletic piece, because I could show up for the races and do my own race. But then I also was finding all these new connections for people who are now my customers. And I didn't go up to them and say, hey, I'm in insurance, and you should be my person, or I should be your person, you should be my customer. We just connected and they saw the kind of person I was. And that's what I think was really important. I spent three, five, 36 years doing triathlon up through the Ironman distance. And anytime you're doing a endurance sport, so Ironman is a pretty long event. You're out there all day, and I'm not a front of the pack person. I'm a mid-pack, kind of making my way through it. And I had a couple of professional coaches who are still friends of mine today. And they used to say, I might be, they would say I might be done in nine hours with this Ironman Triathlon. But for you people who are out there for 10, 12, 14 hours, we as professionals can't even understand how you have the fortitude to do that. They couldn't do that as what they tell you. Of course, we're looking at the other side and saying trust me, if I could get it done in nine hours, maybe I would do it. But I can't. So it's really about taking it one mile at a time, one step at a time. And the funny thing is, the longer the race, the shorter that distance gets. And for me by the end of an Ironman, I'm on the run. We're now finishing this race this all day race with a marathon. It went from you can do anything for three miles to you can do anything for one mile to look, just three minutes on the clock, and then another three minutes. And then it was one step at a time. And so you find yourself you sort of got this big broad view that you sort of started dialing it down. But that's really what this is. This business is not a sprint, we're gonna have sprinting moments, I'm in property and casualty. So, you know, when the wildfires hit for California, that's a sprinting moment, we've got to be on the phone and with our customers and out on the field and helping with claims, that's a sprint. But if you want to be in it for the long haul, it's a marathon. It's you got to get your miles in, you got to get your calls in. You've got to do it over a longer period of time, and have an expectation that if you don't do the work, the results won't come.

Chris Gandy 15:50 

You mentioned the Ironman bike swim or the marathon? Which part is harder?

Jill Judd 15:59 

Yeah. Well, it depends on where you come from. Honestly, it's funny, I come from a running background and the marathon seem to be harder for me. Maybe it's a body type thing. I'm not really sure. I can tell you. The swim for me is just majestic. And I didn't come from a swimming world. There's something so beautiful about being an open water. I'll tell you about one of the last Ironman races I did up in Lake Tahoe. It snowed the night before Lake Tahoe is up in the Sierra of California, the water was probably they think maybe 50, 47 degrees. It was cold. There was cold. Yeah, cold tub. Yeah. And we're standing on the beach and all the athletes line up and take off at the same time. And you could look down one side, and you could look down the other and you knew everybody there who was toeing the line did what they needed to do to show up, you get in the water. And you're looking out at snow covered mountains, and the steam coming off of this water. And you know you're in it for 2.4 miles on it for a while, right. But you keep every time you're taking a stroke and looking and catching the snow on the mountain. So you're thinking, wow, I am so lucky to be here. This is beautiful. The bike for me is the easiest. I love cycling, I've got good legs. And I love hilly courses. I love doing that sort of grinding work. That's really fun. But I'm going to say the marathon is the toughest for me for a light, lean, super chill runner. It's probably not that difficult. But yeah, so I'm gonna hold firm to that one.

Chris Gandy 17:47 

So when you think about the Ironman, you mentioned how you compartmentalize and segment the pieces so that you can accomplish the things necessary. What's next. Right? And so when you think about our business, I'm going to kind of take that and now go back to this is women's it's the women's Appreciation Month. I know it's women's what is it? Just? Okay. So I have a question. And the question is one that you can answer from being in different roles? How does the fortitude for the Ironman help you with this business when it's predominantly dominated by 90% men? And then what would you say to the young women advisors out there, who I said before, even on a stage I said they are the future of what financial services is you look at the statistical data, whether it's on the sales side, and or the client side? Numerous reasons, one, we don't live as long and two is we make bad decisions. So and that's statistical data. It is what it is. So when we start to break that down, though, there's parallels there that I think seem to me like they would help you. But I can't speak for you because I've never walked in your shoes. So can you share with us that journey of kind of preparation and how the fortitude has helped you navigate a space that predominantly hasn't been navigated either ever before or new? And how you were able to utilize those skills you learned?

