In November of 2019, after six years with several national health insurance companies where she was an award-winning agent, Leslie Shields-Botvidson took the leap and went out on her own as an independent agency.
She didn’t know there was a pandemic just around the corner. But she prevailed through the lockdown and a tumultuous pregnancy.
Shields-Botvidson is plugged into the community, and is passionate about women’s empowerment and women’s rights, and co-founded She Dares, a women’s empowerment organization that has hosted successful networking and learning events.
“Health insurance is still a male-dominated industry, especially when it comes to building an agency. She is one of the very few women who have had the courage to take on the task of building a legitimate health insurance agency, and she is a leading force in her industry,” said her husband, Chris Botvidson of Fuel & Spark Media, who nominated her.
“Leslie has a unique combination of being a strategic thinker, a tenacious sales leader, and the ability to assemble and lead a winning team,” he said.
The couple welcomed Harrison David into the world Nov. 5, 2020, right in the middle of open enrollment, an extremely busy time of year for health insurance agents.
“I was horribly sick during my pregnancy while traversing the COVID lock-down and having just launched my agency. It was one of the toughest things I have ever experienced,” Leslie Shields-Botvidson said. “But so worth it. We have a beautiful baby boy and an agency that is soaring.”
– Paul K. Harral
Where did your first paycheck come from?
Culpepper’s Restaurant in Rockwall. I was a hostess. We had to wear extremely ’80s style khaki Wranglers and I always smelled like a steakhouse.
What movie, TV series, play or video game influenced you growing up?
Dirty Dancing is the greatest movie of all time!
What other profession would you like to try?
Politics! I love to be involved and I’m passionate about meaningful change. Local government provides a direct impact on our everyday lives. As a little girl, people used to tell me I could be the next Ann Richards! I still remember that. It must have left a lasting impression.
Tell us about an influential person in your life, how they influenced you and why he or she was important.
Probably my family. My husband is an entrepreneur and both of my parents own small businesses. My parents set an example of the lifestyle that working for yourself could provide. It was always hard work, but we got to do things like take three-week-long road trips since they were in control of their schedules. My husband has also been a huge support. As a business owner himself, he helped me learn how to ride the rollercoaster of being an entrepreneur. Now our son Harrison has inspired me to strive to be able to provide good jobs to other moms that offer flexibility and a pathway to success.
What is your favorite song?
Working 9 to 5, Dolly Parton
Tell us about your photo shoot prop.
My props are plants and elephants.
Plants are my therapy! Our house is a 1949 and the yard was completely overgrown with huge bushes when we moved in. When we pulled out the bushes, things began to grow back that had been covered up for decades! It’s like a treasure hunt to see what something is and what it will turn out to be! Most of my plants start as clippings or starters shared by friends.
The elephants are for my son. I was gifted the mama and baby elephant to represent the strength of the matriarchy and love for family. The painting is of [the Hindu god] Ganesha. I had it commissioned by an artist for his nursery while I was pregnant during COVID lockdown. Ganesha represents the remover of obstacles. It helps us remember that tomorrow is another day and that good things are coming.