In The Suite Podcast Episode 26: Inspiring Personal Financial Responsibility and Leadership in Life Insurance with Faisa Stafford, LUTCF, SHRM-SCP, President & CEO Life Happens

Faisa Stafford, LUTCF, SHRM-SCP, President & CEO Life Happens
Faisa Stafford, LUTCF, SHRM-SCP, President & CEO Life Happens
Faisa Stafford, LUTCF, SHRM-SCP, President & CEO Life Happens

We’re thrilled to welcome Faisa Stafford, LUTCF, SHRM-SCP to In The Suite. Faisa is C-Suite Leadership queen. She’s held roles from COO to CFO to CEO and President.  Faisa aims to inspire personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and she seeks to help other women who want to grow in their careers. 

Faisa is Chief Executive Officer and President of Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers understand personal financial responsibility through life insurance. 

She’s passionate about streamlining processes to better serve the industry and Life Happens’ members. Prior to her role as Life Happens CEO and President, she served as the COO and CFO for more than 10 years. 

As the company’s first female CEO, Faisa has seen Life Happens grow from every angle. She’s worked at Life Happens since 2003 back when it was called The LIFE Foundation, a small non-profit fledgling working its way to fly out of the nest with the other birds of prey. Well, they flew the coop big-time! Now Life Happens has Brooke Shields as a spokesperson. 

They even host a Life Lessons Scholarship Program where qualified entrants are eligible for scholarship money based on an essay or video submissions about how the death of a parent impacted their lives. Faisa tells us a tear-jerking, incredible story of one of the recipients. We don’t want to spoil it, so make sure you listen to the episode!

Faisa began her career in accounting with several private technology and real-estate businesses based in Washington, D.C. Faisa is a Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) and SHRM Certified Professional. SHRM stands for the Society for Human Resource. 

She’s in the business of giving people a sense of certainty and control. Faisa talks to us about how financial literacy is learned at home and that she didn’t learn it at home. She didn’t want her children to have to figure it out alone, so she made it her life. 

“This is it. Life insurance, that’s how you take care of someone you love,” says Faisa. Life insurance should be a normalized dinner table topic. Let’s add it to the discussion docket along with talking about the weather. 

Faisa’s advice is to look at your needs for life insurance, so that you have a starting point. That way, when you’re starting to talk with an advisor, you understand your unique needs and can articulate them. She reminds us about the importance of how life insurance is not about the product but rather about the people it’s designed to help.

Like a library stacked with books, Faisa contains a wealth of knowledge. “Buy life insurance. Get your finances in order. Make an emergency fund and teach your children,” Faisa tells us. Plus, she introduces us to box breathing, a technique of taking slow, deep breaths to heighten performance and concentration. 

Don’t miss Faisa’s wise words on all things life insurance, why financial literacy starts at home, the importance of adding new skill sets to your career, and so much more throughout the episode. 

  1. Talk to your loved ones about life insurance. Now is the perfect time to have a discussion with your loved one about life insurance. Talk about your finances and start taking action. Really take action. It has never been easier to buy life insurance or to get financial advice. The application process for life insurance is simpler than it has ever been. Plus… “Everyone is on Zoom, everyone’s online,” says Faisa. So now’s the time.
  2. Add to your career skills every year. If you’re staying with an employer for a long time, you should feel refreshed and invigorated by the new things you’re doing and learning, not bogged down by the monotony. Each year you should add something, big or small, to your personal skill set. It can be really rewarding.
  3. When in doubt, try box breathing. In the episode, she quickly walks us through the technique. The box breathing technique really centers you. When Faisa felt overwhelmed as in the early stages of the pandemic, she was doing a lot of box breathing.

Show Notes:

It’s a joy to welcome our guest, Faisa Stafford, LUTCF, SHRM-SCP to In The Suite. She’s a leader, a Mom, and a CEO who is passionate about streamlining processes to better serve the industry and Life Happens’ members. Prior to her role as Life Happens CEO and President, she served as the COO and CFO for more than 10 years. 

As the company’s first female CEO, Faisa has seen Life Happens grow from every angle. She’s worked at Life Happens since 2003 back when it was called The LIFE Foundation, a small non-profit fledgling working its way to fly out of the nest with the other birds of prey. Well, they flew the coop big-time! Now Life Happens has Brooke Shields as a spokesperson. 

Faisa Stafford is Chief Executive Officer of Life Happens, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers take personal financial responsibility with life insurance. Faisa balances leadership, direction, and coordination of the Life Happens non-profit while serving the Life Happens board and its stakeholders. 

Faisa dives into what’s it’s like being a woman of color in a male-dominated FinServ industry. “At some point, my work was bigger than what I look like,” she says. If you want to understand more about being a woman in finance and about why this is the best time ever to get life insurance, listen to this episode! 

Join the conversation to hear about:

  • A warm welcome to Faisa Stafford (04:30)
  • Why life insurance speaks to stability (08:15)
  • Working with Brooke Shields as the Life Happens spokesperson (10:25)
  • How can we emerge stronger and more resilient after a crisis (15:05)
  • Faisa’s advice for determining your life insurance policy (19:25)
  • Why financial literacy starts at home (25:45)
  • Empowering young adults with the Life Lessons Scholarship Program (29:10)
  • Faisa tells us about her LUTCF, SHRM-SCP credentials (36:25)
  • The importance of adding new skill sets to your career (42:45)
  • Becoming yourself in a male-dominated industry (46:30)
  • Working successfully in a virtual environment (54:00)
  • Faisa introduces us to her superpower: box breathing! (56:35)

Referenced Materials

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