Women of Influence: Suzie Labbépar Donna Glasgow | August 18 2014 09:00AM
Motivated by a desire to improve financial awareness
Suzie Labbé, a Sun Life Financial advisor based in Quebec City, says her passion for her profession is primarily motivated by a strong desire to touch the daily lives of her clients by increasing their financial awareness.
“Advisors have a unique, one-on-one relationship with their clients. We are really aware of their goals. The client has to want to confide in us…to tell us when things are going well, but also when they are not going well.” The key to doing this is to “listen, listen, listen,” she adds. Explaining financial concepts in a simple way also helps her to connect with clients and improve their financial awareness.
The client has to want to confide in us…to tell us when things are going well, but also when they are not going well.
Her talent for simplifying these concepts and communication skills has also contributed to increasing the financial literacy of thousands of Quebecers through 20 appearances in 2012 on ICI Radio-Canada Télé’s show, Alors on jase!, a television program where she presented financial features on various financial topics, such as: myths; do women manage their finances differently than men?; and extended health care insurance. She is also called on to speak about personal finance with Quebec media outlets as a spokesperson for Sun Life.
Labbé has been immersed in the insurance business since childhood. Her father was also a Sun Life advisor and she understood the impact that an advisor could have on their clients from a young age. When she decided to follow his footsteps, she faced the same challenges as any other advisor starting out since her father expected her to prove herself. “I had to manage on my own and show that I was capable. I thank him very much because that’s where my persistence comes from – I wanted to show him that I could be just as good as him!” She did prove herself and eventually they worked together. Her success has also brought her membership in Sun Life’s select club of Elite advisors and she is involved with the insurer’s Sales Force Advisory Council.
Women in the industry
When she started her career 21 years ago after completing a Bachelor of Administration degree at Laval University, there were very few women advisors. This was a challenge for Labbé at times, especially when talking to businessmen. She adds that she has always had a “baby-face” and this did not make things easier.
Things have definitely changed, she adds. Now there is an open-mindedness on the part of clients. “I even have some male clients who say that they prefer to do business with women advisors.”
She also appreciates that Sun Life is a company that actively seeks to recruit women to its advisor ranks and she observes the increasing presence of women leaders at the top ranks. In particular, she points to Isabelle Hudon, president, Sun Life Financial, Quebec. “I think we’re attracting more women recruits and that is in large part because of Isabelle.”