Colleen Shelby’s path to becoming CEO of instaCOVER has taken many twists and turns. The journey began when she dipped her toe into the leasing industry after college, working for a company that pioneered automatic insurance for leased equipment. But insurance and leasing failed to grab the attention of a hard-charging professional in her early 20s, so after the stint in leasing, she moved on, finding more excitement doing continuing medical education and clinical trial management for medical devices in Europe and Central America. But fate brought her back to leasing, as she was would accept a role at instaCOVER to lead a new medical device insurance initiative, eventually rising the ranks to become CEO in January 2020.
At instaCOVER, Shelby wears many hats. In addition to having responsibility for the strategic direction and the bottom line of the company, she drives business development and mentors the team. In her first few months as CEO, the COVID-19 pandemic forced instaCOVER staff to evacuate the office with little notice. While that time was stressful and “a little scary,” Shelby nurtured and supported her team through the challenge and the business never faltered. Under her leadership, the company has launched several new products and instaCOVER has experienced company-record growth over the last two-plus years.
In addition to her role at instaCOVER, Shelby is also a partner at TRI EX Capital Partners, a mid- to large-ticket leasing company providing funding solutions for lease brokers across the United States. Teaming up with TRIEX has provided Shelby with great insight into the leasing industry and the needs of brokers and funders, lending her a better perspective on how leasing works.
Shelby’s “people first, business second” philosophy builds a connection with others that makes working together much more productive and fun. Regardless of the hat she is wearing, her superpower is cultivating and maintaining relationships, as she values the opinions, needs and dreams of those in her orbit. Shelby disagrees with the notion that business isn’t personal because she knows any business decision, whether it be easy or difficult, impacts people. To Shelby, it is important to always recognize that people matter, as people on a team and customers create the framework and culture of a company, meaning business is very much personal. “We really love Colleen and instaCOVER! Colleen has always been solution oriented. She has the ability to think outside the box and works tirelessly to help us help our customers,” Kevin Islip, a partner at Sun First Equipment Finance, a client of instaCOVER, says. “When we are with Colleen, she makes us feel like we are the most important customer she has and we are her No. 1 priority. She is a joy to work with and the insurance product she brings us has helped us to be able to close and fund deals more effectively, Colleen is a true professional.”
“Don’t let the self-doubt voices in your head ever be louder than the voice that believes in you,” Shelby says. “Reach for your potential, and when you get there, keep reaching because I promise you, you can go further than you ever believed possible.”
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