About the Episode

Tune in to our latest episode of “Balance, Not Burnout” as my friend and colleague, Sheryl J. Moore, and I navigate the immense value of mentorship and how it reshapes our professional and personal lives. This episode underscores the importance of fostering a mentorship culture, focusing on the unique rewards of being a mentor and the impact it has on personal development. We discuss practical ways to be an effective mentor and provide useful tips to help navigate this journey.

With insights into setting clear expectations, designing mentoring programs, and strategies to find potential mentees, our podcast enlightens listeners on the rewarding nature of becoming a mentor. Join us as we delve into the transformative power of mentoring, and how it not merely aids those we mentor, but also spurs our own growth and fulfillment. Be a part of our discussion to understand how mentorship can be a catalyst for personal and organizational growth.

Sheryl J. Moore is president and CEO of Moore Market Intelligence. She is also the founder and creator of several competitive intelligence tools, including Wink’s AnnuitySpecs and LifeSpecs tools, as well as Wink’s Sales & Market Report and Wink’s Index Intelligence Report. Moore Market Intelligence specializes in providing competitive intelligence tools to the insurance industry, particularly the indexed life and annuity markets. Ms. Moore provides competitive intelligence, market research, product development, consulting services and insight to select financial services companies.

Episode Transcript


Mark Williams 0:07
You’re listening to Balance, Not Burnout, a podcast helping leaders rethink the speed of their business. And I’m your host, Mark Williams. Join me as I explore the power of a more intentional, balanced approach to leadership. Thanks for listening.

Welcome to Balance, Not Burnout. I’m Mark Williams. And today, I am really excited to introduce not only a very good friend, but probably the voice in the fixed annuity business fixed and indexed annuity business life insurance as well. Sheryl Moore from Wink, Inc. and I have known Sheryl for probably over 10 or 12 years now she’s been in business for 18. And like I mentioned before the resource when it comes to almost anything life insurance and annuity. So Sheryl, welcome to the show.

Sheryl Moore 0:54
Thanks so much, Mark. I appreciate that kind introduction.

Mark Williams 0:57
Why don’t you give us a little bit of snapshot of your background? And what wink does?

Sheryl Moore 1:02
Yeah, that’s probably a good place to start explaining what I do is probably the most challenging question that I get. I run a market research firm that tracks life insurance and annuity companies, their products, the features of their products, as well as their rates, sales and marketing. So we have the pulse on life insurance and annuities in the market of insurance. And we track all sorts of information around them. We find ways to make data interesting and useful in the life insurance space. That’s the best I can do and explaining it.

Mark Williams 1:40
And I will share with you I do. I am a consultant for several research firms that other companies hire like private equity companies hire when they’re investigating the space or marketplace. And you are always my first referral for information. Because they always ask me, What’s the is there a place that I can go to get some information on the industry? And I’m like, Yep, there’s a whole the best one I know. And probably the only one I know, is Wink so. So super, super, super thrilled to not only use you and use what your company has to offer. But like I said before, we’ve been friends for a long time, and I really appreciate what you do and how you do it.

Sheryl Moore 2:19
You know, friend, ditto,

Mark Williams 2:20
Balance, Not Burnout. So today, I wanted to talk a little bit about passing it on. We you and I both have been very fortunate. People have been gracious enough to offer us opportunities in our in our careers. I know that. But how do you be an active giver? So investing in others, as well as seeking out mentoring for your own development? So I’m curious for you the importance of being an active giver and investing in others? What does that mean to you? And why?

Sheryl Moore 2:49
Well, you know, I actually had my position eliminated at a home office. And that’s really what got me into the position to start my own business. And it was very overwhelming and challenging for me, because I knew nothing about business. I mean, I didn’t even take business courses in college. So I was in uncharted territory. And I learned a lot, I tripped a lot, made mistakes, and finally got to the position where I now feel like I’m a very effective business owner. And what I do is take everything that I’ve gone through and try and encourage other people to shorten that journey for them, and help them so that they’re not making those same mistakes. I mean, even the guy who cleans our aquarium in the office is somebody who I encouraged to start his own business and help them along the way giving referrals to accountants, attorneys advice. I mean, I’m, I’m always trying to invest in other people who kind of expressed an interest in starting a business, I will say that I have a lot of people who told me that I’m a mentor to them. But I don’t realize that I’m mentoring at those moments. And I will say that I probably have like a dozen mentors in the life insurance industry, which has taught me to be generous in my time and trying to help others as well.

Mark Williams 4:18
Well, it certainly shows I know that I know that tons of people turn to you for advice. I’m curious in a in a situation like yours, where you’re your own business person and somewhat and kind of on your own island. Do you do you have anyone that you turn to on a regular basis to discuss business issues? And how did you find that person? If you do have that?