Jill Judd 19:41 

Yeah. I find this to be one of the most interesting parts of this industry, in that it can be a fit for anyone. So I just want to let you know that coming at this first with that perspective says you can find your passion Lace, male, female or other, whatever it is you want to do in this world, in the financial services and insurance world, you can actually you can find a space to exist. I think for me, maybe sport wasn't the piece that determined whether or not I could handle this business. Although, having the tenacity to get through a difficult challenge, like a race is really a key, it's a key component. But you can find tenacity in a lot of other ways. So I don't think you necessarily have to come from there. And I'm not saying that that's what's being intimated. I think for women, because women are keenly skilled at multitasking, and keenly aware of emotional intelligence and emotional components of other people, men too, but it functions a little differently. And I can honestly say, my only, oh, if I were to have taken a survey, I can say, my husband, who's a 50 year agent and a male in a male dominated industry, we talk about this all the time, how is it different for him? Well, the runway was set, it was pretty easy. Just come on and do the things and we'll give you a leg up. As a woman, you sort of have to find where you're going to fit. And you've got to in some ways, I hate to say this, but tolerate some of those moments that are cringe worthy, and there are, there will be your, oh gosh, have we not evolved beyond this yet, are we still talking like that. So that does happen. But in some way, you've got to keep the focus on the fact that once you get your footing in this industry, all bets are off. For a woman, it allows you time for your family, time for yourself, intellectual stimulation, if you become one of those women who most typically are the caretakers of the children, and the caretakers of the parent, surprisingly, you'll have economic vitality, that will allow you to find your way between those two worlds, it will allow you a time, you can come into your office in the morning, you can leave and go take care of your parents who need additional care. I wish it were different, it would be really great if we had a 5050 split and men were taking care of you know, the mom and the daughter was taking care of the mom as well, that sort of thing. But that's not what I see. So that's okay. That's okay, this industry from provides such an incredible space and opportunity for a woman to exist, to feel powerful, to feel nurturing, to have an impact on people. And I think for women that's important. For men, and I hope this doesn't sound like I'm sort of putting us both in these separate worlds because I don't mean it that way. But I think for men, it's about finding purpose. And for women, it's really about finding connection. And I keep sort of leaning over looking as if I have a client sitting here, I'm thinking or everyone that comes in my office, I get an opportunity to have an impact on their future, their current life, their children, their parents, their finances, how they're going to navigate when something really bad happens. That just feels like such an incredible role to me. Yeah, the sport was just a jumping off point for me really, and really taught me how to be focused, how to suffer. I've suffered trust me, when I was doing long distance trail races and losing toenails and bleeding feet and discussing things that people don't typically want to talk about. You just forged ahead because you knew the goal. And that's what this is about you forge ahead know the goal or as most people say, no, no, your why are you here? Why do you want to do this? And selfishly go after it. Go after that thing because you deserve to have it.

Suzanne Carawan 24:40 

So Jill. I have a question. So I love the phrase he used economic vitality. So when you're sitting down, can you talk to us a little bit when you're one building rapport with your clients, you have any tips on how to do that faster, but do you bring that concept up about economic vitality, like it sounds to me like you're setting that goal with the end in mind, begin with the end in mind, kind of an idea, with the clients about get to this economic vitality part, which I love. That's even more exciting to me than like financial security. Because it's the vitality, and how are you getting that? How are you setting that in their head?

