Episode 12 Transcription Sarah Muniz

Misha: Hello, GSD Factor podcast listeners. I’m your host Misha Bleymaier-Farrish. And today I am honored to have author Sarah Muniz. She’s also a fellow board member on the Insure Equality board with myself. Sarah, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us today. 

Sarah: I’m so excited to be here. Thank you. 

Misha: So, Sarah is an amazing insurance woman. She really embodies the GSD Factor attribute of the resilient life. Her stamina, grit, and perseverance to acknowledge that life can be shit, but she has really learned and grown and has really turned those negatives into positives. So, I’m really excited for you listeners to hear from her today and hear about her book, Undiscovered Voices.

Misha: So just quickly before we dive in with Sarah, I wanted to give a little bit of a bio about Sarah. She’s been in the insurance industry for over 21 years in various roles. She’s worked as a producer, as a customer service representative in the insure-tech space even and the insurance industry gave her a really good living and growth. But, what she found was that she kept hitting glass ceilings that are really hard to break through for women. And so her goal is to really, even out the playing field for all races and genders in the insurance industry. She lives and breathes the resilient life that we talk about here at the GSD Factor podcast.

Misha: And Sarah I’m just so honored to have you. So thank you for joining us. 

Sarah: Thank you for having me . 

Misha: So Sarah, let’s dive into one of the topics that you really talk about in your speaking engagements and in your dialogues with other women in the insurance space. Let’s dive into that topic around why women find it so hard to speak up and advocate for themselves.

Sarah: So, it actually goes back to society and culture of what is considered attractive in a woman or desirable in a woman. And I talk about this in the book. I have a whole section of whys. And what it comes down to is that we’re taught at a really young age that you should be quiet. You should sit small.

Sarah: You should not tell anyone your opinions or your thoughts because that’s not desired in a girl or a woman. And, you should always look well kept and pretty and prim and proper, right? So this, these are the things that are told. We’re told not to speak up. We’re told to be quiet. Whereas boys on the other hand are told the exact opposite.

Sarah: They’re told you need to take up as much space as possible. You need to make sure that people know what you’re all about. You need to, you know, be confident and speak up. And so culturally we’re told, and it’s so crazy that this is still what’s being told to girls and boys is, you know, you’re pretty… and that’s what matters most about you. But boys, like if you work hard, you can do whatever you wanna do, or you can be whoever you wanna be. So that’s one aspect, right? Second aspect is the same thing happens when you’re working for an employer and it’s happened for me and in my research, most women. When you speak up, they tell you that you’re a troublemaker typically, especially if you’re a woman.

Sarah: So, if I speak up and I say, one example was we were having a team meeting and with my sales team and my manager and I was putting out there that I felt like we needed to work as a team. And he said, “No, you’re not correct and I didn’t ask for your opinion, Sarah. We should just worry about our own sales and not worry about one another.”

Sarah: And I told him that ‘it was, it was hurting our team. It was hurting, the company.’ And he was like “I didn’t ask,”  You know, That is like one example. Whereas if one of the male counter producers would’ve spoken up, I’m pretty sure that would’ve not been the answer. Another thing that happened to me at an employer that was almost a similar type situation was I was training this new producer and it happened to be a guy.

Sarah: He went on, on his own while I was like away from my desk for a few hours. He helped one of my clients and he did the work incorrectly. So, I went back to him and I told him, “next time check with me before you work with one of my clients, especially if I’m in the office and make sure that if, when you do it, this is the process.”

Sarah: I got a call from my boss telling me that “I hurt the confidence. How dare I talk to a guy that way?” Because it hurt his confidence and his self-esteem. Never once have I gotten the phone call the opposite saying, “Oh, I’m sorry, that someone maybe corrected you and hurt your confidence.” 

Sarah: And he told me, he’s like “don’t ever do that to a guy don’t ever talk down to them again.”

Misha: And your story is not the only story, right? Your story is countless other stories out there. And I think, especially for, you know, our GSD Factor podcast listeners, right, it’s both a male and a female audience. And I think what’s important for our female listeners to hear is that a you’re not alone, right. We’ve all had these stories and it’s not just the insurance space, it’s other spaces as well. Technology spaces, you know, other spaces. But, I also think too to our male listeners, I think it’s also important for them to remember, right, that we are in this together.