Sheryl Moore 4:38
Yeah, I have a couple of people that I use through that. And really, they’re individuals who I started friendships with. I mean, you’re a great example mark, I’d come to you for advice in the past. Really what attracted me to the people I was getting in my course of getting to know them, I saw that they had insights or experiences that were similar to my known and had good business making decisions. And I thought these are people who are successful and smarter than me in some ways that I can learn from them, and maybe be more effective leader than I was prior to knowing them. So I run ideas past them, especially things that have to do with strategy in my business or executing big enhancements or new products. They’ve been very helpful, because although a lot of people would say, oh, Cheryl’s really knowledgeable about life insurance and annuities, I would say, my understanding of this business is very wide, but not necessarily deep in all ways. And that’s the way I try and choose my mentors is by people who are subject matter experts in those areas where I’m not as knowledgeable.

Mark Williams 5:55
Sure. How many employees do you currently have Charlotte weighing 1010? And do you foster? I’m assuming you foster, but I don’t want to make the assumption that you foster mentorship within your own employees. And so I’m curious number one, if you act as a mentor, and or do you have employees that look to other employees within your organization for mentorship opportunities?

Sheryl Moore 6:18
Yeah, good question, Mark. You know, I realized pretty early on in my business, that I don’t like managing people. I’m a very direct person. I’m also very empathetic and compassionate. But I have sometimes a tendency to be short, because I don’t have a lot of time. And I’m very direct. I’m also assertive, and sometimes that can rub people the wrong way. So I found somebody who was my very first employee, and really developed her to take over the managing of the employees. And what I found in the process of delegating all of that to Victoria, my mentee is that it has made me a better mentor, because I’m able to focus on the things that make me most effective. And that puts me in a leadership position that I didn’t anticipate. So all of our employees, with few exceptions, look to Victoria and have now come to look to me for things that I never would have thought that I’ve excelled in. But by delegating those tasks of human resources management and managing people. It’s allowed me to be better at what I do.

Mark Williams 7:33
Yeah, I love that. And I have to echo I am very similar to you as being very direct. I have my opinions. I’ve mentioned before, I have a bunch of opinions, I think they’re all right until I’m not right. And I’m not shy to voice them. So we are very similar in that respect. I’ll share a few things personal story of mine a few years ago, when I worked for a home office, I actually asked the CEO of the company to be my mentor. And we actually had a formal mentorship program. And I sat down and we set clear expectations, I created an agenda. Every time we had a meeting, we met quarterly for about a year. And I literally sought him out and asked him if he could carve out, you know, 30 minutes every quarter for me and I could bring situations that arose throughout my business, that I either wasn’t sure what to do or wanted another set of eyes. And he was incredibly gracious. I found that that process provided me so much that just personally I just that personal connection. Number one, the advice was invaluable, right? I can’t I can’t replicate that. And I’m wondering for you, what’s the feeling you get when you’re being a mentor or being mentored by someone else? Tell me what that provides you personally. And as a leader, I guess?

Speaker 2 8:55
Well, you know. So part of knowing me, Mark is knowing my story, and I lost a child to suicide 10 years ago. And I have to say that I was kind of on autopilot for about six years after he passed away. Didn’t really seek out my mentors at all and wasn’t much of a mentor myself during that period. Sure. But I was in love with my business. And I still am to be fair, but losing my son made me realize that I can love my business, but I need to put my family first more than what I was. And it really instilled in me an appreciation for work life balance. And that has made me a better mentor to my employees just because I used to be very focused on business business business. And now I realized that if you’re not in the right place with your family and your time spent outside of work, you’re not as effective of an employee. I’m not going to get my mind maximum value out of you, if you’re not spending time with your family. So I think that that’s very important. And unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way. But you know, I just think about all of those times that I work late in the office or maybe missed holidays because of speaking engagements or whatever, I let my business be first. And I think that’s probably something that a lot of new business owners struggle with. I’m just very fortunate that I have the best staff. They’re fantastic. They kept the business afloat for me after Ajay passed away. And I have really learned from them just as much as they learn from me. We have monthly one on ones with Victoria, who is the president of my company. But then my other employees, just scheduled random times, like, hey, Sheryl, can I get an hour with you next time I’m in the office, we have a lot of remote employees. So yeah, I think that is important to make that time. And really, it wasn’t something that was important to me in the early years of my business, but I found that it really has contributed to the success of my business at all levels.

