Member Profile: 2019 Committee Volunteer of the Year Lori Heemstra
ACN Updates | Connections Editor | Jul 31 2020
Each year, Applied Client Network (ACN) recognizes and thanks the many contributions our members make through honors like the Committee Volunteer of the Year award and the Chapter Volunteer of the Year award (learn more about each award here). Connections sat down with 2019 Committee Volunteer of the Year award winner Lori Heemstra, of BHS Insurance Agency, to learn more about her history in insurance and how she felt when she won.
Connections: Tell us a bit about your career. How did you get started in the insurance industry?
Lori Heemstra (LH): I went to college to be an elementary education teacher. There weren’t a lot of teaching positions in those days and I needed a job, so I took a position as a receptionist in a brokerage firm. While there, I moved through the claims department and then on to commercial lines account management. After two insurance agency changes, which encompassed client management and sales, I landed at BHS Insurance as the CL department manager.
Connections: How long have you been a member of ACN? What was your motivation to join?
LH: I joined ACN 15 years ago when I started at BHS. My role was new and I was tasked with managing, at that time, Applied TAM. I knew “some” things about it, but really needed additional information. BHS had been members for a long time, so it was natural that I would sign in and learn all I could ... after all, my job depended on it! I love learning and learning from others who have been there is the BEST way. There are so many ways to solve a problem. Interacting with other members lets you have a peek at other ways [of doing things], so you can analyze them and choose what works best for your organization.
Connections: In your opinion, what is the most beneficial part of being involved with the organization as a volunteer?
LH: Hands down, it’s the friendships. Having people in your corner who you know you can reach out to when you need them. And, when they need something, they reach out to you. Everyone is so helpful. Volunteering has introduced me to a whole new world of friends. It was one of my ACN friends who gave me the nudge to volunteer and I can’t thank Christine Horne enough. I’ve learned so much.
Connections: Your most recent role with the organization is in leading the IMPACT Committee, which stands for Industry Membership and Product Advocacy for Customer Technology. Can you share what you see as your biggest accomplishment as an ACN volunteer?
LH: I lead the Member Relations Committee (MRC), I’m a member of the IMPACT Committee, and I serve on the Governance Committee for Board nominations. [smiles] It’s hard to pick one thing to see as the biggest accomplishment. My heart is with the MRC because that’s where I started my volunteering career [with ACN]. Welcoming new members was truly a highlight. Much like when you get a new employee and that first impression of your agency [or brokerage] is so important, the same goes for the new members’ first impression of ACN! We worked hard to make that meaningful. The IMPACT Committee, though, that’s where the rubber meets the road — helping to influence product enhancements is So. Much. Fun. Yes, fun. I said fun. Hearing others’ ideas, bringing your own, tossing them around, watching them grow and then materialize is rewarding.
Connections: Last year during Applied Net 2019, you were presented with the Committee Volunteer of the Year award. What did receiving this award mean to you?
LH: This was such a great honor. I started out volunteering with that nudge I spoke about earlier, and I continue to volunteer because it’s very rewarding. Being nominated for the Committee Volunteer of the Year award was so awesome, and receiving the award is unbelievable! To think that others feel like I’m doing good things for the organization is just humbling. There are SO many deserving individuals.
Connections: With the world, and industry, changing rapidly — and this year’s award winners currently being determined — do you have any advice for folks considering becoming more involved with the organization?
LH: There’s no better time than now to get involved. We’ve all had an immense amount of change thrown at us and I’ll bet you’ve navigated it well. Find your place to volunteer and share those “things” that you’ve learned. Be that instrument of change, make some new friends and come have fun with us.
Want to nominate a peer to be the 2020 ACN Committee Volunteer of the Year? Submit your nomination today!
Lori Heemstra, CIC, CPIA, has worked in the insurance industry since 1990, spending the last 15 years at BHS Insurance Agency. She serves as the commercial lines division manager/P&C trainer. Her duties include overseeing the commercial account managers and support staff, training new and existing staff, coordinating technology, and developing consistent professional standards. Lori has earned the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA) designations, in addition to her Michigan Resident Producer License. She serves on various insurance company technology councils in addition to her volunteer work with ACN. She is an approved continuing education instructor in the state of Michigan. Her areas of focus are errors and omission and Michigan No Fault Reform.
Tags: ACN Updates , Leadership , volunteering , ACN Community , Awards