top of page

How to Be Reliable with Dah Htoo


For today's episode, we had the honor of speaking to Dah Htoo, a Field Vice President who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Myanmar (or Burma, as it was known until 1989) 15 years ago and started dedicating his life to helping refugees adjust to American life.

After working his way through various jobs, he landed as a caseworker for Lutheran Family Services, aiding families who were new to the country. Since then, Dah has transitioned to the world of financial services and dedicated his life to helping others understand how to protect their finances and find peace of mind. Dah talked to our host about how to be there for people who rely on you and what it takes to help families adjust to a new country in this insightful episode of Lead. Empower. Grow.


Jeff Lehman  0:02  

Welcome to Lead. Empower. Grow., a podcast featuring entrepreneurs who lead productive teams, empower their communities and grow successful businesses of their own. On today's episode, I had the honor of speaking to Dah Htoo, a Field Vice President who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Myanmar, also known as Burma. That was 15 years ago, when he started dedicating his life to helping others adjust to American life ever since.

After working his way through various jobs — like bakery, meat-packing plant — he landed as a caseworker for Lutheran Family Services, which helped newly arriving refugees. He drove them to doctor, to schools, helped them apply for food stamps, Medicaid... He was essentially an adjuster to the American dream.

Since then, Dah has transitioned to the world of financial services, but he continues to serve: He's dedicated his life to helping others understand how to protect their finances and find peace of mind.

It's a wonderful episode, can't wait for you to hear it. So let's just get right into it. 

Yeah, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. Ah, to start out, I just wanted to ask I ask all my agents. What is your background before FFS? And what was your story before you built your business here?

Dah Htoo  0:57  

Well, thank you very much for having me here today. You know, a little bit about myself, about my background: I came here as a refugee from Myanmar over 15 years ago. So when I first got here, in the first few years, I was working with a few different places. I was working at a bakery, I was working at a restaurant, I was working at a meat-packing company. And at the same time, also was doing some part-time work to help interpret for families, like in schools, in hospitals, places like that. 

Later, in 2009, I got a different job with Lutheran Family Services as a caseworker to help newly refugeed families who come in from Burma, and also some other countries. So before they arrived, I got to prepare everything for them — set up the apartment, the housing, the basic needs like food, furniture, clothing. I got to meet with them at the airport upon their arrival, and drove them back home to their new apartment. And after that, I'd also help them to apply for public assistance like food stamps, like Medicaid. I drove them to school, drove them to see the doctor. And, of course, I helped them to get a job with employment services.

It was a good job for me — it was not like the bakery or the meat plant — but there were a bit of struggles, a little bit of pressure, you know?

Jeff Lehman  2:57  

Yeah, yeah.

Dah Htoo  2:59  

Because you are the first person to meet with the family at the airport. They don't know anybody. They don't have any friends here, any relatives, and you are like a parent to them, you know? Basically, they rely on you for everything. But I got a lot of experience since I became a case manager. You know, I was learning many things over there. I'm glad to have had that opportunity. Pretty much before I got to FFS, that was my job in the past.

Jeff Lehman  3:34  

Amazing. Yeah, it sounded like it prepared you for basically what you would do with FFS, which is meet new people and help them. You were very good at meeting and talking to... strangers, I guess, but becoming friends and caring for them. I love that you were an interpreter, and the Lutheran Services job is amazing. It really lines up with a lot of what our agents are like, which is you're very service minded and helpful and you've been helping people since way before this business. And just giving yourself and your time and your generosity and... I find that's the same thing with a lot of our agents.  And yours is very hands on, you were already working with, like... Because interpreting is a lot of what our agents do. We're a very diverse force, and we're changing the face of insurance.

Dah Htoo  4:26  

Yeah, exactly.

Jeff Lehman  4:28  

Especially because I feel like I have to interpret financial services things even just in English sometimes because they're complicated.

Dah Htoo  4:35  


Jeff Lehman  4:36  

So it is a lot. Yeah, I understand. Then a tiny question: So 15 years ago, you came over. Were you an adult then or were you young?

Dah Htoo  4:45  

I was old enough, you know? I was like 30, 30-somthing, yes.

Jeff Lehman  4:53  

Yeah, yeah. Myanmar is... most of the my agents I interview are from Vietnam or Thailand, I think you're the first one from Myanmar that I —

Dah Htoo  5:01  

Most people don't know Myanmar or Burma.

Jeff Lehman  5:04  

Yeah, yeah. But it's, it's right next to it, or all in the same area. I like that. But that kind of leads into the next question, which is: How did you get on board with FFS? And how was that process? And what was that like at first when you found us, or we found you?

