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Sheena Tracy ’04: Taking a Family Business High-Tech
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Sheena Tracy ’04 is making a mark in a field that she never planned to enter.
Joining the family insurance business was not on the radar when Tracy returned to Connecticut after graduation. Instead, the former Finance major became an analyst.
“I left after a year; the job wasn’t right,” she explains. While seeking another position, she lent a hand at Gerard B. Tracy Associates, the insurance brokerage founded by her grandfather and managed by her father.
“He immediately got me involved with meeting the current clientele and building relationships. I fell in love with the business,” says Tracy, who is now a vice president at the 65-year-old firm.
That passion led her to put a high-tech spin on the traditional process of insurance shopping. In early July, she and brother Tim launched a web-based insurance company (www.insuringct.com) to serve individuals and small-business owners in Connecticut. Health insurance is a particular focus.
“Everyone seems to be overwhelmed by their health insurance options,” notes Tracy, who saw clients’ confusion firsthand while working at the firm’s Westport headquarters. The new web site enables people to easily review different insurance plans, compare benefits, and even apply online.
“They can also talk with us face-to-face,” she adds. “Having a local contact and good customer service sets us apart from other web-based insurance companies.”
Public response has been favorable; potential customers are visiting the site daily. Commissions are paid directly by individual insurance carriers such as Aetna, Cigna, and ConnectiCare.
“It’s exciting to build a technology-based business from the bottom up. People buy everything online. Why not insurance?” says Tracy, whose focus is marketing and budgets. “Bentley gave me the entrepreneurial skills I needed for this job and a strong background in many areas, not just finance.”
She credits much of the firm’s success to a positive family dynamic. “We’ve been able to balance our personal and business relationships. It’s all about having mutual respect, and giving constructive criticism and positive reinforcement.
“It’s amazing to be able to say that I already know my career path,” adds the 27-year-old Tracy. “It can take some people a lifetime.”
Bentley University’s Co-Provost and Dean of Arts and Sciences Daniel Everett talked with us recently about a wide range of topics, including being featured in a new book by Tom Wolfe, two of his own upcoming books, the importance of studying the origins of language, and the value of a fusion approach to business education.