Trail blazing & leadership runs in my family!


My parents instilled the confidence in me to think outside of the box to pursue my goals and work through anything that got in my way.  It was important for me to raise my daughter & son with this same mindset.


I come from a family of five kids (oh the stories I can tell).  My first job was at the age of 11 cleaning toilets & cabins and dishwashing at my family’s resort and restaurant in MN.  I moved up in rank and jobs, but not surprising, this was a job I didn’t want to do forever.  As you can imagine, at that time, I didn’t appreciate or understand, how my “early training” would shape & develop me.  I also met my future coach & mentor Bob, with Northwestern Mutual, who was a guest at our resort and he shared with me the career opportunity.   Little did I know, meeting him would change my life down the road forever.


After my first year of college, I took a gap year (before it was cool) and travelled with an international singing group called Up With People.   This global experience & time off helped me understand & define what I really wanted to do with my life.  With that awareness, I transferred to the University of MN and designed my own major in Marketing, Speech and Journalism. 


All through college, I was responsible for my tuition, room and board and it taught me how to create and manage a budget, be intentional & strategic with my spending, while still enjoying life.   My hospitality background & training came back to benefit me again, when I got “high paying” jobs as a waitress at the president’s mansion and cashier in the cafeteria.   


Jn college, just like in High School, I was involved with student government as a class officer.  I have a passion to impact and create positive changes by challenging the status quo with a vision towards the future.


My restaurant background, came back to help me AGAIN, when I decided what career path I wanted to take after college.   After hours of research, I decided on being a sales representative at a major Consumer Foods Corporation- Pillsbury.  


Although I had success in corporate America managing people &  large accounts, I realized my true calling was to be in charge of my own destiny and help others do the same.


I interviewed with Northwestern Mutual during three different periods in my life, and knew this was the right time to “go for it”! 


Being a determined entrepreneur and new Mom, was difficult (and tiring) to juggle.   However, I knew long term this was how I could help others and make a positive impact in their lives - financially & emotionally.  Failure was not an option!


Business & hard work still run in our family.  I am very fortunate to be able to have my husband Walt work with me for the last 18 years in the business.  He has been the rock and backbone to our business & family.  My son Andrew, who is hard of hearing, recently graduated with his MBA in Finance & MIS and was chosen to be a trainee in the Utility Industry in a management program and is getting married next year.  My daughter Alicia, recently graduated with a double major in Marketing & Management and a minor in Spanish.  She is working downtown learning about project management.   


Being the first in anything is not always easy and has no roadmap.   Staying on top of what’s happening in the industry and continuing education is very important to me.  I’ve qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and am proud to have been asked to service on the Finance & Investment Committee for the MDRT Foundation.  


Purpose combined with determination allows one to create their own roadmap.  Our favorite family quote is “ the word impossible means I’m possible” and I thrive on helping others feel the same.



Laurie A. Leja, CLTC®
Financial Representative

Physicians Nationwide


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