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Exploring Life & Business with Heather Wheeler of Wheeler Insurance and Financial Services

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Wheeler.

Hi Heather, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I spent my childhood watching my Grandma (Bubbe-Yiddish for Grandmother) work so hard to support our family. My Bubbe was a Holocaust Survivor, a mother to seven girls and the hardest working person I knew. My Grandfather lost his life before I was born, leaving her a widow. She quickly had to get a career to support these seven girls and found a love and passion for Real Estate. I watched her work so hard everyday to support the family, she was always so incredibly kind and remarkable to her clients. I looked up to her and her incredible perseverance. I didn’t exactly follow in her footsteps but I did spend 17 years of my work life in Property Management. I managed many communities, helped lease them help and transition them to be sold. It was a great profession but the next step for me would include travel and as a Mom, I just couldn’t see myself away from my family. I have three daughters and a wonderful supportive husband who pushed me to look into other options. We relocated from Arizona to Missouri in 2012 and I found the multi-housing world to be very different than what I was used to. We had a good friend that suggested I look into a career in the insurance world. He said it’d it’s got so many similarities to what you do now and your such a people person. I could see you excelling in this world. I started digging into and immediately was interested. I found an Agent opportunity with one of the largest insurance companies and after many steps and interviews, I was accepted. I spent the next ten months training and traveling. I met amazing people who are still very dear friends of mine. During that time, my youngest daughter was just ten months, so it was incredibly hard being away.

My Mother in Law spent a lot of time at our home helping out and again, my husband was so supportive and my #1 cheerleader during the whole process. I really enjoyed being an Agent for this large company but felt like something was missing. I started looking into other opportunities into the insurance world and found information on becoming an Independent Agent. I was so intrigued. I had always wanted to truly be a business owner and to get to do things my way. I’m a very warm and genuine person. I never wanted to feel like a salesperson, I wanted to be an educator. I wanted to give amazing customer service and not try to “cross sell” more products to hit goals numbers. It just wasn’t who I was. I found this great Independent Agency group, Tag Insurance that I joined. In my world, you just have to sell one policy per year when you’re a part of a group. Your loyalty is geared towards your customers and not towards the insurance companies you work with. In this group, I didn’t have to worry about losing an insurance company by not selling enough. I could just do what was best for the customer and that was it, I felt that full warm feeling in my heart. I was home. I started Wheeler Insurance and Financial Services in 2015 and have been very blessed to grow my agency the way I wanted to. I have wonderful customers who are like family to me, a circle of amazing friends (many from my prior Agency days) and of course, the love of my beautiful family!

In 2015, I also teamed up and started working with a local non-profit called Care Packages from Home, KC. Sam McDaniel, a local Realtor and I made an instant connection. My husband was a Veteran of the Navy, so giving back to the Military: Active, Veteran and Families was something very near and dear to my heart. When I joined, it was a smaller operation with just 55 care packages going out and in 2020 (pandemic and all) we sent out nearly 300 care packages. We also award Quilts of Valor to Veterans and visit the V.A. Hospital at least two times per year. I’ve met so many like-minded caring people during this time and have worked hard to inspire other generations to give back. We’ve had the local Elementary School make cards, collect care package items and they even allowed us to award a Quilt of Valor at their Veteran Assembly. What a touching event that was and my daughters have all grown up helping and looking forward to our events.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The hardest obstacle was decided to leave the big Agency I was with. Why would I ever walk away from the biggest insurance company out there, was I crazy? I was going to start all the way back to the beginning. Grow a business from the ground up with 0 income coming in for quite some time. I felt worried about putting all the financial stress on my husband as well. We were very new to Missouri, could I really grow a “book of business” (a customer base)?

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Wheeler Insurance and Financial Services?
We are an Independent Agency that works for you. The customer, not the insurance companies. We shop rates to help you get the best deal while not sacrificing the coverage you need. We are warm, friendly and knowledgeable. We not only work with 25 different companies for personal insurance (auto, home, life, renters, boats, motorcycles, RV’s) but with 200 for business insurance. We can help just about anyone and love watching new businesses grow, getting to cheerlead for their success! Nothing is more rewarding.

What matters most to you?
My #1 will always be my daughters (McKenzie – 16, Genevieve – 11 and Abagail – 7) and my husband (David). I couldn’t love them more or be more proud of them! They’re my absolute world and my business is for sure my 4th child and love.

At the end of the day, what matters most is doing the right thing. Did I work hard, did I take the time to listen to my customers, did I go above and beyond. Did I spread some kindness? Make a difference. I never look at anyone as a dollar figure or a number. I just feel like when you do the right thing and work hard the payoff will come to you.

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