Kitty Ambers – CEO of NetVU


Kitty Ambers - CEO of NetVU

Few people in the world understand the insurance industry as thoroughly as Kitty Ambers. Kitty started work at her family insurance agency as a teenager, and became officially licensed in 1984. Since then she has worked as an independent consultant and educator, served as executive director of the AIMS society, and was director of member services for the PIA of Virginia and the District of Columbia before she began working at NetVU, where she has been serving as CEO since 2015.

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster?  Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where Michael Jans discusses the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent and broker with the industries leading figures.


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[Transcript] Kitty Ambers – CEO of NetVU

Michael Jans: Hello, everybody this is Michael Jans with Agency Revolution. We make it easy to automate your systems, engage your customers or grow your agency or brokerage. I want to welcome you to this episode of the connected insurance podcast, where we examine for you the trends, innovations, challenges and solutions to the biggest problems facing retail agents and brokerage today.

Today’s guest is very special, a long-time friend of mine and somebody who is in a very important leadership position in the industry Kitty Ambers, is the CEO of NetVU the user group for Vertafore customers. She has been a licensed agent for 30-plus years. But importantly, she was also like many people in the industry, raised in it. Her father and her family started a scratch agency and grew it to be very successful. She served as an independent consultant and educator.

She was the executive director of the AIMS Society which sponsors the CPIA program and she was the director of member services for the PIA Virginia and the District of Columbia. Kitty’s responses to some of the questions that I put to her about not only the changes that we’ve seen over the last 30 years but some of the changes that we’re probably going to be seeing in the very, very near future are poignant and profound.

I want to encourage you to pay attention to what Kitty Ambers has to say. She’s somebody that we all need to listen to. Without further ado, my friend Kitty Ambers.

Kitty Ambers, delighted to be able to spend a little time with you and to give you an opportunity to share what you think is happening in this industry. Thanks for joining us. How are you?

Kitty Ambers: I am fantastic, Michael. Thank you so much for having me.

Michael: All right.

Kitty: Looking forward to our chat.

Michael: I’m going to ask you hard questions so-

Kitty: Oh, boy, maybe I’m not.

[laughter]

Michael: Buckle up, okay?

Kitty: All righty.

Michael: Kitty, let’s do a little bit of background first. You’ve been in this game for a long time, maybe you don’t want me to say this but you’ve actually been in it longer than Michael Jans.

Kitty: Hard to believe.

Michael: Hey, come on. You’re way younger than I am, but I did some stuff before I did this. Okay, so you’re still my little sister.

Kitty: Okay.

Michael: Obviously, we’ve seen a lot of change. So first thing I want to ask you to do, give a thumbnail sketch of your journey in the industry and how you got to be in frankly a very important position in the industry now.

Kitty: It’s been an interesting journey. It’s been a fantastic journey. I am DOB, daughter of the boss, so I started in this industry actually a third generation daughter-of-the-boss but I started in this —

Michael: I didn’t know that.

Kitty: Yes.

Michael: Yes, I didn’t know.

Kitty: I started in this industry in my dad’s agency. I got licensed and I always tell people that my first spring break in college was spent in Pittsburgh in licensing school and, man, you ought to see the video. Its amazing [chuckles] but that’s for another conversation. But in all fairness, I wanted to pitch in and help my folks build their agency and they wanted to get automated. It was back in 1984. I became a licensed Life Health and Property Casualty Agent so that I could fill in as the extra CSR as we manually load all of our client data onto our first agency management system.

Michael: Let me interrupt for just a second. What was the name of the agency management system?

Kitty: It was Redshaw.

Michael: Right on, okay.

Kitty: That was my introduction to the starts of the onset of technology and the business. Then, I actually have an insurance degree out of college and came and spent time in our agency learning all facets of our agency. Then, I left the agency to go to work for one of the state associations and ran their membership and education departments and got a really interesting background on where the challenges in the field were.

I realized how lucky I was to work for the agency that I worked for even though it was my parents agency that really had the forethought to really think about systems and workflows that were designed around serving the customer. That concept goes all the way back to before we had computers BC.

Michael: BC, yes.

Kitty: But the concept was still, are you organizing around your convenience or you’re organizing for your customers. I’ve grown up with that mindset and so as we’ve gone from paper to, yes we got a management system. I remember running batches at the end of the day. It was all on a wheel printer and all of that craziness. Then we got our first company that came in and said,”Hey you can rate by the computer and look we’ve got this disk, this floppy disk.”

