A few weeks ago, it was announced publicly that our very own Sandie Mathewson has been chosen as one of six finalists for the Professional Woman of the Year Award by the non-profit organization Whatcom Women in Business. This is a prestigious award that considers one’s leadership, business acumen, acts of mentorship and service to the community. Though it came as no surprise, Sandie has been recognized among an outstanding group of finalist to which she feels is truly an honor and a privilege.
On October 24th, the winner will be announced at the organization’s annual awards banquet, which also serves as a scholarship fundraiser for women furthering their education. Past recipients can be found here, showcasing quite the list of accomplished and respected women. Congratulations Sandie, we are all rooting for you!
Please enjoy this write up which accompanied Sandie’s nomination.
Sandie was born and raised in Bellingham, Washington. Upon initial impression, you likely wouldn’t guess her adolescence was spent on the family farm. She has a ‘big city’ persona with the attire to match. After only brief acquaintance, however, it would make perfect sense; her work ethic had to come from somewhere. Sandie has been married to Tom, her loving and devoted husband, for over 30 years. Together they’ve raised two young women, both exceptionally bright, thoughtful and successful by many definitions. There are abundant passions and strengths Sandie has developed over time, including gardening, event planning, hosting, design and home decor, personal and professional mentorship, wine, food and travel.
Before aligning with the insurance industry, Sandie dedicated 30 years to banking. Climbing the ladder from the bottom up, her journey began in entry level positions, filing checks and papers. She was promoted to her first supervisor position at age 26 and ultimately concluded her banking career as the VP of Training and Employee Development for a multibillion-dollar financial institution. Sandie has spent the last seven years lending her business, personnel and management skills to local insurance offices. She is nearing her fifth anniversary at Rice Insurance, LLC, and has been instrumental in the sustained, ascending growth that landed Rice on Inc 5000’s Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies in America. Sandie maintains a fine-tuned ability to enhance business culture, improve internal processes and objectively analyze opportunities and conflicts to achieve a win-win outcome. Her contribution to Rice has been irreplaceable in terms of employee attraction, development and retention.
Mentoring is a thread woven into every aspect of Sandie’s life. It’s explicitly written into her job description, but doesn’t stop there. Contributing to the growth of others and guiding them as they journey toward the best version of themselves is not only an aptitude Sandie is all too familiar with, it’s a passion she shares freely with anyone who recognizes its value. Sandie has mentored dozens of individuals over the years, through church, work and social spheres. She is known for taking younger women under her wing, sometimes a professional contact, a daughter of a friend or the friend themselves, to support them through both highs and lows. Her leadership permeates to the top Rice Insurance, as she is also a consistent source of guidance and mentorship for those in owner and management positions. Many seek her wisdom to advance their professional life, improve personal realities and to learn how to become a mentor themselves. She notes the most rewarding part of this gift is not only the long-lasting relationships that develop with people from all walks of life, but the progression and successes she witnesses as their bond strengthens over time.
Within the insurance industry, Sandie has been solicited for many a brainstorming session. She’s contributed her input to various summits including those for insurance agency software partners, insurance carriers and sales development programs. In the realm of local community, her and her husband give generously both financially and through volunteer hours to their church, various nonprofits and to the many women (and men) she has mentored. Sandie has lent her talents to organize fundraisers and events for the likes of Bellingham Childcare and Learning Center and the Red Cross. She has created job descriptions and performed internal audits of documents and processes pro bono for different non-profit organizations upon request. The following is only a sampling of causes she has donated to, in terms of monetary contributions and volunteer hours: Lighthouse Mission, The Bellingham Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Lydia Place, March of Dimes, her church, and the previously mentioned Red Cross and Bellingham Childcare and Learning Center.