Jill Judd 25:13 

So this is going to track with a an earlier comment about, I got to think about what the alert earlier comment was, oh, come to me in a second. But I'm recreating yourself. Right. Chris, you had mentioned something about sort of recreating, let me tell you what happened in California and I'm gonna get to economic vitality because this is the lead in, in California in the last three years, we've had massive wildfires, flooding, just some crazy, crazy storm situations. And last, almost a year ago, now not quite a year, most of the insurance companies we're talking big name insurance companies, farmers all state, people you know, pulled out of the insurance market in California, will State Farm didn't at that time, we were holding fast. But what was really great was our phone was ringing off the hook. People were getting cancelled left and right. And they were calling we're like, oh, this is great. Yeah, this is like the fish were jumping in the boat. So we were loving life. And then State Farm said, We've got to stop writing fire business. Oh, whoa, hold on a second. Okay, well, as anyone who's already in this business knows about the residuals. So we're lucky, we've got a income flow. And that's cool. But what we decided was we wanted this year to look different, how can we recreate who we are and what we do for our customers, because there is no telling how long we'll have this moratorium on fire business. And for those not in property and casualty, fire business is inclusive of homeowners, renters, condominium, condo owners, business owners, personal liability, umbrella policies, personal articles. So it's like a pretty big amount of things that we can no longer write. So we decided, let's recreate who we are to our customers, this is going to allow us to reach out to every single one of them in light of the things that are happening in the state. So we decided we were going to position ourselves rather than as your property and casualty agent, we are going to position ourselves truly as your risk advisor. And I'm not saying we didn't think about it that way before, but we were very deliberate about and this was with my team, we decided, can we do this? Can we reposition ourselves to become life insurance agents? Okay, that was a big deal for us, because we were writing a lot of life insurance. Quite frankly, we didn't need to. Okay. So we decide, okay, can we do this? We're now in March. We're just a couple days into March, my birthday month, by the way, in case anyone cares wants to send a card. And Cindy in my office went off and got life license boom got it done. While she's in school and working. Here. We have, let's see, since January one I personally have met with over 75 customers to reposition and talk about things from the position you mentioned, Suzanne, which is economic vitality, that becomes more inclusive. Now. It's not just talking about how do we take care of you if the bad thing happens, right? You know, if your house burns down, if your kid crashes the car, we're now being not only expansive, in our own mentality of who we are, but we're now telling our customers, this is a different office. And we're inviting you in because we want to share with you how we are a different office. And there. We'd love to come in, we'd love to absolutely, we'll come in and I'm thinking, oh, this is cool. Because we were kind of, we were sort of on autopilot. I'm going to put it out there because this happens mid-career, the checks keep coming in. And you can get on autopilot. No problem, right. And we decided we didn't want to do that we wanted to play a different game. So we're playing a different game this year. And it's not only energizing for our customers, it's energizing for us as a team. And so that whole like how can you recreate yourself? Yeah, and that goes back to the beauty of this business. What do we want to be today? How do we want to be perceived now? I went and got my CLU, I just got that designation February 1. So like, okay, if you're gonna do this, get in the game. Study with the best learn what you need to know and elevate yourself in the profession. And you can do that anytime. Isn't that great. And I could still walk on the beach

Suzanne Carawan 30:00 

Yeah, yeah.

Chris Gandy 30:01 

When we think about your team, you mentioned your team, I, you know, I played sports in college in high school and I came from that team environment. How do you inspire lead your team to do more than what their comfort zone is, like we're talking about comfort zone. So I'm asking someone who kind of has been outside the comfort zone kind of lives in, especially in an Ironman, let me just tell you, my Ironman is in my kitchen, like cooking something. That's my Ironman, and I would call myself an elite athlete. That's a different animal. Okay. But to lead, first, you have to lead yourself, obviously, but the ability to lead others to accomplish more than they think they can do or get outside their comfort zone, how have you been able to kind of do that during your career?

