A Caring Loyal Person – Heather Blocker

Toss a pebble in the water, and make a wave.

We all may think the smallest effort or gesture goes unnoticed, but it never does. The ripple effect of being a good person is felt far and wide, whether anyone is looking or not.

You do make a difference.

Heather Blocker has been doing this for a long time, one because she’s got her compass pointed in the right direction, the other because she seeks the truth, no matter what.

“I’m a why person ever since I was a little girl,” says Heather. “You want me to do something, I got to know why. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I want to know why. And so I ask a lot of questions.”

Ask enough questions and you’ll find all the answers you need to create success, to create something from nothing. Heather’s something has made her a respected agent and leader at USHEALTH Advisors. She’s now part of the Darrell Giannotti Division and is winding her way toward the coveted $5 million AV personal production milestone at the company.

It’s a milestone to shoot for, but what it means at a much deeper level is how many people you have helped along the way. The journey matters as much as the destination, maybe more. Heather believes this and it’s what first attracted her to the place where helping other people every day is the mission.

HOPE is the guiding light at USHEALTH Advisors.

“Mainly because of my history with retail, customer service, working one-on-one with others, I like helping,” says Heather. “That’s one of the things that keeps me doing what I do all the time, not really knowing what it was going to look like in the day-to-day. I was just kind of envisioning it, but I knew the core of what I could offer. I knew that I liked helping people. I knew that I could be relatable to people, even if it was just a conversation of educating them on health insurance, whether I got the sale or not. I just wanted to be that person that somebody could trust because I was that person that never really used insurance, didn’t know a lot about it. So I would want to be helped by someone that’s very knowledgeable and very caring and understanding of my situation and that I could trust. So I wanted to be that person and I knew growing up, I mean I was part of sports, so that team organization, just working with other people, being in management, having employees underneath me, training them and watching them grow and succeed in their positions, I had that confidence in me.”

Confidence and belief. Heather says much of that stemmed from her time growing up in the small town of Jessup, Georgia where sports reigns supreme and Heather’s time on the field taught her lessons in leadership she could carry forward. Sports is one of the great metaphors for life… teamwork, sacrifice, failures, comebacks, goals, and against all obstacles, the desire to win.

“Softball was definitely my pride and joy,” says Heather. “I’ve played since I was eight and played all through high school and loved it. It instilled leadership in me being able to work with other people, different people all the time, and coming together as a team. Wayne County is known for their softball, and their baseball, so I played all year round. I played rec school and travel ball. Our travel team went undefeated for two years back in the early to mid nineties and got invited to the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. At the opening ceremonies we were invited to carry the torch onto the field. Just being around those girls and learning and helping and just kind of growing up with them… that team aspect I believe really helped with my future leadership abilities.”

And while still in high school, Heather took her team mentality into the retail world.

“My dad just retired from managing local furniture stores down in southeast Georgia, and my mom was a registered nurse. She worked in maternity in the NICU, so she handled all the babies. So growing up my work exposure was nursing and retail. I chose the retail path. My sister took more of the medical path. I started off in retail in high school, and then I had a couple of scholarships going into college, but I also had to work at the same time, doing the dual role, being a full-time student and working. So retail is what kind of carried me through.”

“I was in corporate America in retail and got my degree in management since that’s the road I was going down anyway, but that became more of a struggle when I met my wife Erin. She was also in retail and we wanted to start a family. The retail life is just inconsistent and it absorbs everything. We wanted to create more of a balance and have that family feel where we could be available when we had kids. So that’s when I made the leap of faith to join USHEALTH Advisors. I’d never dealt with health insurance before, never really used health insurance, so I was green all the way around, but I knew that I wanted more. I knew that I was slowly getting capped out in my management career.”

The desire to have no ceiling on her income. The freedom to control her time and her hours. Heather was looking for way out of the retail world, to control her own destiny. That new destiny found Heather making a trip down south.

