The Lead. Empower. Grow. Podcast episode this week features Mahider Mulugeta, an Area Marketing Director who has been at the forefront of helping families secure their legacies through financial education. We spoke to Mahi about his success, including his background in storytelling and how he uses those skills to promote financial capability to families in need.
See below for an excerpt of our conversation — you can listen to the full episode here.
What did life look like for you before joining First Financial Security?
Six years ago, I was in a different world. I was in the media and communications business. I was a journalist. I was in the marketing business at the same time; I was in advertising. I really love telling stories — meeting people, understanding how people really think. That is what I was doing.
I moved here in 2015. I had two kids. I was a full-time husband, chasing the American dream. I am originally from Ethiopia. After I came here, I started to understand the dynamics of this economy and found out there was a huge gap in financial literacy.
So, I started selling car insurance, property and casualty products, stuff like that. I found that to be very transactional, but it helped me understand exactly how people are living. I started asking questions for myself and ended up becoming a financial adviser.
I am originally from Ethiopia. After I came here, I started to understand the dynamics of this economy and found out there was a huge gap in financial literacy.
How did you make the leap to life insurance? Why did those products and policies appeal to you?
I started asking questions at the same time: “Where do I find the type of product that helps?” I like helping people. People are struggling to own homes. There are tragedies that people cannot help themselves out of or come back from. So many people out there are living paycheck-to-paycheck. I wanted to understand the root of that.
So many people out there are living paycheck-to-paycheck. I wanted to understand the root of that.
Helping people understand the opportunity to change their habits and mindset is vital. People only have so much they can spend a day. If they save a portion of that and avoid poor saving habits, they can build a life. It comes from the individuals themselves. My job is to show people solutions and guide them. I am in the business of connecting dots.
My job is to show people solutions and guide them. I am in the business of connecting dots.
What were some of the challenges you faced building that business and how did you overcome them?
One challenge that I faced was in the way we did business. I was pretty much going to people’s kitchen table, or they would come to my office — we would sit down face-to-face. Then, when I joined FFS, it was the start of the pandemic. Suddenly, we could not go outside and meet people. How am I going to explain all these complex issues through a small Zoom lens? Am I going to really understand the dynamics of each family? That was a tough transition.
But, at the same time, it opened up a huge opportunity. I cannot fly to four states in a single day. Technology gave me an opportunity to meet with new people in different states, people four or five hours away from here, all in a single day. I expanded my business exponentially, to Minnesota, Texas and elsewhere. I can help someone who is 1,000 or 2,000 miles away from here through Zoom. That was an evolution for me.
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