Thea featured in Insurance Business Magazine

(Originally published HERE)

From the MasterChef kitchen to the offices of Shaw Sabey & Associates – this Insurance Business Young Gun certainly knows how to keep her cool and tackle any difficult situation.

Dorothea VanHerwaarden has a plethora of accomplishments under her belt at the age of 30. The talented millennial has launched Shaw Sabey & Associates’ private client group, which provides tailored, VIP service to high-net worth clients and has more than doubled the group’s book of business within its first year.

At the end of 2016, she expanded the department to provide personal lines services to the Shaw Sabey commercial sales team, and helped develop a unique service offering to help producers target and grow their personal lines business.

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The “sky’s the limit” for VanHerwaarden, who was recognized by Shaw Sabey with the company’s Entrepreneurial Award in 2015 and 2016. She’s also a star in the kitchen and featured as a contestant on the fourth season of MasterChef Canada.

We caught up with VanHerwaarden to find out what gave her a taste for insurance…

How did you get started in the industry? 
After sustaining a serious injury, I became interested in liability which led me down the ‘rabbit hole’ of insurance. I decided to test the waters and get licenced. The rest is history …

What are the best parts of your job?
Watching the success and growth of my department is very gratifying. I started with just myself and we grew to a team of seven in under a year, with the key aim of servicing our clients to the highest standards. Having a team that are not only experts in their field, but also work with unity and respect is a direct result of the departmental success. I also enjoy being a leader in sales and mentoring others who want to continue their individual growth.

What challenges have you faced in your role? 
Personally, time management has been a struggle for me in my current role. Having said that, I have learned to delegate tasks to help free up time.

What have you learned from your current place of work?
Being with Axis Group, which includes Shaw Sabey & Associates, has helped me form into a leader. Our group of companies has had many changes and we have doubled in size since I started. It has also strengthened my skillset to problem solve, think on my toes, and create new innovative ways to make our company stand out. We have a fantastic group!

What advice would you give to someone working their way up the insurance ladder? 
Make sure you’re passionate about the specific industry you’re working in because you will perform better when you work in the area you’re most interested in. With that in mind, you have to be patient. Getting to a different place takes time (especially if you don’t have the experience yet). Set long-term goals and make your goals known to your team and management. No-one can help you reach your aims if they don’t know where you are headed.

If you want to be successful, you have to put in the time – no-one gets free handouts by showing up on time and doing the minimum. Lastly, don’t be afraid to bring up ideas you believe will help your company stand out in the industry. Whether it be ways to reduce time on processing to company morale, bringing up ideas helps management know you care about the success of the company.

If you weren’t working in insurance, what would you be doing?
I’d be 100% focused on growing my personal brand and continuing my adventures with food. Currently I have a blog,, where I share meals and travel while working in partnerships with other brands that include work in TV, online and prints.

What is your favourite hobby?
Combining food, wine and travel is my favourite hobby. I mean, what could be better?!