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Haley Saalsaa, AVID Risk Solutions

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Haley Saalsaa, client executive, AVID Risk Solutions.

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1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The most challenging aspect of my job is prospecting for new business and being able to help prospective clients see the value of my service. Professionals in service industries universally know that success depends upon gaining the trust and respect of their clients. Since I am early in my career, I focus on earning their respect by being pleasantly persistent and a passionate advocate for the services that I believe will benefit the client. I know I’ve done my job well when a client tells me that they wish they had met me sooner. It shows me that I was able to gain their respect and helped them sleep more soundly at night knowing their business is properly protected, even more so if there was a financial savings involved. This is personally rewarding and validates why I entered my career — I truly enjoy helping people.

2. Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I admire my father, Bret Saalsaa, the most for the way he treats his employees and customers. I am grateful to have had such a great role model to shape my values on conducting business. I learned from a young age that when you treat your employees fairly and help them grow as individuals and accomplish their dreams, they will pass on the same respect to the customers. This knowledge is very powerful because it taught me how I wanted to be treated and how best to treat others.

3. What has been the high point of your career so far?

It’s hard to identify my Mount Everest of high points, as my career itself is only in the early stages. Instead, I have had multiple high points where I have had the opportunity to prove to myself and others what I can accomplish. I continually seek to position myself in the community as someone who can connect individuals, who volunteers time, and has a passion for helping others.

4. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

It is key to realize that it is impossible to predict how what you are doing right now will affect your career and future. While you can choose how and where to start your career, the course of that career will be influenced by opportunities beyond your control. I believe that staying passionate and curious about subjects you are interested in will open many doors and lead you to where you should be in life. Connect with anyone who you think fits your values and passions. Stay connected and never be afraid to reach out. There are so many experiences that might not make sense at the time, experiences you might enjoy but don’t know why, yet every encounter and situation are ultimately brushstrokes contributing to a “masterpiece.” I would end with my favorite quote: “Keep your face always towards the sunshine — and shadows will fall behind you.” — Walt Whitman.

(Continued)

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