For young advisers, having a mentor can have a huge impact on career trajectory. Without the foundation of having someone there to help celebrate the good days and get through the bad, a fledgling adviser can easily fall to the back of the line.

That is just a little of what Colleen Blum, insurance adviser for Combs & Company, LLC & National Financial Network, says can be a huge struggle for many young brokers. With the proper team and mentor, having the necessary tools and knowledge to help clients should never be an issue.

“It is very difficult to make it in this business on your own,” Blum says. “Never be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know,’ or ‘Can you show me how to do that?’ Use the young age to your advantage to soak up all the knowledge your mentors have.”

With only five short years in the benefit industry, Blum has risen from servicing accounts as an account executive to her current position as an adviser and has managed to increase her book of business by 400% along the way. EBA recently selected the up-and-comer as a 2017 Rising Star in Advising.

“Tenacity is something that I look for in all people I decide to align myself with, and Colleen ranks at the top in that area,” says Susan Combs, CEO of Combs & Company, LLC. “I met Colleen a little over two years ago when she was becoming disheartened in the insurance industry and decided to Google ‘New York women in insurance’ and found me.”

Combs added that she invited Blum to speak with her over lunch without any intentions of hiring on a new employee. As their meeting ensued, she realized Blum needed to be on her team.

“She began working with me within 30 days of our meeting,” Combs says.

Talented adviser
Jennifer Pisani, operations team lead at Combs & Company, LLC, works closely with Blum and says she is a very talented adviser and makes each work day a joy. “Colleen Blum has been a breath of fresh air from the moment she walked through the Combs & Company door,” Pisani says. “Colleen is extremely well versed in the field, is patient and always works with a smile.”

Slideshow
20 young leaders in benefits
EBA’s 2017 Rising Stars in Advising are starting their own firms, experiencing monumental growth and embracing change at every turn.

Colleague Gretta Zutz, financial specialist for the National Financial Network, LLC, says Blum’s knowledge of healthcare helps Zutz to work with her clients on a strong retirement plan.

“Colleen Blum has provided my clients with excellent customer service and follows up by helping business owners and families navigate the complexities of health insurance plans,” Zutz says. “Colleen is the only expert I have encountered with the knowledge and commitment to excellence that my clients deserve.”

Blum’s advice to every young broker is to never feel dissatisfied or feel underappreciated in their firm. “If you don’t have the support you need, hit Google and go get the support you deserve from a company that would be lucky to have you,” she says.

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