Michael: The floppy disk, yes.

Kitty: To me, that sounds like a problem now but that was the latest thing.

Michael: These were the decisions that faced agency principles and management back then, like a generation or so ago. Those are big decisions about technology, transforming and what do we need to adopt. What’s going to work? What’s a trend or what’s a fad, right?

Kitty: Right, absolutely.

Michael: Like you said, I do remember questions like, “Well, should we have computers?” Then its, “Should we have agency management systems?” They were pretty transformative and difficult decisions for people to make. I also remember, “Should we have fax machines?” So we’ve seen a lot of change.

Kitty: That trend just continues. I guess because I have always started with, “Hey, what’s new? What’s coming? What makes sense from a business perspective in our market?” I look at technology today with the same eye. What are we doing and how is it going to make our business better, serve our customers better? It’s back to the why would we do it? Why would we make the investment?

Michael: All right. So Kitty, if my numbers are accurate, back to when you and I were getting engaged or when you were getting engaged in the industry, it was generally reported, there were about 80,000 independent insurance agencies. Then we went through like a big period of consolidation mergers and acquisitions. Obviously, some went out of business. But as agency principles got older, sometimes they had to face the decision about whether or not they wanted to invest in the new wave of technology, and frankly, it was easier and maybe appropriate for some just to say, “No I’m not going to do it. I’m ready to run the book out a little bit or merge.”

Now, at least in the US, we got about half that numbers and the numbers held steady for a lot longer than people had anticipated. What I’m getting to is that we see phase changes. We see periods of phase change, where it’s like water becomes ice or water becomes steam. It’s like, still H2O but it’s really, really different. I think a lot of people are saying we are on the precipice, one of those phase changes now, brought about by changes in consumer behavior.

They’re online and brought about by new waves of technology that help us use the internet.Use technology, use automation and perhaps now brought about by the impending, emerging massive investments that are made and maybe competitive channels. So circle back to the big picture, you have a broad perspective Kitty on this industry. You’ve been looking at it. It’s been in your blood for more than 30 years, all right.

Kitty: [Laughs].

Michael: A lot of people would say, this is a time when agents need to be vigilant. They need to be awake. They need to be alert. I’m curious what you see from your position as the — what’s the title, CEO of NetVU?

Kitty: CEO, yes.

Michael: CEO of NetVU. So you’re in a unique position to be engaged on one hand with technology all the time and also with the real-life day to day operations of agents all the time. What do you want to say to them about the trend that are happening right now?

Kitty: That is a very big question and a very broad question.

Michael: Yes, okay. Take it anywhere you want.

Kitty: I was going to say if I had to distill it down and really just still around 30,000-foot level, but really looking at how we’re investing time and energy and effort to build and grow our businesses. Obviously, technology is here to stay. Obviously, it’s a very significant piece of the expense, what can be viewed as the expense category. So we really need to be looking at what we are investing in, the technology.

Don’t just do it because it’s cool. Don’t just do it because your neighbor did it. Why? Why do you need it? What do you need it for? What are you trying to accomplish? I think the beauty of the independent agent system is the independence of the various players. So they’re all going to use technology differently and that’s why I just feel like it’s so important to just sit back and understand what are you trying to do with this stuff.

Is mobile first the most important thing to you? One of the things that we are seeing a lot of. Do I anticipate that the majority of my customers are truly in that percentage that is going to access their business mobility? Is there major, major corporations and you’re doing risk management at this very high level with very sophisticated risks? My guess is, not so much because the needs are so much more sophisticated.

Whereas, if I do a lot of personalizing and that’s where I’m good, and that’s where I can really see growth, then absolutely. I know my customers are going to want to see their ID card on their phone. I think it’s all about seeing the cool stuff and deciding what’s right for me and my business model.

I go back to when I went to work for an insurance company for a time, and it was really interesting because they were a startup company striving to be paperless as they start up the insurance company. So the technology obviously was a big part of this. But, one of the things that I’ve had the opportunity to do was appoint our first 50 agents. I remember us going out, the marketing team would go out, and of the first 50 we appointed, one had had a business plan.

So it’s like going on vacation. If you don’t know where you are going, how the heck are you going to go there? How are you going to have a great time along the way?

Michael: Kitty, back then, that was so– So is one out of 50 a with a business plan. So if you are going to that same exercise today, what do you hope you’d find?

