Case Study: Patrick Hanley
Patrick Hanley was born into insurance and when he graduated from college, his father offered him a position at his insurance agency until Patrick could figure out what he wanted to do.
That was 30 years ago.
And now, more than 20 years into running his own wholesale insurance brokerage, what had once worked well in the past needed to be reimagined.
“I always had assistants that were in-house,” he explains. “The intent was to train them up in the company. If they were competent, they were promoted. [But] when the last assistant was promoted, he decided to try something new.”
Patrick was left scrambling. Some colleagues had had success with BELAY – so he reached out for help with expense reports, travel arrangements and other miscellaneous projects.
Caitlin Smail came in to do just that – but not without some initial hesitation from Patrick.
“My hesitation [had] more to do with just not having done it this way before,” he says. “Caitlin wasn’t employed by us.”
But all it took was time and trust.
“The trust that’s been built up – it was built up in the same way it would have been had we been in the same office,” he shares. “And now, we’re definitely expanding the type of work that Caitlin is doing.”
But delegating and trusting Caitlin didn’t come easily – or naturally – to Patrick.
“You know the entrepreneurial spirit is to do it yourself,” he explains. “[And] I’ve always been of the thought of if you want something done right, you do it yourself. That’s how you got where you are, right? It’s your baby so it’s hard to let go.”
But let go he did, and Caitlin rose to each and every occasion by going above and beyond on every task, quickly and done well.
“Now, there are times when Caitlin will say, ‘Hey, don’t forget that I can also do this, this and this,’” he says. “I can say, ‘This is my thought; this is my high-level idea. Come back to me with the plan.’”
But then COVID hit, and they had to reimagine Caitlin’s role so she could help support the staff as they transitioned – like the rest of the non-essential world – to working from home.
And despite the odds, Caitlin – once again – rose to the occasion. So much so that they recently increased her hours.
“It’s easy to work hard for someone who trusts you and values your work,” Caitlin adds.
“We’re officially halfway through the year,” Patrick says. “And [we’re] celebrating the fact that we’ve managed to get through it. It’s been a heck of a year for us.”
“And when the buck stops with you, there’s a certain weight that goes with that,” he shares. “But I tell everyone who listens that I have the best job in insurance. I hired almost all the people I work with. I’m kind of living my best-case scenario.”
And Caitlin has proven to be a big part of that idyllic scenario.
“I think that just having that help and support gives him peace of mind to focus on the bigger things,” Caitlin shares. “As a whole, I’ve really just enjoyed working with the company. The whole team has made me feel welcome.”
And with peace of mind to keep his mind focused on bigger things, Patrick has just one request of those around him.
“I tell people all the time, ‘If you ever hear me complain, punch me in the neck.’”
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