Linda Thalheimer, a Long Term Care Specialist, author, and public speaker, was delighted to chat for a few moments in honor of International Day of the Girl 2023 for our exclusive series of interviews on women leaders in LTC. Linda’s passion and dedication are evident in all she does to help people plan for successful aging. Enjoy!
How long have you been in the LTC space and what attracted you to pursue this career path?
I have been in the LTC insurance space for 23 years. However, I spent 16 years in health care, so in total, my career has spanned 39 years.
Did you have any female role models? How did they support your career growth?
My mom was a great role model. She always worked part-time so that she could focus on the family. As soon as we were grown, my mother returned to school, got her master’s degree, and became the town’s first female director in the Special Needs Program. Having her as a unique role model enabled me to be patient with my career goals. My children were my priority.
I planned accordingly, got my master’s degree, was published in the American Association of Occupational Therapy Magazine, and was recognized as a National Speaker by Harvard’s Division on Aging before the birth of my first child. This preparation gave me a greater chance of quality part-time employment until I could turn on my career full-time. When my children went off to college, I jumped in with both feet and enjoyed the success of being an independent business owner. Becoming an LTC insurance specialist was a perfect career choice. It was a natural transition from health care and allowed for unending growth based on my commitment, education, and initiative. When I began my career, the financial world was primarily men. I enjoyed bringing a unique perspective to LTC planning.
Have you been a mentor?
I believe education, ethics, and compassion are the keys to success in any career. I love being a mentor to other LTC professionals. I am a regular presenter for the Buddyins Team, which provides ongoing education to other insurance and financial professionals. I am also on the CLTC (Certification for Long-Term Care) board of advisors and co-wrote the LTC Claims brochure to reinforce the importance of setting accurate expectations at the sale and how to guide an insured through the claims process to ensure the promises sold are kept. Teamwork is a critical part of ongoing learning. I have been fortunate throughout my career to have a team of LTC professionals who are always available to discuss complex cases or update each other on changes in the industry.
How have you helped an aspiring female professional pursue a career in long-term care insurance?
I met Maureen at a networking group and recognized that she was always prepared, well-spoken, and committed to excellence, ethics, and compassion. When I learned she had lost her job during COVID, I offered to hire and train her as a LTC specialist, so she would never depend on an employer and feel confident about being a self-employed business owner.
Can you share any memorable experiences or instances where your influence has brought about positive change in the industry?
Every time I present, I aid in influencing ethical sales behavior by identifying details of contracts, educating the importance of setting expectations and focusing on the client’s needs. I have always been quick to address change with insurance companies when I feel they are not fulfilling their promises to their clients.
What do you believe is the key to empowering more women to pursue leadership roles and become influencers in the long-term care insurance sector?
Many people who are looking into LTC have had or are in the process of caring for a parent or spouse. They are very vulnerable and could easily be taken advantage of. Women are especially good at supporting, patiently educating, and helping other women to take control of their financial futures. LTC insurance is a tree in the forest of financials. Therefore, women LTC specialists effectively empower women to take control of their financial forest as they plant the tree of LTC insurance.
How do you envision the future of female representation in the industry, and what steps do you believe should be taken to further promote gender equality and inclusivity?
I have already seen a significant increase in women in this industry. Cultivating a relationship is at the forefront of creating the trust to accept education and guidance through the LTC planning process. I expect more women to engage in this industry as women are uniquely poised to help other women.