“I knew that I wanted to make a transition, but I knew I couldn’t take a pay cut, so I literally just went on a job site and I found the ad for USHealth Advisors and applied for it. I got the call, and the invitation to come down to the pitch. Erin and I were living in Savannah, but I made the drive down to Jacksonville, Florida, sat through the pitch from Division Leader Steve Savino, and signed up right there. I didn’t even talk to Erin about it. Our connection, our relationship, is that we trust each other’s decisions, so I felt very confident signing up right then for the pre-licensing course. I went through the licensing course while we were living in Savannah. After I passed the state exam, within 30 days we moved down to Jacksonville so I could be in the office. I knew that I wanted to start this the right way. I didn’t want to do anything remote, I wanted to be right there next to the people that were teaching me. So we moved down to Jacksonville and that’s where I got going.”

“I still remember being in that recruiting pitch and hearing there’s no cap on your salary and I perked up, because ultimately that’s mainly why you make a transition, is to make more money and do better for yourself and your family. And so I knew my abilities in sales and customer service were strong, so I felt this is right up my alley. All I have to do is learn the product. I loved what I heard about the company, what it stood for, HOPE. I’d never done a commission sales job before, but I wasn’t really scared because I was confident in myself. Still, being able to take that leap into this transition, into the insurance world, that would definitely be one of my biggest accomplishments – becoming self-employed and then a business owner.”

While having the courage to become a business owner is a big deal, Heather also shares that one of her personal accomplishments was believing in “the one” – and not letting her future wife slip away – at least the second time around.

“I met Erin in retail actually, this was down in Valdosta, Georgia, when I was in college and working. And we ended up working together at Polo Ralph Lauren. Erin’s from up around Atlanta, but she moved down to Valdosta for school and we met there and briefly dated. It’s like one of those fairytale stories, because although we dated, it was just the wrong time, the wrong place, we were too young. We actually went our separate ways for about seven years and then reconnected down in Gainesville, Florida. Retail brought us back together and I just knew from our time together before that she was probably the one that got away. So when we reconnected, I was like, I’m not going to let her go again. So I proposed to her down in Gainesville and then fast forward, we got married in Charleston, South Carolina and moved to Savannah.”

While her family life was settled, the business world was still a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Trying something new always has its challenges. The leap of faith, while courageous, doesn’t mean the landing on the other side is a soft one. Sometimes you hit the rocks on the way down and have to bandage the bruises and get back up. Heather admits that at first, she was looking to take it a bit easy with her new career at USHA.

“I made the rookie mistake of wanting to break the chains and the boss, where I’m not going to let them tell me what to do because I know better. I kind of took advantage of that. I was like, you know what? I’ve been working 12 hours a day in retail. I’m just going to work nine-to-five, make sure I’m home with the family for dinner. But within about a week or two, I realized if I’m going to do this, I better change some things. And so I really just kind of changed my whole business plan at that point. I was like, all right, I’m going to be a sponge. I’m going to soak up as much time as I can. I was in the office from open to close. I would work. There were times that I was in there and the only one left taking live lead transfer calls at 11 o’clock at night.”

“I didn’t get a super, super fast start. I did hit my $100,000 AV goal in 13 weeks, but barely, on the last day of the week. I’m a goal oriented type of person, so if you give me a challenge, if you set a goal for me, I’m not going to stop till I hit it. And that was my intention. I’m like, you know what? I’m here. I’m on a roll. I was dependent totally on the company leads, and I realized pretty quickly after just hammering the phones over and over and over, if I’m going to get more and I want more, then I’ve got to look outside the box. So I got into networking and BNI. I think I got my first new business in June, and by October I had joined BNI, and that’s what catapulted me. It was perfect timing, open enrollment was right there, and that got the business really moving fast for me. So after that it was just kind of, alright, keep your foot on the gas pedal and just keep going.”

Looking back on her beginning at USHA, Heather says she also realizes she had to develop a philosophy that if she was to become successful, she also had to make some changes. If you want things to change, you have to change. If you want things to get better, you have to get better.