Jill Judd 30:53 

Yeah, this is brilliant. And I love a question like this, because since we're all strong, typical leader types that go into this type of industry, because you got to be pretty gritty, you got to go after the stuff, right? There is an expectation that your team will see that you're motivated, and you're making things happen, and they're gonna go, wow, I want a piece of that. But the reality is, you've got to know who your team is, each one you have to know who they are as individuals. And I don't mean, what drives them. I know we sort of, we had this thing years ago, where we would talk about, ask the people who work for you, you know, what would motivate you? Do you want money? Do you want to get your nails done? Do you want to like, ah, okay, now find out who they are in their heart, find out who they are at their core, find out what kinds of things they love to do. Not with regard to the business. But when they're sitting with a customer. Wow. So I have a gentleman who works for me, Kyle, he's been with me 23 years. That's a long haul. And Cindy has been with me over oh, gosh, I don't even know, 18 years, I can probably go ask her right now. It's a family. It is family. We love each other. We care about each other. In fact, Kyle and I have been encouraging Cindy to go back to school, and she's back in school now. And she's like, wow, so who was it? Maybe Norman Levine, who said, you've got to help other people get what they want in order for you to get what you want? Well, I think a lot of people have said that, probably. But going back to how do you motivate them? How do you grow? How do you get them to a place where they want to do the stuff? You don't. You let them get there. And so what we do, I'll give you an example for how we're running this year. Before I even made the decision that we're going to reframe who we are and what we're doing, we had a how to get together. What do you guys think of this? How does it feel to you? Does it seem like something you could do? Would you want to do this and allow them to have the input into that sort of conversation? Because what is driving them is different. And what I found with Kyle is, it's not so much Yay, I did an application that doesn't charge him. But it's when someone says something about him. Wow, I really loved the way he gets a Google review. Gosh, I loved working with Kyle, he is so genuine and so caring. And that would just make him go. Oh, wow. And Cindy for her. She's looking at all the analytics and she's going alright guys, we can do it. We got three over here. We got 10 over there collect look at us, we're going so she's starting to look at the technology of it and sort of the business and like where did that come from? We wouldn't have thought of that. And so that then charges me thinking okay, so I'm going to just feel those fires, right? I want to keep giving them what they're after. Because that just makes it just makes it more fun. For sure.

Suzanne Carawan 34:11 

Unleashing, little love tanks are full. That's right. Yeah. And so a lot of times the businesses are sorry, Chris, just real quick, a lot of times, what I do love about financial services is the creativity in the jobs. And that flexibility and that ownership of time to allow you to do that, because so many times, jobs are overly prescriptive and restrictive. And the person cannot actually unleash any of those pieces. I feel that they can't, like I have a person on my team. And I said, listen, we're doing membership now. Okay, so your job is to talk to as many people as you possibly can about NAIFA. That's your job, any format like go. Go out, open the door and go and she has been stuck behind a desk and a computer now and she's super, super affable, gregarious, and you just watched her she was like, and so every day she well, but that's what fuels her. And so I think I agree with you that identifying and unleashing, but I do think that financial services has that latitude is built in attitude that entrepreneur...

Jill Judd 35:16 

Without a doubt, without a doubt and the creativity and what's really so this is interesting about a week ago might have been two week and a half or two weeks ago. They were working on a case together. My two team members and we have another who's on maternity leave now but and Kyle had run one all the way from start to finish, right. And this older woman couldn't get the signature thing working on her computer, right technology snafu. Cindy grabbed her computer, she ran out the door, she went over to the lady's house and held her and didn't do anything for she just helped her make this sign. Kyle makes the sale Cindy goes, hey, we're a team. There's nothing he gets a sale, he gets it the little tchotchke that we put on the wall or whatever. And she says, I don't need that. That's not what this is about. We're a team, we all support each other. That's big. I love that stuff.

Suzanne Carawan 36:13 

Yeah. bought in. That's great. The companies need to, I just think between the companies, and then the schools. They don't talk about that aspect of the business enough that creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, kind of elements of this career.

