OTracy Wong of Insurance Solutions
Nurturing the business ecosystem of Hawai’i
By Sarah Hodges
It takes many hands to nurture and bring alive strong healthy businesses. Tracy Wong, CIC, MBA, has created her own business, Insurance Solutions, which in turn provides a sturdy, bolstering hand to a select group of businesses in Hawai’i. And of course, as all thriving symbiotic relationships go, those businesses in turn help sustain Insurance Solutions.
“Most insurance people simply fall into the insurance field,” explains Tracy. She was no exception. Many years ago, during a passing interaction with one of her colleagues, Tracy agreed to hear him out about an idea to leave her position at State Farm and become an independent insurance agent. They met for a run around Ala Moana beach park, and she listened to him tell his own story about becoming an independent insurance contractor. By the end of their run, Tracy was convinced. She felt a new, exciting direction lay ahead on her path. She became an independent agent in the 1990s.
In 2002 Tracy encountered the “new to town” company named Prometheus Construction, started by Cliff and Renée Tillotson with another partner. As she does with all prospective clients, Tracy listened closely to the company’s founding story and decided she could trust in the people behind the service. Because Tracy went to bat for this brand new company, Prometheus Construction was able to get insured for its first of an ongoing stream of jobs on the islands ever since..
Working together with a positive team and supportive community makes any endeavor that much more meaningful and successful. After serving O’ahu as an independent insurance agent for many years, Tracy next decided to take the leap of faith and become an Agency Owner of Insurance Solutions.
As Tracy shares with me her journey of stepping into her own company, I can hear the enthusiasm lighting up her voice. She is truly passionate about each of the businesses that her company supports with advice, promotional help and networking – not simply an insurance policy. Renée Tillotson reports that Tracy was instrumental in guiding Prometheus through a difficult workman’s comp case. Rather than letting the injured worker languish alone at home, Tracy advised bringing him back into the workforce as soon as possible with small, manageable tasks. It took almost a year, but the worker retained his feeling of self-worth and his connection to the company by contributing in small ways until he recovered and finally returned to his full job. “Tracy’s guidance was invaluable,” says Renée.
In creating her business, Tracy very intentionally created a company culture with an uplifting and harmonious work environment. Tracy even established an annual new year’s goal-setting session where she and her employees each determine both a work goal and personal goal. During one of these goal-setting sessions, Tracy felt the spark of an idea. Times were changing, and she was eager to keep fresh and hear the ideas and perspectives of the younger generations coming into the field. She decided to return to school. In 2014 Tracy received her Master’s in Business Administration from Chaminade University. A true lifelong learner! St. Francis Healthcare System honored Tracy with the St. Marianne Award the next year. Like St. Marianne, Tracy demonstrates tenacity, perseverance, hard work, and gracefulness – in this case while tackling business issues.
“Wellness is a huge part of what makes a company sustainable,” Tracy explains. “People need to be in an environment where they enjoy what they are doing. The other part of creating a sustainable business involves having a succession plan,” says Tracy. With the overall wellness of the company established, the final piece fell into place when Tracy’s niece Erin moved back to the island from Portland. She has joined the Insurance Solutions team and is preparing to take on Tracy’s responsibilities once it’s time.
“My greatest joy is seeing our customers bring on the next generations in their business leadership, and seeing them flourish. Many of the businesses we work with such as Chuck E. Cheese and Young’s Fish Market are already a couple of generations in. It’s wonderful to see this succession happening.” She loves seeing Cliff and Renée’s son Govi taking on so much responsibility in Prometheus Construction as he prepares for eventual ownership.
Today, Tracy, Erin and Insurance Solutions insure customers as diverse as Ice Palace, Royal Contracting, and our very own Still & Moving Center. “My philosophy is less is more, meaning go for customers with margins – the ones with potential for strong growth,” explains Tracy. Insurance Solutions works with clients who are passionate, gaining great accolades for their special service, adding positively to the Hawaii landscape. These clients are passionate and dedicated in their fields, as well as a joy to work with. As Tracy describes her ideal customers, I hear a description that fits her work ethic to a T.
Bringing people together is really what makes any business or space a healthy and sustainable environment. 16 years in, Tracy Wong’s Insurance Solutions is one of those meaningful contributors to the thriving business ecosystem of Hawaii.
Learn more and connect with Tracy Wong and Insurance Solutions at www.ins-solve.com
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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)