“My biggest challenge was the concept of becoming self-employed,” says Heather, “ironically, because I had always worked in corporate America, where you do what they say. You clock in, you take a lunch, you clock out, they tell you what your days you work and which days you can take off. And so coming out of that and realizing, hey, there’s nobody above me telling me what to do, when to do and how to do it, you have to hold yourself accountable. And raising my expectations and holding myself accountable to make these adjustments and make this a successful transition, that was definitely a learning curve for me. So learning the ins-and-outs of how to become a successful business person was a pretty difficult obstacle to overcome. But it’s just diving in and becoming a sponge and surrounding yourself with other like-minded business people, to learn best practices and that’s what I did to help get me to where I am.”

Once she stepped into a leadership role at USHEALTH Advisors, the focus shifted from me, to we. The challenge shifts as well, helping to groom others to emulate your success. Besides the nuts and bolts of the business, there’s the intangible, the part that you don’t learn in a training session or in a brochure, it’s written in the book of life and personal relationships. It’s the deepest principle in human nature, the craving to be appreciated. To make others feel that they matter. If you fulfill those desires and go all in, then you win. For years, Heather had worked on perfecting the human to human part of business.

“As a person that thrives off of verbal recognition I started early in my retail career doing the same for my employees,” says Heather. “At the end of our shifts I would make sure every employee knew how much I appreciated the work they had done that day by telling them, thank you, and how much I appreciated them and their work. I knew how those words made me feel when someone would tell me how much they appreciate me, or what a good job I was doing, and if I could make someone else feel even a little bit of what I felt, I wanted to give that to them. People want to be seen, and when you acknowledge their hard work and efforts they will continue to work hard and do their best. Compliments are free and worth giving all of the time.”

Giving is in Heather’s DNA, and now Heather is giving time back to her family, to Erin and especially to Jaxson, who was born shortly before Heather started at USHA. Jaxson has a busy schedule and is taking part in things that Heather doesn’t want to miss.

“So this past February, I stepped back to be a platinum agent. Before that I was a Satellite Division Leader, so I worked my way up the ranks to that position, but recently made the decision to keep more of a work-life balance for me because I was missing out a lot with Jaxson’s sports and activities. I still go into the office occasionally. I love my team.”

“That was the hardest decision I think I had to make because I’ve got these people here that count on me. They depend on me. I love watching them grow and succeed, but at some point you do have to make a personal decision and it’s like I sacrificed the time with my family for six-and-a-half-years, and that was okay with me because Jaxson was still growing up. He didn’t have a lot going on, so I chose to sacrifice the time back then. But now that he’s into sports, lacrosse and football, and it’s go, go, go… I want to make sure that I’m there for him as well.”

Heather’s hard work at USHA has also now afforded her and her family the opportunity to do more than just cheer on the sidelines at Jaxson’s games, they are starting to see the world.

“We like to travel,” says Heather. “We like to go to different places and give Jaxson that experience too. Erin had a similar kind of upbringing as me where we didn’t travel a whole lot, kind of deprived in that area. So next month we’re all going to Costa Rica, and that’ll be our first time doing something like that together. But this opportunity, this career has definitely put us in the position where we can afford do that. If we were both in retail, it wouldn’t be possible, but this has allowed us to do these things and show Jaxson different areas of the world and different traditions and different ethnicities. So giving him that exposure to other parts of the world is great, but then Erin and I are doing it for us too.”

Work hard, play hard. Heather is committed to both. But it’s her commitment to getting better all the time that’s been the driver to help Heather reach some big goals, as well as then reaching back to help others to do the same, whether it’s at work or at home.

“If I had one thing I hope people would remember me by, I think it would be I’ve always focused on being a caring, loyal person, whether it’s with my clients, with my colleagues, with my friends, or with my family. I think that’s the biggest compliment, is just being known as a trusted, caring person.”

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Your Storyteller,

Mark Brodinsky

Recent Posts

Commitment – Saifallah Hayek
  The only limit to your impact is imagination and commitment. – Tony Robbins Saifallah Hayek can narrow it down to...
Read More about Commitment – Saifallah Hayek
Know Your Purpose – Francesca Zanelli
Know Your Purpose “Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction and events without reason.” – Rick Warren,...
Read More about Know Your Purpose – Francesca Zanelli
What Others Don’t Want To Do – Karl Curran
What Others Don’t Want To Do “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”...
Read More about What Others Don’t Want To Do – Karl Curran