Women of Influence: Tracey West
Build credibility and the referrals will come
For Tracey West, nothing could have been better than growing up in a small town like Labrador City, population 7,367 according to the last census.
While situated far from other major cities, Labrador City is much like the TV show Cheers – a place where everyone knows your name. That, says West, a Great-West Life Gold Key financial advisor with Murphy Neil Financial Group Inc., has both its good and bad points.
“When I first started in the business it was really difficult because everybody just knows you as ‘Tracey’ and they don’t know you as a professional,” says West. But after getting her LLQP, West let everyone know she meant business by advertising on local TV and in the newspaper as well as gift calendars and restaurant menus.
“You have to build up your credibility and you have to work hard and show you can do a great job. And with that, referrals just start coming. I am at a point in my business now where I get so many referrals I don’t even need to cold call anymore. I think it’s an advantage of being in a small town.”
West entered the industry after deciding a career as a manager wasn’t for her. So she went back to school to get her life licence and then shadowed a 20-year professional, Howard Murphy, the principal advisor from Murphy Neil Financial.
One day she was sitting in a home with a couple putting together a life insurance package for them when she had her “aha” moment.
“I just remember saying to myself: oh my god, this is what I am meant to do – I need to help people and be part of this process and I have never looked back. I keep focusing and going forward and helping as many people and families as I possibly can.”
Since then, she has attained her mutual fund licence and has her eye on getting her CFP and CLU to round out the services she provides in her business niche, which includes group benefits, investments and pensions with everyone from workers in the nearby mines to business owners and retirees.
She has learned how to balance her work and life, calling “being a mom” her Number One accomplishment – and the most rewarding job she’s ever had. Getting her mutual fund licence showed her that she could have it all: a career, be a mother to her two sons (aged 10 and 16), a wife to her husband of 20 years, continue her education and volunteer.
An active volunteer
When Labrador City hosted the Canadian National Masters championships earlier this year, West volunteered and skied herself – coming in third in her event. She’s also a nationally certified lifeguard and volunteers an hour a week to lifeguard for their local pool as well as being an assistant coach on her son’s swim team. On top of that, she is president of Labrador Gateway whose mandate is to take care of the Labrador City museum and visitor information centre.
At first, West thought that being a woman in the business would be an obstacle, but has since changed her opinion saying that focusing on the client, not gender, is the key to her success.
She also feels that having specialists at Great-West Life on hand is crucial to her business. “I really rely on those people because I am so far away from a big city and it’s expensive for me to fly in to Halifax or St. John’s and do training.”