“I’ve always worked to bring value to my relationships and to partner with my clients. When they have a significant case or a new agency initiative they are considering, I’m often their first call. That’s very rewarding to me. I love that part of the job."
Growing up in Rhode Island and Florida, Kristine Black desired to become an attorney, an aspiration she carried with her to the University of Florida, where she majored in Political Science. Following graduation, Kristine wasn’t too keen on the idea of racking up more student loan debt by enrolling in law school, so she changed course and moved to London, where she worked in the marketing department at Dow Jones Telerate, a financial information company. She feels fortunate to have had a strong female leader early in her career who took the time to mentor and guide her to build her organizational and communication skills, which led to a quick promotion into the contributions department. In this role, she was responsible for obtaining and creating content for the company’s product lines. She loved that she was able to interact with people from all over the world.
“I could talk to somebody in Dubai, somebody in Italy, somebody in the States – we had offices all over the world,” she recalls. “We worked with the major investment houses in London to supply information displayed on our products. Telerate developed the first handheld stock tracker in the market.”
Returning to the U.S. in the early 90s at the height of a recession, Kristine secured a job as a case manager with an insurance company. Once again, her talents were quickly recognized, and she worked directly with seasoned agents in estate planning who mentored and trained her. She began doing case design and meeting with clients, an aspect of the job she found especially satisfying.
“I really loved the job as I was helping people with their financial planning needs,” she says.
Driven to Succeed
Before long, Kristine was heading up the life insurance division for a broker dealer focused on high-net-worth clients. Her job frequently entailed interacting with clients, attorneys and wholesalers, one of whom she says was instrumental in giving her the confidence and connection to embark on a career with Lincoln Financial Group. Another who is like a second mom and continues to mentor Kristine today.
“This wholesaler had worked with Lincoln at one point and then began her own agency,” says Kristine. “She was contacted by a headhunter for a job with Lincoln, so she connected me with that recruiter and the rest is history.”
Kristine joined Lincoln in 2004 and currently serves as an external wholesaler in the Brokerage Channel for Lincoln Financial Distributors’ (LFD) Life Insurance business, covering Florida and Eastern Tennessee. In 2020 and 2019, she received the prestigious President’s Award, which recognizes the top-performing wholesalers in LFD by product. She credits her competitive nature, drive and commitment to building long-standing relationships for propelling her to success.
“I’ve always worked to bring value to my relationships and to partner with my clients,” says Kristine. “When they have a significant case or a new agency initiative they are considering, I’m often their first call. That’s very rewarding to me. I love that part of the job.”
Living Life Limitless
Reflecting on her career at Lincoln, Kristine says she has always been supported and encouraged to shoot for the stars.
“What is so exceptional about Lincoln is the culture -- there are no limits to what you can achieve,” says Kristine. “The people around me – my managers and colleagues – have always been very supportive of me being able to thrive in this career.”
When not working, Kristine enjoys international travel, going to the gym and fishing with her husband and her two nieces, ages nine and 11. She strives to achieve work/life balance, but admits she has a “hard time shutting it off.” Keeping her family close is paramount, so Kristine makes time for family events at the house and family boating outings. She also ensures she spends lots of time with her close girlfriends on the weekends.
“As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve worked really hard to have work/life balance,” says Kristine. “I’m very driven, but recognize I need to take time off. It is important to remove yourself from work and focus on those around you.”
Kristine’s story is the final feature in our “Women of the 20s” series to commemorate Women’s History Month and the outstanding women sales leaders at Lincoln, then and now.