Kitty: I hope because we’ve been preaching that first for so long that it would be higher, but I’m not sure that I’m completely convinced that there’s truly an effort made in strategic planning. We talk about all these coming trends. In fact, I was on a call earlier this week talking about the various emerging trends and their impact on insurance, the things like driverless cars, things like the internet of things and smart homes and just all of that.

If I’m sitting back as a business owner and you talk about being alert and awake and paying attention, I’m thinking about, “Okay, these are my customers. How is this impacting their businesses and how is that going to impact mine? Gee, by the way, what risks do I probably need to help them be aware of as they look at embracing these technologies to drive their businesses?”

I think about fiber today and just all of the stories we hear about these fiber breaches and how they happen. I’m sitting here in Texas and the police department got hacked earlier this week, one of the community police department. By a ransom ware virus, somebody in the office clicked on it and it wiped out all of their body-cam video and suspect photos, and apparently, that’s what was on the server that got hacked into. Yes, it’s the police department.

Michael: Well, that could have pretty fairly serious consequences if they lost evidence.

Kitty: Exactly.

Michael: These are big issues. So I want to circle back to something you said. I think you used the term — Maybe I’m being poetic but I think you used the term “the beauty of the independent agency system.” It does have some inherent strengths. What do you think they are? I mean this has been your system forever, right? And mine too, so maybe we both have a bias, but I think we are both — maybe we have been around long enough to be realistic about it.

There are other ways that people can buy insurance and I think I can make a not so bold prediction that in the next year or two years, three years, there will be more ways that people can buy insurance. What do you think it is? What is it about this system that makes it special? What’s unique? What’s its differentiator?

Kitty: Well, I think that — I’ll have to tell you a story about when my oldest son came to me with an idea. But to answer your question before the story, we are talking about a very sophisticated system and we don’t know that until the claim happens or till the unforeseen happen. You can’t really always address that with an internet purchase solution and I guess it’s the education bit.

I see machines learning changing our business because it’s going to be one of things where, “Yes, I have questions. No, maybe I’ not going to call an agent but I’m going to be a responsible consumer and I’m going to figure this out for myself,” and machine learning has some opportunity there.

I always told people when I was teaching new agents, I said, “Yes, the ACORD Forms are great for grabbing the rating detail. But to really help your customer, you need to know about their lifestyle. You need to know about their interests. You need to know what motivates them because that helps me put together a comprehensive risk assessment and truly be a good adviser.” It’s not just about values and limits and — It’s about life.

It’s about how you operate your business and what your plans are going forward because we all hear about risk management techniques, things like avoidance. If somebody is about to make a really dumb business investment, it might be wise for us to help them understand the insurance ramifications of that decision, whether it’s doing business out of the country and ramifications there around workers and vehicles and property.

There is so much that we can help be good advisers at if we’re solid insurance professionals at the heart. Now, my son’s story. He came to me and he said, “Mom, I think we should buy an insurance agency.” I said, “Honey, I just got out of one.”

Michael: When was this? Recently?

Kitty: He was 18. He was about to finish college. He was a little younger but he was about to finish college and he was thinking about what he was going to do after college. He was very involved in aviation, pilot flight instructor, part owner of a flight school and he said, “I understand all about aviation, so I think we should buy an insurance agency and I can run the aviation division. It’s just taking a test, right?” I said, “Well honey, there is a little bit more to it than that.”

We talked about markets and appointments. I said, “If you are serious, we could map out a plan and see who we might partner with and some things like that.” He did a little more research and he thought about it some more and then he came back and he said, “Mom, I still think it’s a really good idea.” I said, “Okay, why do you say that?” and he said, “Well mom, the business model is amazing.” I said, “Okay, what makes you say that?”

Michael: So he wants to do one of the 2% that have a business plan? Okay, keep going.

Kitty: Yes. He said, “Well, where else can you go and be, if adequate at what you do, and 85% of your business just comes back every year.” I thought it really made me stop and think. Now, that was six years ago about, that whole, we work so hard on retention and keeping — we know all the stats around seven years and blah, blah, blah and I’m sure that the internet has changed that to some small degree, but it’s still a pretty valid set of numbers, that Retention is on average okay agency at 85%.

Michael: Yes. The interesting thing is the difference between adequacy, if you are going to hit it at 85% excellence, at 95% financially is absolutely mind bogglingly huge but —

Kitty: It really is.

Michael: But yes, to some extent. Now, that being said, when we look at the threats or the changes and we look at those who want to disrupt us, I don’t think we can take that 85% for granted anymore.