Misha: We are a team. And in those situations let’s be wing men and women together so that we can make sure that we are because we are powerful as one and let’s just get some shit done. So, I think, you know, your two stories and your examples are, are really powerful because I think it’s not the story of one. It’s the story of many. Certainly. 

Sarah: Absolutely. Absolutely. And that was one of the things I tried to highlight in the book is I have 10 different women’s stories in it to make sure 

Misha: That’s great. 

Sarah: I didn’t just talk about me. I wanted to show different women in different aspects of the industry and their stories.

Misha: No, that’s and that’s fantastic. So let’s talk a little bit more, talk a little bit to us more about the book. It is Undiscovered Voices and you can get it on Amazon. Talk to us a little bit about those stories that you highlight in your book today. 

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. So, this is what my book looks like. If people are looking instead of just listening. So it’s purple and gold because it is actually like a yellowish, cause those are my two favorite colors and I thought they looked pretty together. And it has a lock of a woman being unlocked because she’s able to share her voice.So it’s all about trying to find the way that we can share our voices safely and make progress happen. 

Misha: Yes. 

Sarah: And not just insurance, but in business in general. Cause it’s a problem across the board, it just happens to be an even harder problem or a more difficult problem in insurance. And that’s the space I work in.

Sarah: So that’s where my experience is. The other women in the book, everybody has aliases to protect them and nothing is like… there’s no company names, nothing like that could direct people to who those stories are about. And that’s all about protection because I’ve had repercussions for writing this book.When you get your story out there, a lot of times for women there’s and probably for men too, for all, when you share your stories of your experiences, there can be pushback and repercussions. And so everyone in the book, except for myself, because I wrote the book, I can’t really protect myself in that way is protected. It was important for me to have the difficult stories, but also the success stories to show what can happen. 

Misha: Yes. 

Sarah: When the barriers are removed and the right programs are put in place for a woman to succeed. And then how it benefits the company, how much more money they make, how much more success the company has when they help that process happen and help diversify the people on top so that you have more than one type of person giving an opinion. You have, you know, hopefully lots of different people with lots of 

Misha: Yes.

Sarah: Who can really diversify the thought cause we don’t just have one type of customer. If we just had, you know, one type of customer, and that was the only type we were talking to, then diversity wouldn’t be an issue, but we don’t, everyone’s different.

Sarah:  Your customer’s different. And, the more people you have in leadership that can think differently the more, you’re going to really reach your audience more effectively and in the end make more money. And you know, leadership and companies love to make lots of money. So 

Misha: Exactly. 

Sarah: (laughing) I tried to really like put in there, especially when I got the halfway point on the book about, Okay, this is how much more money you’ll make and try to speak to them. 

Sarah: Like, if you don’t wanna do it, just because it’s the right thing to do that’s all fine and dandy, but look at all the money you’re leaving on the table by not make doing these initiatives. Because I’m trying to speak to a different type of person . 

Misha: Exactly. And I think diversity and inclusion is such an important focal point has been for the last three to five years, but I think we’re really embracing it as a nation. We’re really starting to embrace it as an industry. I know that for you and I both as fellow board members on the Insure Equality board that’s really important for us because we want to represent those under-voiced. We want them to have that safe place to share their stories. They can use the tool of Phoenix to be able to confidentially share their story. Share their experience at that particular company so that they can really start to bring that awareness and that transparency and hopefully bring about that change to that company, but also the greater good of the industry.

Misha: What I really like about what you said too, right, is giving a voice to the under-voiced. And because, in my own book, the GSD Factor which will come out in 2023, I do talk about the fact that your voice is your strongest weapon, and that came from my daughter. And so I have a daughter and son, but that came from my daughter coming home from karate class and her sensei saying to her, “Your voice is your strongest weapon.” 

Misha: You know, you talk a little bit about how, you know, women have the, stereotype for how women should act. There’s a stereotype for how men should act. And that’s been interesting being a mom of both a boy and a girl, cause it’s very different ways of raising them, but my husband and I really want to raise them to be those equal partners and to really embrace that diversity and to break those glass ceilings and to break those stereotypes. So, I know Sarah in 2023, you’re gonna have some fantastic opportunities for your readers to engage with you. And here you speak. So talk, share with us really quick, what those 2023 events are for you. 

