Air Force Reserve veteran Glynda Finister has big plans for her future. She’ll soon start work as an Insurance Agent for Washington National Insurance Agency–where she’s already on track for a management position. She’s back in school taking IT courses and pursuing several business certifications. She’s also in the process of re-launching her health care recruiting business. Finister is charging full speed ahead, but her road to success hasn’t been easy.
In fact, it all started when she lost her job. “I was the Assistant Vice President of a Fortune 500 company, and then I was laid off in 2005,” says Finister. After working 26 years in the finance industry and earning a six figure salary, she should have been entering the golden years of her career. Instead, at age 47, she was starting over.
Yet, Finister wasted no time planning her next move. Tired of the travel demands of her former job, she wanted something close to home with decent pay, and she decided to look into the health care industry.
“I decided to start a work-from-home business as a Health Care Recruiter, and I recruited critical care nurses,” says Finister. She quickly found she was well-suited for the health care field and enjoyed the work, but after a few years her business started to fail. “Because of the Great Recession I ran out of capital to run the business and started downsizing.” In 2010, Finister finally had to put her entrepreneurial dreams on hold, and for the next few years she struggled to find a job with decent pay and a minimum travel requirement.
However, Finister refused to give up. In 2013, she found a temporary position as a Live Chat Assistant with Anthem Blue Cross and Shield, and while at Anthem, she learned of an opportunity that could revamp her career in health care.
“They were in desperate need of Health Plan Advisors, and they were hiring fast,” explains Finister. If she applied and got the job, her salary would increase and she would have more opportunities for advancement. However, in order to be considered, she needed to hold a Life and Health Insurance License, which she didn’t have. And while she was eager to sign up for the exam to qualify, the study materials she needed were not within her budget.
Finister knew she needed help if she was going to accomplish her career goals. She decided to reach out to Military Veterans Resource Center and sent an email to MVRC Career Specialist Kelley Koons explaining her situation.
“I asked Kelley for financial help in getting the license, and I got it,” says Finister.
MVRC paid for the textbook, and when the accompanying CD didn’t work, the college that supplied the materials refunded the payment, which Koons used to pay for the fingerprinting and background check that accompany the licensure exam.
“The test is hard; you need to score a 70 to pass, and not everyone passes,” says Koons. Finister studied her new materials every weekend for three months and scored a 78. “It felt great to pass,” says Finister. “I was glad to have employable skills again, especially working in health care, which is now my field of choice.”
After obtaining her license, Finister’s career has taken off. She got promoted to the Health Plan Advisor position with Anthem, and then later took a job as a Premium Auditor for another insurance company. Now, she’s ready for the Territory Manager position with the Washington National Insurance Agency, where she’ll hire and manage insurance agents and receive a commission on their insurance sales, as well as her own.
For all of you older veterans or job seekers struggling to find employment, Finister has a few words of advice. “Go back to school if you have to. I’m 56 years old. It’s never too late.”