Kitty: Yes. I would completely agree with that and back to your original question about, how do we set ourselves up for success in this new world we’re all embarking on and leveraging our technology and being smart about our business plan. I think you’re absolutely right. I think one of the things that I see — we’ll figure it out. Somebody will figure out the easy answer someday but it’s the state regulation of insurance and the regulatory and compliance issues that we, as agents, and the carriers that are doing business in the state to support those agents, that’s one I see is one of the big hurdles, just figuring that piece out.

I don’t feel at this point with what I know that federal regulation is the answer. But, there has to be a solution there somewhere and there are people a lot smarter than me that are working on that. I think that will be — when that gets some likes to it, that’s going to be a huge game changer.

Michael: All right. I’m going to ask you to summarize this point and then I’m going to move on to one other thing. Then I want to ask about how NetVU provide some solutions. If you’re going to have a sentence or two, put you on the spot here, a sense or two where you could say agents, brokers do this or pay attention to this. What do you think you would say?

Kitty: In my world, there’re two big things that I really encourage people to do. Number one pay attention to the world around them and what’s going on.

Michael: Right on.

Kitty: I honestly believe that if you pick up the newspaper, watch the news, read a blog, whatever you do to capture what’s happening in the world around you on a daily basis, there are things there every single day that should be making you think about the future of your business and your operations.

The number two thing I would say is that if you have invested in technology, actually not invested, paid for technology, if you bought technology, leverage that the max. We talk a lot about full system utilization. Make sure that you are investing the rest. Don’t be penny wise, pound foolish. Make sure that you’re using every feature functionality that is going to drive success for your business within your purchased product. You’ll never know what else you need until you know what you’ve got.

Michael: Boy, as a software provider, I’ll echo that one. Well, we know the difference between our more advanced or power users or those who are really engaged and those who were hoping the magic wand would show up in a box.

Kitty: Well, I’d be willing to bet that it’s your power users that drives you guys to innovate in doing different ways of doing.

Michael: Well, heck yes. They push us to excellence and they get results. Anyway, [laughs] thank you for sharing. Your message was great. I’m going to quote it because I think your message was right on. Talk to me a little bit about how you or the organization that you run, what it’s all about and how does it help the agent today? Tell us a little bit about NetVU.

Kitty: Well, NetVU stands for, the network of Vertafore users. At the heart of what we do is we support the users of Vertafore software. Vertafore is a vendor in the insurance software space providing solutions to insurance agents, brokers, MGAs and carriers. So the fun part for me is I get to see the whole distribution system and all the moving pieces and parts. It’s much more than agency management systems. That’s a lot of fun and allows us to really be engaged in the industry at a really high level which is again just a lot of fun for me.

Michael: Yes. That’s a nice broad perspective. For an agent or a broker, when they participate in NetVU, what’s their value? What do they get out of that?

Kitty: NetVU was actually started back in 1978 as a peer-to-peer solution education organization. The whole idea being, “I bought this thing, what the heck do I do with it?”

Michael: Wait. Humor me for a second, Kitty. What did they buy in 1978?

Kitty: Oh my gosh. Sys gem [sic] was one, ARCOM [sic] was the original name of the organization and then there’s been a whole bunch of name changes and acquisitions-

Michael: Indeed.

Kitty: – all along the way. I mean the list of historical products is about 40 items long right now.

Michael: Right on. Okay. I think you and I’ve seen an interesting transition. You know I used to run Trade Association on the West Coast for independent insurance agents back in the day. I have a great deal of respect for them. I think the lobbying essential, the education essential. Back then, if I wanted to see a crowd of 2,000 or 3,000 insurance agents, I’d go to one of the national meetings of two big trade associations, right?

Michael: Yes.

Kitty: Now, if anybody wants to see 2,000 or 3,000 insurance agents in one room, they’re going to go to one of the technology companies for their annual conference.

Kitty: The user group?

Michael: Okay,

[laughter]

All right. I got it, the user group. But it’s technology driven. That’s a major transition, isn’t it? That the tech companies really are helping to drive the conversation and the agenda in the industry.

Kitty: Yes, and there are so many parts to that as we look at all of the various organizations like AUGIE [sic] that span up, I don’t know, somewhere around 15 years ago, a little over I think. At the agents counsel for technology.

Michael: Right, right.

Kitty: The new ID Federation that came about a couple of years ago to work on this Federated ID concept and get that moving forward, all based in technology and how technology is changing the way agents do business and changing the way companies do business. It’s when you hear about companies going direct. We hear about online sales and that you can actually find a policy online.

