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2012 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Sheri Alexander

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Senior Vice President and Employee Benefits Division Manager, Gregory & Appel Insurance

Sphere of Influence: Alexander is a top local insurance executive who specializes in employee benefits and in opening doors for women in a male-dominated field.
 

alexander-sheri-15col.jpg (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

When Sheri Alexander was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, the importance of health benefits, part of her field of expertise, hit home in a personal way.

“I had early diagnosis because I had access to health insurance, and I had lots of support, transportation for treatment and all those things so many people don’t have,” recalls Alexander, a senior vice president and part owner of Gregory & Appel Insurance.

Since her recovery, she has become a leader and fundraiser for organizations that battle cancer on different fronts, including helping people undergoing treatment and funding research to find a cure.

Alexander is on the boards of the Cancer Support Community and the Little Red Door Cancer Agency. She explains she was drawn to these organizations “not so much because I had cancer, but because I was so lucky in my cancer journey,” in having support and resources that some do not.

She’s also among the 100 largest fundraisers for the Indianapolis chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Alexander grew up just south of Tampa, Fla., on Anna Maria Island, where her family rode out Hurricane Camille in 1969. If she has one regret, it might be not finishing her undergrad degree at Florida. She left school in her junior year when her boyfriend at the time died suddenly. Still, Alexander believes everything happens for a reason. If she had not left school and come to Indianapolis, she might not have gotten her first job with Gardner & White and had her first taste of benefits work. She also might not have met her future husband.

She joined Gregory & Appel in 2005, lured away from the larger Marsh & McLennan, where she spent 15 years and was the top producer in her division two years running. Her specialty was working with hospitals, which she called “a tough market. Its workforce has unique needs.”

At Gregory & Appel, she has tripled the size of its Employee Benefits Division and quadrupled its revenue, leading and mentoring while employees designed, priced and communicated benefit packages. “We have built it into a real powerhouse in just a short time.”

While insurance is a male-dominated field, Gregory & Appel has quite a few women in key positions. “I’m sure I have a little bit to do with that,” she laughed, noting several of those women have worked with her in the past.

“Women are extremely good at this job,” she said. “I think when you work with employees, like human resource people (do), you have to be very nurturing and caring. The ability to do that, and multitask in a rapidly changing industry, makes it a good fit for a woman who’s confident enough to be in a sales role.”

Personal satisfaction comes from family, raising a daughter, and the community service work she and Michael Alexander, her husband of more than 30 years, undertake.

She is also an avid reader of suspense novels. She and her family are regulars at Morse Lake, where they boat and jet ski. They are also frequent travelers. Italy is her favorite destination.•

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  • Sheri Alexander
    My sister Sheri Alexnader is one of the 15 women of influence and I just want to add to her profile page that she is also the best sibling a person could ever dream of having. She is my hero.

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  1. Socialized medicine works great for white people in Scandanavia. It works well in Costa Rica for a population that is partly white and partly mestizo. I don't really see Obamacare as something aimed against whites. I think that is a Republican canard designed to elicit support from white people for republican candidates who don't care about them any more than democrats care about the non-whites they pander to with their phony maneuvers. But what is different between Costa Rica nd the Scandanavian nations on one hand and the US on the other? SIZE. Maybe the US is just too damn big. Maybe it just needs to be divided into smaller self governing pieces like when the old Holy Roman Empire was dismantled. Maybe we are always trying the same set of solutions for different kinds of people as if we were all the same. Oh-- I know-- that is liberal dogma, that we are all the same. Which is the most idiotic American notion going right back to the propaganda of 1776. All men are different and their differences are myriad and that which is different is not equal. The state which pretends men are all the same is going to force men to be the same. That is what America does here, that is what we do in our stupid overseas wars, that is how we destroy true diversity and true difference, and we are all as different groups of folks, feeling the pains of how capitalism is grinding us down into equally insignificant proletarian microconsumers with no other identity whether we like it or not. And the Marxists had this much right about the War of Independence: it was fundamentally a war of capitalist against feudal systems. America has been about big money since day one and whatever gets in the way is crushed. Health care is just another market and Obamacare, to the extent that it Rationalizes and makes more uniform a market which should actually be really different in nature and delivery from place to place-- well that will serve the interests of the biggest capitalist stakeholders in health care which is not Walmart for Gosh Sakes it is the INSURANCE INDUSTRY. CUI BONO Obamacare? The insurance industry. So republicans drop the delusion pro capitalist scales from your eyes this has almost nothing to do with race or "socialism" it has to do mostly with what the INSURANCE INDUSTRY wants to have happen in order to make their lives and profits easier.

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  4. JK - I meant that the results don't ring true. I also questioned the 10-year-old study because so much in the "health care system" has changed since the study was made. Moreover, it was hard to get to any overall conclusion or observation with the article. But....don't be defensive given my comments; I still think you do the best job of any journalist in the area shedding light and insight on important health care issues.

  5. Probably a good idea he doesn't run. I for one do not want someone who lives in VIRGINIA to be the governor. He gave it some thought, but he likes Virginia too much. What a name I cannot say on this site! The way these people think and operate amuses me.

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