Brief Career Profile of Heath Ritenour, the Chairman and CEO of IOA
Some people feel they were born into it in the realm of business and leadership, while others almost accidentally fell into it. Heath Ritenour admired being a leader in the sports world but never thought he would lead an insurance company. He also never thought he would be battling cancer at the heights of his professional career. Nevertheless, he learned that keeping an open mind is the best way to succeed personally and professionally.
The Family and Its Humble Beginning
Mr. John Ritenour, Heath’s father, built the Insurance Office of America (IOA) from the ground into a successful company. He mentored his son to prepare him to take over the business someday in the future. It also made sense that his son would follow in his footsteps and lead the company, except Heath Ritenour didn’t want to.
Heath deeply admired his father and even emulated his hard work and ethics. While in college, Heath started his career as an intern at the company, where he watched and learned from the 8 IOA partner agents.
Putting In the Work
It’s easy to imagine that Heath Ritenour rose fast through the ranks in a company that his father had built. However, that wasn’t the case. Heath proudly took on the grueling work in the company for 12 years. He gained experience, knowledge, and relationships that you can only get when starting from the bottom.
The rejection was the most challenging part of his journey. Working from the bottom with all the cold calling made him realize that he shouldn’t focus on the failures. What mattered most was the value he offered his clients and the ethics of hard work that he could rely on to move forward.
Changing your Mindset
He stopped worrying about rejection and negativity and focused more on what was next. The change of attitude helped him raise his closure rates, and the clients started viewing him in a different light.
The New CEO
Heath Ritenour realized that while he didn’t get trained to take the realm, the people next in line would have taken the role for the wrong reasons. Therefore, in mid-2008, he took the position of the new CEO of IOA. The company got built to be different, caring, and innovative.
His decision wasn’t only good for his career but the greater good of the company. By the end of 2009, despite an extremely tough economy, IOA’s revenue rose by nearly $6 million.