There’s this movement now that we’re talking a lot about, the buy button initiative that is going on, which almost is back to what I used to do when someone would walk in my office and I’d write their policy using a manual rating tool. I could bind it. I could hand them a binder. They were on their way.

Michael: Here is your insurance.

Kitty: Here it is. We extensively can’t do that anymore in the systems we’ve kind of come to build in a lot of cases. It’s fundamentally back to the business of insurance because I honestly believe insurance people that are insurance professionals really just want the technology to work. They just want to write more business. They want to take care of their customers. If we can teach them that their technology solutions can enhance that so they can do more or of it, that’s what they want.

That’s what drives us at NetVU every day on behalf of Vertafore users, is how do you make those products work better, stronger, faster for the good of your business and your customers. Then, what ideas do you have, that whole think tank approach and then we take all of that back to the vendor and say, “Hey, here’s what customers of your products would like to see.” It makes for a very strong partnership with the vendor when we have that give and take.

Michael: To some extent, you’re the voice of the agency, the consumer to the technology company that, in a sense, you represent, right?

Kitty: Yes, it is.

Michael: Yes, okay.

Kitty: Yes. There’s a very organized fashion to do that now. It’s not to say that there aren’t users that go direct to the company and make there needs known.

Michael: Absolutely

Kitty: Absolutely, but we provide a diverse setting structure maybe is the way to put it.

Michael: Yes, right.

Kitty: That as ideas come in, they all go into the funnel and we’re really work in hard to make sure that we’re gathering all of it and it isn’t just the person at screams the loudest, that squeaky wheel gets the grease. Let’s look at what’s happening for the overall good of advancing the product in the industry. The new leadership at Vertafore has really embraced that and brought that to the table.

Michael: Do you want to say a word or two about that, the vision for –? What do you see happening? It’s a company that’s very important to this industry. It’s had some change. Now, we’ve got some new leadership. What do you think is coming down the pike?

Kitty: I think, it’s very positive. Everything we are seeing as far is very, very positive and I think that they’re really trying to make sure they understand their customers’ business so that they are building and developing tools and software and interfaces that truly solve the business problems that are inherent into our distribution channel. It’s very positive.

Michael: Kitty, you know that I go to your conference very single year.

Kitty: We appreciate it.

Michael: Yes, yes. No, I’m happy to be there. Of course, we see a lot of great agents. So it’s important to us. It’s important to me and I encourage Vertafore customers to go. What can somebody expect when they go to that conference? Like I said, it’s big. So, what can they get?

Kitty: Yes. It’s big and it’s getting bigger which is — I get a little proprietary sometimes, like, “Wow, look at this growth. This is exciting but, oh my gosh, we still have to take care of these people.” We don’t want just some massive thing. We care about every single person that comes to us. So, what can they expect?

We have 160-some odd education session being built out right now. The fun of that that we’ve really been having is we retooled the way we deliver education and it’s very much role based. Rather than teaching you a feature or a function, we are encouraging you to come into a role-based training session that literally talks about what you are doing as a CSR everyday, and walking you through how the system is designed to make your life easier.

You can put it all together. There’s integrations that maybe your policy processing as a CSR and servicing, because you need to get certificates out the door or whatever that might look like. But then also, maybe you need to do some rating. Well, there is some easy in integration whether it’s real time or whether it’s a rating interface to another product.

So, teaching the work flows rather than teaching the disconnected feature. I think that has been really powerful. We had a lot of great feedback last year and a really tightening it up this year. The beauty of all the education is, it is built by your peers. It’s people that are doing that job that are saying, “Here’s what we think is the best idea,” and they work together in teams to make all that happen.

All of these, we have over 400 volunteers working on this thing. IT’s amazing. When you talk about how big it is, all the educators are basically volunteers. It’s truly a sight to see when you really line everybody up. When I start saying thank you, I’m like, “Wow, look at this mass of people that have pulled this off.” It’s amazing.

Michael: There’re a lot of people to thank. Yes, all right.

Kitty: Then we have a great exhibit hall which you know because you are always a part of. We have a great — Vertafore put together a wonderful tech hub they call it, where they demo,  troubleshoot, answer questions through people. That’s always great. They always do a series of what’s new and what’s coming so that people can begin to plan. The other piece of it is being aware of what’s on the roadmap to you as an agency owner or business owner can be mapping your strategy along with what’s coming.