Sarah: Absolutely. So, in April of 2023 I am going to be a speaker at The Better Agency conference. I don’t know the exact dates.

Sarah: I believe it’s the 23rd through the 25th, but you can Google it and find The Better Agency conference coming up in April and it’ll have the exact dates, but it will be my very first speaking gig. So, hopefully everybody likes me still after I have my first speaking engagement.

Misha: You’ll do great.

Misha: You’ll do great. And what’s your next event? What’s your next one? 

Sarah: After that is in June of 2023 Women of Insurance. It’s their very first conference. So, they wanted to get all the women in the group together and share ideas and help one another build each other up and our careers up. And that’s gonna be June 2023. June 16th through the 18th, I believe. And if you just go to Women of Insurance Facebook or LinkedIn page the conference information’s on there as well. 

Misha: That’s great! And we’ll be sure to share those across all of our socials as well. And Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you for sharing the stories of other women that have experienced this.

Misha: Again, get your copy of Undiscovered Voices on Amazon. We’ll also be able to share a link as well. And Sarah, if somebody wanted to reach out to you and just talk to you about your experience or you know, share their own story with you, what is the best way for them to reach out to you? 

Sarah: So if you message me on LinkedIn, I’m very responsive on LinkedIn.  I’ll share the link with you so that you can share that. You can email me and I’ll share my email. My personal email is just supersarah40@gmail.com, which I will share as well. And, I try to stay on top of all of that information unless I’m, heading out on vacation or something. And then maybe it’ll take me an extra week. There was one other thing that you had said that I wanted to just build on. 

Sarah: So I have (absolutely) a son and daughter as well, and I have a lot of the examples of, like the differences and doing the research and trying to raise them equally, like you said, and trying to make sure that my daughter knows that it’s okay for her to speak up just as much as it’s okay for my boy. And then also like the difference on how their brains work. Like I use them for examples quite a bit, but the most exciting part of the book to me, my daughter wrote the very last chapter of the book. 

Misha: That’s awesome! 

Sarah: So, I wanted to get a Gen Z perspective, lucky for me to have two Gen Zs sitting in my house. And I had to bribe her, but she wrote the last chapter and it’s really amazing and touching and so anyways, I just wanna bring that up. 

Misha: No, that’s great. And thank you for sharing that with us, because I think, as working moms in the insurance space, as we are raising both, men and women for the next generation, the thing is our industry is really needing that influx of new ideas and new perspective and innovation. And it’s gonna come from both men and women. And because of where the industry has gone, there are more and more people leaving our industry. I think the statistics recently are talking about how more women have left the industry than men.

Misha: And I’m so glad you brought this up because I think what’s really important is women that are interested in insurance or looking to go into the insurance, right. People like yourself and myself and companies and organizations like Insure Equality, for example, we really wanna provide that mentorship and that air covering and that umbrella support.

Misha: So, as women and men are coming and that next generation are considering insurance or considering an industry that has experienced you know, a great exit as part of the great resignation. I think it’s really important for us to start to have those conversations with our middle schoolers, high school and college students, even because it’s really important for them to understand that they have a place in this industry.

Misha: They have a future, they have a voice. We want them to stand on our shoulders. We want them to break through those glass ceilings and really come together and empower one another and encourage one another, but really make it be a power as one. And so, I think that’s really amazing that your daughter has written that last chapter with that perspective. Because I think for you and I we need to be sure that we’re bringing that next generation with us.

Sarah: Absolutely. 

Misha: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Sarah, for being with us today. It is such an honor. Again author Sarah Muniz of Undiscovered Voices. Get your copy at Amazon. Reach out to Sarah on LinkedIn. You know, share your story with her, talk to her. Sarah and I hit it off right away when we met over a year ago. And again, just know that you’re not alone in this space. There are others of us that have walked your journey as well. But Sarah, thank you so much for being a guest on the GSD Factor podcast and to our listeners. Thank you for joining us. And don’t forget to get shit done.

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