Spotlight: Liz Kennon

Entrepreneurial Spotlight

It's a little embarrassing that it's taken us close to 2 years to spotlight the loverly Liz Kennon of Kennon Insurance.

Embarrassing because Liz has been one of our biggest supporters from Day 1 of Propelle launching. She was with us when we held our Networking Happy Hours at AVA Lounge. She transitioned with us to our new locations at places like The Pittsburgh Winery and SAVOY Restaurant. She's even transitioned with us online, being an integral part of our Rock It! Facebook Community.

It's also a bit embarrassing because Liz (and her father) provide an amazing resource for women entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh: she helps people find affordable health insurance.

All of that was the long-winded way to say that Liz is freakin' awesome.

You can learn more about her by reading her spotlight below. You can also stop by any Propelle event and get to know her in person. But honestly, we'd suggest you do both.

X+O

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Liz Kennon

Name: Liz Kennon Business: Kennon Insurance Consultants Job title: Vice President Website: kennoninsurance.com Twitter: @KennonInsurance Facebook: fb.com/KennonInsuranceConsultants

Introduce yourself as if you were speaking from the cockpit. This is very appropriate because I went to hear Sully Sullenberger the other night.  “Welcome to flight 15232. The skies are a little rough right now and there is expected turbulence. However, I can promise you that we will get you to the end of your journey safely (and insured).”

When did you earn your wings? My father actually started it over 40 years ago. I joined him in 2011 after ten years in Corporate Finance. With my father contemplating but not really embracing the possibility of retirement and the promise of the changes to come the in the world of health insurance, we decided he needed a co-pilot. Since then, the entire industry has transformed, as has our company. Personally, I have found my niche in seeking out entrepreneurs and small businesses like ours to help them how to figure out health insurance outside the sphere of a large employer-based plan. I learned A LOT when I went from top-notch corporate benefits to a company of two. I also realized how I certainly wasn’t prepared for the change in benefits and cost and that there was this growing population of Pittsburghers starting out in their own ventures who would need help in the transition.

If you could name a nail polish color after yourself of your business, what would it be? Hmm…well you almost always find me unpolished with minimal makeup in running clothes, so identifying with nail polish is a bit difficult! But for the business, I would say that normally we are a nice clear polish, deconstructing the confusion of health insurance for our clients. Right now, though, with the Health Care Reform issues, we might be more of a murky gray (with a clear layer on top of course)!

Not all flights are smooth. Tell us about how you handle turbulence in your business and life. Well, it’s a good thing that I have good mental health benefits!  The struggle of fighting my type-A personality in all aspects of my life has always been very difficult – I don’t really know how to relax. But it is a constant work in progress. Finding good networking friends has helped me get through those times when I feel very isolated in my home business with one coworker all the way in Washington County. Building a group of “work” friends is possible even when you don’t work in a typical office. Coffee dates to discuss work and life are essential. Luckily, my dad is also a very stable source of support.

Who is the wind beneath your wings? I am going to have to go with my dad/boss. Going into the family business is always risky, but it has been well worth the risk. My dad and I are closer than ever and we actually have fun with what we do. He has also been such a great mentor and supporter in my growth. Having a boss who knows all your anxiety triggers and typical reactions to stress doesn’t hurt either.

What's your advice to other women as they navigate the business world? Make sure you have health insurance.

Also, reach out!! Do not be shy. Go to networking events where you don’t know anyone and just put yourself out there. I have never had anyone rebuff my friendly introduction. My newfound confidence in just getting out there has grown my business and circle of friends dramatically. I used to be very shy, which if you know me now has definitely changed. But that only happened because I put myself out there–it gets easier every time until it becomes second nature.