There is lot a great research that Vertafore has the resources to provide so that’s been really, really good, a lot of market surveys and studies that are helpful. You get to see all of that and have some fun too. We’re having an amazing music festival as part of our conference. This year, we’ve got three great bands coming in. It’s going to be like an indoor street fair, food trucks and whole day. We’re super excited about that. That’s going to be alot of fun.[laughs]

Michael: As you know, I think every Vertafore customer should attend but perhaps some won’t if they can’t for some reason. How can they still reap the benefits of participation in NetVU?

Kitty: The conference is actually — We’ve done the math several times over and we’re looking at less than 5% of the users come to the conference, and we know that and we’re very keen on, so what else do we do? And what else do we do for the other 363 days a year, right? We have built the conference education is just little piece. We take it. We re-purpose it. We deliver it on the local level virtually. We have on-demand university. Everything that you need have been can be accessed at your finger tips in some way, shape or form.

So, literally, the beauty for Vertafore users too, if they’re using any of those Vertafore products that are out there and there are lots of them, they’re automatically a member of NetVU. We don’t charge dues. They are just automatically part of this network. All they need to do is get their log in password to start to taking advantage of all of the tools. That’s one of my big initiatives is, “Hey, let’s get out there and get these people to take advantage of something that they already have. It’s back to that old concept of full system utilization. We are part of that system for those users.

Michael: You’ve got chapters distributed throughout the country. Yes?

Kitty: We do. We have about 58 chapters. Many of them operate virtually. They’re product specific. They’re local. They’re market specific. So, again, we have people that belong to 10 or 12 chapters because of the different needs they have in the organization.

Michael: Really? Wow. Okay. A few month ago, I spoke at the chapter at the headquarters in Bothell and I could say that-

Kitty: Sure. In the Northwest.

Michael: – if they’re all that good, guys, you should be participating in them because it was a great day.

Kitty: We appreciate — a lot of times, the chapters do, they bring in this third-party solution providers because it’s a piece that — Vertafore’s learning to stick to their needing and do what they do well and they understand the need for this API connectivity with other solution providers. I think we’re going to see more and more of that.

Michael: And, we’re grateful for that. We’re grateful for that. All right. Kitty, I’m going to ask you one last question. It’s a little bit different. Maybe nobody will care but it matters to me, because I know you and I know how much you’ve given to this industry. So, 30 or so years, more if we count your entire childhood, a few years more, not a lot, a few years more. Who have been your influences been?

Kitty: Wow. First and foremost, I have to say my family. My mom and dad who built an agency from scratch in the early ’80s, who really always thought about how do we do things differently? How do we do things better? I think I’ve taken that mantra through forward. I can remember getting mad at me. I must have been, I don’t know, 10 or 12 and I was always really good at school. His punishment to me was I had to write a paper for him and the title of the paper was “Doing more than enough to get by.” That was the topic I needed to write on.

It was so funny because I was helping my folks move and dad still has that paper. It’s a lot of years later, but I think that that has been huge, huge influence, is that I got to grow up with that kind of mindset. It wasn’t always wonderful. But in hindsight as a parent and as a business leader, it’s a huge message. That’s a huge influence for me both personally and personally.

Michael: They did a good job with you, kid.

Kitty: Thank you. I ‘ll let them know.

Michael: Let them know. For what my opinion is worth to them, you can let them know. Who else? Anybody else in the industry?

Kitty: You know, I get really inspired by the people I get to encounter. So many of the volunteers that I’ve worked with on a volunteer basis as leaders of various organizations I’ve been part of, so names that come to mind, people that you know of course. Keith Savino, absolutely love learning from him and working with him. Walt Gdowski of Rough Notes, just a prince of a man and he’s had such an impact on the industry. Jeff Yates is another. Jeff has pioneered so many things.

Michael: I had a feeling Jeff’s name might come out of your mouth.

Kitty: [laughs] Well, just you know, he forced us to think about things differently. He kind of was on this wave early on. So, you know. Greg Maciag was another. He led us to places we didn’t even know we were going. There’s those folks in the industry that have just really been very influential.

Michael: Well, Kitty, I’m sure that there are those in the industry who would say they’ve been pretty influenced by Kitty Ambers. So, thank you for the contributions that you’ve made as well.

Kitty: It’s an honor.

Michael: All righty. Well, Kitty, this has been fun. This has been fascinating for me. I want to thank you for sharing your insights and your wisdom with us.

Kitty: I appreciate the opportunity. We’re here to serve, so anytime.

Michael: Right on. Everybody, have a great day and, Kitty, once again, thanks so much.

Kitty: Thank you.