Jill Judd 36:28 

And let's touch on that let's touch on the creativity of the business. Because I think this is, for me, this is everything. I mean, obviously I come from an art background, I've been making art since I was a kid. Anything that we can do that is creative, and sales is creative. Most people don't realize this unless you're in it. But if you were to go out and say to someone who is a musician, or an artist, or a mathematician doesn't matter could be anything. And you say, well, how would you like to work in a field where you have full range to build the thing, however you want to build it to be compensated fairly for what you do, and to enjoy the people you work with? That's simple, right? That seems pretty simple. That's just about everybody I know and NAIFA because you don't stay in the business, if you're hating it. And we don't explain so much that the creativity it takes to sit down and talk to a person and listen to them is massive. What's easy for us to talk obviously, it's what we're paid to do in some sense. But to be able to listen and discern where people are coming from and what's important to them. And where they want to be in 10 years. And how they ended up here. What happened 20 years ago that got them to this place. That takes a creative mind. It really does. And you've got to be able to sort of move with them and think, okay, we have solutions. Now I can be really we talked about being prescriptive a couple of minutes ago, but you could, you can sort of plug it in and say okay, I see you've got a kid, we could get you in a 529 plan, blah, blah, we could do that. Or you can say we can do a 529 plan. And you just mentioned that you've got a great aunt that's on her deathbed. Tell me more about her financial situation, right, you can start really digging and finding out well, how can we creatively solve this problem? We can sell a product. Yes. And we can find some other solutions. Right? This conversation happens a lot with me with long term care, because a lot of people don't have the money for a long term care product. So we say all right, tell me about your family. Oh, you have three daughters. One is a nurse hold on a minute, stop. Where does she live? And we like, line it up? Oh, you don't have any family? Tell me about your friend base? Well, I have a lot of young friends. I'm a triathlete. I'm hanging out with a lot of 20 year olds, great harnesses, relationships, love on those people. Keep those young fit friends around you. I mean, seriously, this is like this is creative planning, right? You keep those young friends around you because you're probably going to need them later. And you know what, you're a good person, and they know you're a good person, and they're going to be there for you. Right. So yeah, there's just so many places you can go in this business. It's outstanding.

Chris Gandy 39:32 

You mentioned, teamwork makes the dream work. You've mentioned that and not so many words and a little differently. But you've been a leader in NAIFA. So, share with us, just your journey of how you've been able to inspire other leaders within NAIFA to do more than their because we're not paid to do the work we do right. But we're paid and so on. many other ways. And can you share with us you've led from the front? How did you inspire others to lead and follow a mission or a vision that you might have had for our association.

Jill Judd 40:15 

That's always the challenge in a volunteer organization, for sure. Because there are other things that pull people's focus, I think you've got to lead by doing, you've got to show them that it's possible. And with NAIFA, one of the things that was maybe most impactful, other than listening to their real concern about what might be going on, was to be able to show them that someone else in the country was doing it too, someone who looked like them, who had an association that size of them, or they lived in a rural town like them to say, okay, we know Joe over here, surreal, similar situation, and then make that connection. Let's make an introduction to these two, it's, it's no different than what we would do on our practice, if we were trying to do some work with some various other planners have trusted attorney, a tax attorney, things like that you make those connections, and then make sure you're sort of hanging on with them and say, did you get your answer? Did you see how they were working this program and how it really worked. And then they would turn around and say, I never would have thought to do a program like that. And so we can't fault people for not having the idea. Because they probably got other ideas, but just sort of serve up the fact that it is successful somewhere. That was really helpful. And I think maybe in addition to that, just going out and being present. I traveled a lot with NAIFA, in three or four years through California, definitely. And all across the country. And the important thing for me was to understand that all of these different places, were someone's home. It was a place they grew up, or it was a place they loved and to not, in any way make them feel like, oh, you're from there. Yikes. It would be easy for someone to do that. And so sort of passing judgment in advance. And I'll share a quick little NAIFA story with you that I love thinking about this, I was invited to go and speak in South Dakota, I've never been there before. So of course I wanted to go I would love to know about South Dakota. And at the time, I was involved in membership pretty heavily. And we did an annual meeting and gave a talk and your great, great people, awesome people. Then they said the next morning, we're going to have a membership meeting, it's going to be at 8am. And this is after the big party night, right? And I'm thinking you're having a membership meeting, oh, this is dead on arrival, this is not going to happen. I might as well just pack up and get out. But whatever else show up, have a cup of coffee with the one or two people that are there that are serving on the board. And they had over 50 people there that morning. And I thought okay, well one of two things are happening. Either the weather is horrendous outside, or the food is going to be great. But it has nothing to do with membership. And I was absolutely wrong. I was absolutely wrong. They all came in and said we are here to learn how to grow. It blew me away. So always be willing to be surprised. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Gandy 43:42 

We could talk to you for hours. And unfortunately, we don't have that time. But we do have the time to ask you one more question before we go to our lightning round. And my question is that you look at NAIFA today, and what is it that we need to do to continuously grow and be successful for the future from your perspective?

