Lead With HOPE

For Jim Schrader, it all adds up. Add value to people, do great work and look at the world with hope in your heart, where you can find a way to make it a better place.

As a man with a degree in accounting, Jim can crunch the numbers with the best of them – but he also knows what it’s like to count his blessings and then share them with others. Jim already has a vision of how he wants to be remembered, “that I lived the mission of HOPE,” he says. “The fact that I help other people every day professionally, but also personally, as I carry it into my life when I’m not at work.”

Jim serves as Director of Lead Marketing for USHEALTH Advisors, doing exactly what the title states, helping to generate leads for the field force of the company. All salespeople know you’ve got to try to harvest all the leads you can, to find people you can help; so Jim’s the perfect man for the job since he knows a lot about harvesting.

“I grew up on a farm in Ohio,” says Jim. “My parents still own that same farm – with 700 acres of growing corn, soybean, and wheat. And I did everything on that farm, drove the tractors and the combine. Growing up on a farm is wonderful. At 10-years-old I was driving trucks and tractors. I could have stayed there and had a career in farming, but there just isn’t a lot of profit in the farming business because of high expenses with fuel and equipment.”

 

But more than farming, there was something else Jim wanted to accomplish. His dad served in the Navy, and Jim ended up being born at the Norfolk Naval Base in 1963. By the age of 18, he also felt the call to serve, so Jim joined the Air Force.

“It was really great,” Jim remembers. “I spent eight years as a security policeman at the Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas. I was in the B-1 Bomber program, in the 96th Bombardment Wing. It was the middle of the Cold War and the bombers there were loaded with nuclear weapons and ready to go. There was a sense of adventure, at any moment it could get real serious, real quick. The downside was it was Abilene Texas and there wasn’t a thing to do. There was the Air Force base and three colleges and not much else. I actually did start attending college myself though, majoring in criminal justice and thought about becoming a police officer when I got out, but I ended up getting a degree in accounting. “I thought it would be safer,” says Jim. “In accounting, the worst thing you get is a paper cut, as opposed to possibly a bullet hole in law enforcement.”

While in Texas Jim met his first wife, so he remained in the Big State. “Texas has this clause,” says Jim. “If you marry a girl from Texas you not only marry the girl, you marry the state!” The two started a family and Jim became the father to two children, a son who works as a firefighter in Irvington, Texas and a daughter who is a registered nurse for labor and delivery in Sweetwater.

 

Jim’s ability to crunch the numbers had him in high demand – flying high as an accountant for a family-owned flag company, then working in the credit insurance division of another company where he learned statutory reporting.  The new skill eventually got him a job at a company called HealthMarkets, where he remained until changes in ownership forced him out, but not before he met Sylvia who he personally hired, then later married. It was one resume he simply couldn’t resist.

Despite the good fortune of meeting his wife, Jim says once he had to leave HealthMarkets it was the most challenging time of his life. “I did some accounting work,” he says. “I floated around a bit at various companies, even sold cars, but when Troy McQuagge called to say they were ‘getting the band back together’ with a new company called USHEALTH Advisors, I was thrilled! I couldn’t find a company as fun to work with as the leadership team I had come to love at HealthMarkets and I knew it would be great again with the same team and family atmosphere, and just as importantly the mission of HOPE here. You just don’t find that anywhere else.”

Jim helps work the front lines with the agents now and he says he is so grateful for the experience. “It’s so exciting to give a new agent the opportunity,” says Jim. “To see someone possibly down on their luck, to see them grow and support them, there is NO company that does what we do for our people. Seeing the agents succeed, heck if that doesn’t tingle your spine I don’t think you are a human being. Selling insurance is hard – there’s the constant rejection – but if you keep at it, you make a sale, then the next sale and before you know it you are putting food on the table and paying the electric bill, as well as all the other bills. I don’t think there is anything greater than to see somebody become successful. You will never hear the words, it can’t be done, here at USHEALTH Advisors or USHEALTH Group. They will always find a way. It doesn’t matter if it’s trying to get business issued, or handling a problem, they will find a way to make sure everyone has every chance possible for success.”

As for the future, this is right where Jim and Sylvia want to be. “I want to continue here at USHEALTH, we both do,” says Jim. “We love what we do. We want to finish our careers here and when the day comes when we both retire, to ride off into the sunset in our RV and park it on a beach in Florida.” As well as hang with, as Sylvia calls them, their fur babies, Romeo and Ranger.

But whether it’s in retirement, or working with USHEALTH, Jim says his goal is to continue to live the mission of HOPE.  Whether he is helping the agents and leaders, or in his personal life. “Whether it’s opening a door for somebody, saying hello, being kind, smiling, taking clothing to a shelter, donating your time, the list goes on and on, it’s whatever it takes to help someone else. When you step back and look at this big, big world you recognize you’ve got it pretty good, so never forget there are a lot of people who don’t.”

And never look the other way, always lead with HOPE.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Your Storyteller,
Mark Brodinsky