When Sandra Usleman took on the top sales role at Valhalla-based USI Insurance Services in 2007, she had her work cut out for her. As the new chief sales officer of the eighth-largest insurance broker in the US, Usleman was tasked with bringing growth to a company that was in decline (losing more customers than it was gaining) as the country was headed into economic recession. But with a focus on achieving pipeline growth, sales growth, and transforming the sales culture, she turned USI from a firm that had consistently grown through acquisition into one that now boasts strong organic growth.
“I didn’t do it alone,” Usleman insists. “It takes a diverse team you can trust—a team that makes you want to work harder every day and is willing to do whatever it takes while always balancing the needs and interests of clients, associates, sales teams/leaders, shareholders, and core processes.”
Developing a top-performing, diverse team remains Usleman’s priority, so earlier this year, she created Fast Start, a monthly hands-on program aimed at nurturing new and developing members of her team. “I am all about mentoring, educating, and creating networking opportunities for anyone who is looking for help and willing to put in the effort. I firmly believe that all organizations are stronger and better with diversity of leadership,” she says.