Jill Judd 44:11 

No, absolutely. There are a lot of things we can do and should do. I believe there is one thing that solidifies the commitment to NAIFA. And that is getting people involved in the legislative process. When they see how it affects their business and their customers, you're touching their heart. And when they see that NAIFA is the only one that provides that value, that legislative powerhouse of connections with our representatives provides the money, the voice and I have taken people to the hill for the first time. And I would suggest anyone who regularly go all right, I've said this to many people, hey, it's great that you go, you've been there year after year, that's great. I love it, bring someone new. Because they'll watch you doing the thing and you'll help them do the thing. And they will walk out of there. And it happens every time I'm there with something brand new, their eyes are so big. And I always hear this, I had no idea. Oh, my gosh, I had no idea. This is what we did, that this is who we are, this is amazing. Let's bring it all the way back to the marketing piece. You want to sort of solidify yourself in your community with your customers. And you come back and say, I was just on the Hill talking to Jimmy Panetta, blah, blah, we talked about XYZ, fiduciary rule and whatever, whatever. And I'm there representing you, and I'm there for you. And they go. Wait a minute. And you do that, too. That's awesome.

Chris Gandy 45:54 

That's good. That's good. Suzanne, did we capture that? Do we have that already?

Suzanne Carawan 46:00 


Chris Gandy 46:02 

I think people that serve in leadership, have what we call creative and align thoughts with how they see things. And we all see things differently. I think one of the smartest coaches I've ever coach with, was or ever played for was had the ability to take the most talented people in the room and help them see the one mission of all their collective talents. And that message you just said is pretty clear is we need to be waving the flag. And if everybody, I've said it numerous times, too. And I'll continue to say it until I no longer have breath is that if everybody brought one person, NAIFA would double in size. Right? If everybody brought just one, just one, not 20, not 30 and 40. It makes the load very light. And so that's that one step at a time. And I think if we start that, who have you brought? Did you bring someone? Did you bring someone in that idea of not just giving to the pack, not just going yourself, but how many of us have the capability of sponsoring someone else to come? Right. And so we as a firm we've done that every year, we sponsor somebody else who has that ever gone, we bring them like years before we brought Richie Moraira. And we do it from the diversity perspective. So we want to bring someone who's never been not only that, but now give them an opportunity to mix in some of the diversity DEI stuff. I think it's very powerful. And thank you for saying, you know those words, because it needs to be heard, not only from the leaders and NAIFA, hopefully they're listening to this, but also the members of NAIFA, or the future members of NAIFA. We look at this. This is bigger than us, we're actually putting the grassroots in place for the people that will be here for the next 20 years. Because our time is coming to a close, right? And we look back and we say, okay, have we laid the right groundwork the right foundation for them to grow. And that is the essence of being a leader. Because we moved from success to significance than just you. And that is where...

Jill Judd 48:21 

We used to worry about bringing a new member to a meeting and maybe the meeting was below par, we would worry about, well, if they came to the golf tournament and only 10 people were there. Maybe they would look at NAIFA and in poor light. But the really interesting thing to me is you could have taken at any time in NAIFA's history, a new member to the Hill, whether it be DC, or the state houses. And that meeting is always the same. It's always mind blowing. It's always eye opening. That's a win.

Chris Gandy 49:00 

All right, Suzanne, you want to kick it to the lightning round?

Suzanne Carawan 49:03 

Yeah, it's time for the lightning round. I know Jill is going to kill it on this one. No problem.

Chris Gandy 49:08 

So Jill, I don't know if you've watched any of the podcasts before this. But people may know your name, or they may Google you, when they see this, they're gonna Google you and be like, oh, okay, got it, got it. And they're gonna feel like they know you. What this allows for people to do is really get to know you a little bit about things that are important to you and things that kind of just feel good, right? And so, don't overthink it. We're not going to ask you any crazy political questions. And we're not going to ask you what you were doing when you were eight years old and you weren't supposed to be there. Like we're not gonna ask you those questions. We're going to ask you some simple things, just so people get to know you in a day and you already know the answer. Just whatever your gut tells you. That's typically the right answer. So we'll start off with something very easy. So, you're in California, correct. Okay, great. Okay, so if you're in California, I have to ask, then. Are you a Dodgers fan? Or a San Diego Padres fan?

