Featured New York Life agent: Jayshree Patel
Have heart – will travel
Jayshree Patel, our Council president, will go anywhere to help a client – and make a friend for life.
Many Council presidents have traveled an unlikely path to the pinnacle of their careers, but perhaps none came quite so far as Jayshree Patel. Born in a small village in India, our 2012 president lived with her mother and four sisters in a modest home.
She arrived in the U.S. in 1993 at the age of 21, three years after marrying Nilam Patel. After settling in Chicago, she focused on learning English while working in her father-in-law’s grocery and video rental store. Her first child, Riddhi, was born in 1994, the same year that her husband went to work for us as an Agent and then as a partner. She had joined him by the time their second child, Pujan, was born four years later. The Patels had their third child, Dia, in 2004.
As Patel tells it, she has long recognized the importance of financial security. “I lost my dad when I was just three years old. I saw firsthand the impact that the absence of the breadwinner can have on a family.” These early lessons were a powerful motivator when she became a life insurance agent and her success came with determination and hard work.
A natural-born prospector, her first clients were the customers she grew to know at her father-in-law’s store, then referrals from friends and relatives, and ultimately referrals from her new clients. Boundless energy and enthusiasm, coupled with a radiant personality and professional demeanor, make her stand out in any roomful of strangers. Her first goal is always to establish a friendship: any talk of business comes later.
By 2011, Patel had been to Chairman’s Council a dozen times, including four at the Cabinet level (and one of these as a Zone First Vice President). However, she knew 2012 would be something special when she closed her single largest life case the first week of the new Council year.
“In 2010, I was at an airport in Frankfurt, Germany, waiting for a flight back from India when I saw another traveler from India tapping away on his laptop,” she explains. The businessman eventually became a close friend and then the client who gave her a huge head start on a run for the Council presidency (The president is determined by the number of council credits he/she has. In addition to attending all the Council meetings, the president is automatically admitted to the Advisory Board of Directors which meets with senior executives to discuss issues of mutual concern.)
While luck was certainly a factor in achieving the presidency, it’s clear that her victory was a virtuoso performance of sheer determination and hard work. Because she places a premium on face-to-face meetings, Patel spent the 2012 Council year driving more than 100,000 miles and taking more than 150 flights to clients in 30 states. “Many days, my body would say ‘no’, but my mind would say ‘yes,’” she recalls, noting that she typically works ten to twelve hour days.
“I love what I do,” she says simply. “I know that I am offering long-term security to clients and their families – now and for many years to come.”
Today, Patel has close to 3,000 clients with more than $1 billion in-force.
In her experience, one of the reasons people don’t buy life insurance is not because they don’t want it, but because they don’t really understand the product. “She’s able to explain it in laymen’s terms,” says Nilam Patel, who is also her business partner. “And her enthusiasm about doing the right thing rubs off on people.”