Mark Williams 11:19
Yeah, I really appreciate you sharing your own personal story, I will tell you that at 55 years old, spending 20 some odd years traveling like a crazy person. There were probably 16 or 18 years that I traveled 45 to 48 weeks out of the year, Monday through Friday, religiously. And it took a toll. Without a doubt I was building my career, I was building my knowledge base spending time with customers putting my work first. And I will tell you personally, it sure did take a toll. And during that time, I did seek out a mentor who made those comments to me. And unfortunately, at that time of my life kind of fell on deaf ears. And now looking back, my son, my youngest son just graduated high school at 18. And now I’m rebonding with him literally reestablishing a relationship over the last number of years. COVID. One of the one of the benefits of COVID, for me was be able to spend time more time with my family. Yeah, and if I could offer any advice, again, balance, not burnout is I learned to probably too late, and not that it’s ever too late. But I learned much later in my career that I needed to slow down and spend a little bit more time with my family. Because that part of my life does take away from the professional side, regardless of no matter what you say. And you mentioned it, unfortunately, yours was a catastrophic event. But it really, you know, I’ve gone through a divorce in the past, my mindset was not at work, there was a time that I was on autopilot, like you mentioned, just not being able to focus. And, and part of that part of that challenge is understanding really what is important. And unfortunately, as we get older, some things just become a little clearer to us. But it is interesting, and I really appreciate you sharing that because I believe there is a lot to slowing down. And listening. Again, the whole mentorship thing, trying to find someone who’s got some experience and being willing to listen to that. And to take action for that was. So I think it’s super important. So I again, I really appreciate you sharing your story. I’m curious, how do you clear your own mental space? Like when you are looking for advice? How do you get yourself out of your own way? And that’s a challenge for me, admittedly, because I’m one that I think I know everything. And so oftentimes I have to self check myself, I really have to say to myself, You know what? I have to clear my own thoughts and really be open minded to what someone else is sharing. I’m curious how you handle that, because you’re very similar to me.

Speaker 2 13:54
Yeah, I, I really struggled with that initially mark just because, like you, I’m very knowledgeable. And I have a lot of people who are constantly validating me and my knowledge of this business. And so I get to the point where I’m all puffed up and think, you know, I’m in the business. I know what’s going on. And all of it kind of contributes to me getting in my own way. So it has taken years of diligent focus on that to be able to realize, Cheryl, you’re not the smartest person in the room. What you need to do is surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and shut up. I literally got to the point where I taped a post it note on my computer screen that said shut up because I talked so much and I wasn’t having an opportunity to learn from others by doing that. So I just had to focusing Be diligent Mark I and I’m grateful for that process. I went through a program that’s kinda like getting an MBA in 12 weeks called Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses program. Wow, that program and I did it while I was running my office and PS while my president was on maternity leave, it was the most stressful time of my life. But it really was the catalyst that helped me to realize you need to be quiet and listen to others so that you can learn and so that you’ll be a better teacher. And that 12 Weeks was a lot of practice for me. But I would say, it was the reason why I got to the point where I could get out of my own way.

Mark Williams 15:43
Awesome. I commend you for not only having the discipline to do that, but the self awareness to understand what you know, what we’re not good at, right? It’s sometimes it’s funny, because most people know what they’re good at. Most people have a blind spot to where they need help. And so I applaud that. And I love the sticky note on your desk, I have sticky notes surrounding all kinds of things. So I’m chuckling to myself that you do the same, write yourself a note and stick to it. Let’s talk a little bit about philanthropy for your business. I know you do quite a bit as I see it on LinkedIn, and you do a great job of posting on LinkedIn and offering advice and your services. But I’m curious from a corporate standpoint, not personally, but from and I’m sure those cross paths, but how do you determine your philanthropy efforts? How does wink determine their philanthropy efforts? And why do you do it?

Sheryl Moore 16:32
So, um, I’ve received so much help in the past Mark, I mean, I was raised by a single mom with three kids. And I ultimately ended up being a single mom of three kids, when my husband, who was a police officer went to federal prison, that really shaped who I am, and why I do what I do in terms of giving because I suddenly was in a position where I had to be on welfare, because I had three babies on diapers, and in daycare, and was paying, you know, $455 a week for daycare alone. And my first job in a home office, I made $22,000 a year. So I was literally working to pay the daycare. And I think back to those times, and all the people who helped me, and that has really helped me with my giving, we have a corporate giving segment where we support organizations that assist children in the Central Iowa area that’s corporate. And you have to know that we sometimes give as much as 40% of our revenue to charitable organizations, just because I’m, I’m so passionate about giving opportunities to other people who may be in the same position that I was in. And I really consider it my duty now that I am successful, to reach a hand out and lift other people up. I will say that personally, my experiences have shaped my corporate or my personal giving, like I contribute to the Shriners Hospitals for Children because my son was born with cleft lip and cleft palate, and they helped him so that he looked, he looked handsome to himself. And there’s really nothing like finally seeing your child loved themselves. So I’m incredibly grateful to them. But because of AJ suicide, I support the A Gets Better Project, the Trevor Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. So there are a lot of worthy causes that I support. And I try and be an example to other people in the community of doing good. I’m not trying to brag. By broadcasting, you know, here’s this organization that I support, but I’m hoping to generate some interest or inspire other people to give because I’ve been there, I’ve done that it does make a difference. I