Jill Judd 50:07 

There's not a chance either one of those. Oh, okay. Because I'm going to I'm gonna school you right now on California. There was Northern California and Southern California. And never the two shall meet. Not really true. Not really true. Yeah. The Giants. The Giants. The Giants. Yeah, I was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. And so all the Bay Area teams have my they've got my amendment, my heart.

Chris Gandy 50:42 

All right, so the Giants Okay, so since you're in California, red wine or white wine?

Jill Judd 50:50 

Well, it depends on what I'm having to dinner. Red or white, either one, but actually I think my preference is Mexican a long time, which is tequila.

Suzanne Carawan 51:09 

Tequila aficionado. That's right.

Chris Gandy 51:12 

Okay, so then we have to ask, what is your favorite tequila?

Jill Judd 51:18 

I love casamigos I love it because it is so smooth. And I'm not a school drinker or a sorority drinker. I'm not that type of person. If I like the taste, I want to enjoy the event of the drinking with the people we're sharing the drink with. So casamigos right now it's my favorite.

Chris Gandy 51:43 

There's 40 different kinds. Is there any one kind that really...

Jill Judd 51:48 

Like a preference? Yeah, the one you come to my house with in your hand?

Chris Gandy 51:56 

The best guy? Free West? Yeah. All right. Your favorite food?

Jill Judd 52:05 


Chris Gandy 52:07 

Sushi. All right. The one thing you're the proudest of, over the last 25 years in this industry?

Jill Judd 52:16 

That's actually kind of good timing, because I think I am. This will be sort of strange. I promised of building this practice. But I'm most proud of being able to do it on the heels of losing my daughter, she died the week before I started building this business. And I am most proud about how my family handled that, which was we continue to stay the course unless it stops working. And in our family, we're firm believers in if it stops working for you, you stop working for it. And not meaning that in a crass way. But if it stops fulfilling you or stops really touching you, touching your heart, then you can do something different. And navigating my daughter's loss through the scope of this business probably allowed me to overcome the hardest part of that through the people I got to take care of. So that is sort of a Yeah, I think that's sort of a combination, question slash answer. But proud us to be here. 25 years later, and still feeling love of life and love for what I do.

Chris Gandy 53:34 

If this was my first day at NAIFA and my first day in the industry, what advice would you give the 25 year ago you if you had an opportunity to?

Jill Judd 53:51 

I would say go somewhere where you'll find NAIFA people and sit with someone you don't know. And talk to them. Because everybody's got something great to share.

Chris Gandy 54:03 

Last question for you. You could go back in history and have dinner with one human whether they're live living today or they passed away. One person who would you have dinner with him and why.

Jill Judd 54:15 

That's easy. Jessica Judd, my little girl.

Chris Gandy 54:19 

Awesome. All right. You've moved us all in so many ways today. Yeah, hopefully people have taken notes and they get a chance to rewind and watch again. Thank you so much for your for your leadership. Are there any final comments that you would have for NAIFA nation? We're all listening.

Jill Judd 54:43 

NAIFA nation, boy. If you can get involved in any way it will be the greatest thing you've ever done for yourself and your career. My family still talks about NAIFA events in the most positive way. You'd be so lucky to get to know some of the people, actually all the people, but you probably won't get to know all of them. But the people who you get to know you will feel like you've made lifelong friends.

Chris Gandy 55:14 

Awesome. Suzanne, anything before I close this out?

Suzanne Carawan 55:18 

I just echo everything you say, love you, Jill. Thank you for doing that.

Jill Judd 55:22 

Yeah, thanks, Suzanne. Thanks, Chris.

Chris Gandy 55:25 

Jill, thank you so much for being here. Suzanne, it's always wonderful to see you. NAIFA nation we'll see you next week, same time. Thanks for tuning in to Advisor Today's podcast where we get an opportunity to uplift, promote, and propel all you as advisors and make the world a better place than we found it. So we'll see you next week, same time. Be around.

Outro 55:47 

Thanks for joining us for NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series. Make sure to subscribe to get future episodes. And if you're interested in coming on the show, let us know.



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