Sylvia Stone, Vice President of Operations
Ultimate Agency Network
I grew up in the foothills of North Carolina, the youngest of two daughters. My only sister was 6 years older and crazy about horses. I caught that desire and spent most of my teenage years riding and showing Quarter Horses. I still enjoy riding, but prefer trail riding now, since showing successfully is a full time effort. Unlike most kids today, I
spent as much of my childhood as possible outdoors. We were fortunate to live in a rural community with lots of land, woods and a creek that bordered our property. I have always loved the outdoors and would rather be out walking, gardening or bicycling than about anything else. I have always been a voracious reader, but even that I prefer to do in a hammock or lounge chair outside.
I graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in English. I later took additional courses in Accounting and Information Systems at Guilford College in Greensboro. While at NC State I met my husband of soon to be 32 years, Randy. Unlike me, he is a true athlete, excelling at football, baseball and golf. His real passion is restoring, showing and touring antique automobiles and we spend a lot of time with the many great friends we have made that share this interest. Randy is currently serving on the Board of the Antique Auto Club of America. He retired from Labcorp in 2007 after 20 plus years in finance, Risk Management and Mergers and Acquisitions.
I inherited my dad’s love of numbers and accounting and in 1982 was recruited to join a software company, GBA Systems, as a Technical Writer/Customer Support Rep for a new financial software product they were launching. Although the company was 35 plus people at that time, the department I joined was a department of 2. When my manager left in 1983, I saw an opportunity and the owner, my new manager and mentor supported my ambition. During my first 16 years with GBA I held a number of positions, Product Manager, Director of Marketing & Sales, Operations Manager, Vice-President and Sr. Vice-President.
I became President in 1998. During my tenure our software customers grew from 14 regional customers to over 1200 companies in 45 states and twelve countries. I led the sales team that secured multi-site contracts with Lockheed Martin, Texaco, and Apple. We subsequently sold the company to Global Software in 2004. I attempted to retire, but found that I wasn’t quite ready. When Tom approached me about providing marketing systems to insurance agents, I was intrigued about learning a new business and felt that my software marketing, sales and operations experience would be complementary to his insurance agency background.
I believe the success of my previous company was due to our emphasis on niche marketing and providing high quality innovative products with unsurpassed customer service. I strive to bring those same values to Agency Command/Ultimate Agency Network. While I greatly enjoyed the many years I spent with GBA, what I like best about working with Agency Command is the opportunity to work directly with other entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and improve their bottom line.
I have always understood the importance of designing software for the user. When I sold software for accountants, our tag line was ‘Designed by accountants for accountants’. I believe it is equally critical to have Marketing, Sales and Retention programs for insurance agencies designed by people experienced with running a successful agency.
While many years ago I embraced the philosophy that owners need to spend more time working ON their business, than IN their business, I know that in order to design relevant campaigns, it’s critical that they first work IN the business. I partnered with Russ and Tom to promote Agency Command because they have that experience.
My focus with Agency Command is on customer service and operations.