Mark Williams 19:05
have to tell you, at some point in time, you and I have to go for a few cocktails because you have one heck of a life story that I would love to hear more of. Every time I speak to you, I get another snippet of of your life. And it is so fascinating to me, not only where you’ve come, but what you’ve done. You have such an amazing company and you do so much for the industry. It’s nice to hear, and I’ll give you a sentence you I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase and I truly try to live by this. If you help others get where they want to go, you’ll get where you want to go. I think that might be a Zig Ziglar quote, which I am probably messing up at some point. But it’s nice to see that you that you have that same philosophy. If you don’t mind. I got a couple more questions and we’ll wrap up but tell me a little bit. Tell the audience a little bit about what they could get from wink and how to get a hold of you if they need you. That’s first and foremost.

Sheryl Moore 19:55
So I’m primarily the product that we have is is twofold we sell reports that have sales information on life insurance and annuities that them, we’re kind of unique because we practice sales not just at a company level, but at a product level and even at an index level. So we can tell you how much of index annuity sales are going into the s&p 500 versus the Dow Jones Industrial Average or exotic index XYZ. And then our other products are a huge database that houses product information for life insurance and annuity products, so that you can search like 150 different criteria to identify products with certain features help in determining what’s in the client’s best interest, or what are the most competitive products in the industry today, I will say that probably our biggest product is something that we don’t monetize. And that is my social media efforts. And you know, the knowledge that I give to the media, in understanding life insurance and annuities, I work as a fact checker for about 50 different news media outlets, like Wall Street Journal and New York Times. And so really, our biggest product is educating those terms so that they have accurate reporting of this industry. And I try and share all of that publicly, my social media, because we all met when the media gets it right.

Mark Williams 21:26
And I will tell you that it’s one of the things I love most about you is your fact checking and keeping people in check with what they’re writing about our industry. So for those of you that do not follow Sheryl more on LinkedIn, I will tell you that it’s a must. It’s one of those must things that you that you have to link, because you really do provide a wonderful service. I read almost everything that you critique, I read the article, and then I read your critique. So I want to thank you from an industry standpoint, it’s wonderful. You always have great insight. My final question, which is kind of a fun one. So this is balanced, not burnout. And I’m curious, I asked every guest this, it’s Saturday morning, you have no responsibilities. You can be with whomever you want, you can do whatever you want. Describe for me your perfect balance Saturday morning.

Sheryl Moore 22:13
Well, that’s easy. In the wake of my son’s death, I found out that I was pregnant after 10 years of failed in vitro, and having my tubes tied. And so and then quince belly, not only did I have a surprise pregnancy, but three years later had another surprise pregnancy. So AJ would be 26. Today, my daughters are 25 and 23. But miracle baby number one is nine years old. And miracle baby number two is six. So Saturday mornings I like to sleep in, because the kids like sleeping in and then waking up and taking them to the best breakfast place in the city of Des Moines and that is Waveland cafe. And just having a good breakfast and then talking about our wins for the week and what we want to do in the upcoming week.

Mark Williams 23:07
That’s awesome. And undoubtedly, you’re gonna stand in line for a little bit because that happens to be one of my favorite breakfast spots in Des Moines as well as the Waveland cafe. So a nice shout out to them. I can’t thank you enough for being on the show. Sheryl more industry expert annuity Rockstar for those of you that don’t know, you can find her on LinkedIn. It’s wink Inc. And if you’re looking for information on the life insurance and annuity business, she is the guru. So thanks again for being on the show. Always awesome to see you and spend time with you. So thanks again.

Unknown Speaker 23:34
Thanks so much, Mark. It’s been a pleasure.

Mark Williams 23:37
Take care. Thanks for listening. If you think balance is as important as I do, at work and all throughout your life. Help the show out by leaving me a five star review following me on social media or sharing the podcast with someone you think would appreciate it. If you have comments or questions. I’d love for you to join the conversation with me on LinkedIn. I want to thank OBI Creative for producing the podcast and Swells Beats for getting the music for me. Thanks for sharing your time with me today. And until next time, this is Mark signing off.