Dah Htoo  5:18  

You know, to be honest with you, I never thought about becoming a businessman with my life. I did not have any business mindset, you know? No business experience and no business background. And I was coming here into the U.S. just looking for a safer place and, of course, to have a job to cover my bills, to just survive my daily life. So I never thought about working for myself, owning my future, being my own boss.

But back in the day, my upline, he came to my house and was doing the presentation for me, and after that, I did purchase the policy — the product — for myself and I also did join him. [Laughs]. Because we don't have life insurance in our country. And I'd never heard about life insurance before. But luckily, I was joining the right business and I purchased the right product for myself.

Jeff Lehman  6:22  

Yeah, that was a little miracle. I'm glad it did work out, because most of our agents didn't have a business background. When did things start going well? Or when were things hard? What challenges did you have? What was that, like those first parts with your business and with the community?

Dah Htoo  6:43  

My community is still just like a baby, you know? We started a new life recently here, totally different everything. A different culture and everything else to adjust to. It comes with many challenges for them. And most of the parents in the first generation are not speaking any English at all and have less of a chance for them to get a better job. So most of them are working at the entry level or in a company or in the factory. In so many families, only one person can work to cover all of the bills of the household. So all of their money is only for them to pay for other bills.  So, in the beginning, it was really a challenge for me: like, how am I going to approach them? How am I going to prospect them? How can they afford to make the payments? Because they only make very little money and all of their monthly income is already gone. Most of them, were not interested, did not trust it. You know? Got to save that money for the other bills. And most of them, they don't understand. They think that you have to die to get money from life insurance.

Jeff Lehman  8:08  

Mhmm, yeah.

Dah Htoo  8:08  

So it was a really challenge for me in the beginning, so... The good thing? I never quit. I never stopped. [Laughs].

Jeff Lehman  8:16  

Yeah, yeah, I'm glad you stuck with it, too. And I think maybe your work with the Lutheran services kind of prepared you for that. You were already not quitting. You were already helping people, and you had that experience. And we're glad we have you with those skills in there.  And also, even me — and I think a lot of people — think, at first, that life insurance is just for death, or, you know, that you can only use it for that.

Dah Htoo  8:45  


Jeff Lehman  8:46  

And a lot of people, of all backgrounds, still think that, I think. And it takes somebody to be like, "Well, it's different now. You can use it while you're alive. And there's lots of things — a lot of different options." Yeah.

Do you have any advice or tips on how you end up approaching those people or prospecting? how you approach prospecting at all?

Dah Htoo  9:07  

I will say your reputation, your ethic, your care and your patience are the most important for them. For you to provide the right needs and the right service for them, you will need to know who they are. You will probably need to find out some of their background, so you know which area or which part that they need the most help and you can share the effective information to benefit them more. Make them more comfortable. Because there are different communities and they might have a different background and different experience. In some country, like I said, they don't have life insurance or investment at all. And they're scared, you know? They're afraid.

So, for communities like that, you approach them very simply, to educate them or to help them to the background of life insurance or investment. They don't get it. They're not going to want it, because they probably don't think that is important for them.

Jeff Lehman  10:18  


Dah Htoo  10:18  

So I don't know if how many clients I've helped, but I help anybody with anything. If they are my clients or not, it doesn't matter. I'll help them with updating an address, changing their bank, changing the beneficiary, and anything, you know? Because some communities, some families — especially if they immigrated to this country — they will rely on you. Especially if they're an immigrant of this country, they'll have many barriers with English. They will need to rely a bit on you. So other people will see that you are the right agent for them.

Jeff Lehman  11:01  

Yeah, just being good. Having a good reputation. Just doing good work and helping. That's all you need. [Laughs].

Dah Htoo  11:09  


Jeff Lehman  11:10  

It's tough — but it's easy at the same time. I mean, it sounds like the FFS business is just in line with how you've helped people almost your whole life, or since coming to this country. Do you like this business? Do you like the first financial security? And why do you — I mean, I think I know the answer to if you like it — but do you like it, and why?

Dah Htoo  11:30  

Oh, yes. I really, really love to do this business because I feel like what I'm doing here is not all about making money. It is about helping people have a better future, to change people's lives and dreams and peace of mind. It is about helping people, helping them to protect their family. It's about teaching them and educating them about the money and showing them how money works, how to live the American dream life, to be their own boss, to secure their future. Especially because most of my people are not really motivated to have a business mindset, to be their own boss or work for themselves.

So, yes, I really love this job. Because I'm always able to help clients by delivering a check to the family after somebody in the family got sick or died. When I walk into the house and hand them the check, it really helps them. And they show their appreciation, you know? So I feel like what I'm doing here really matters for them. I'm glad that I can help them with this.

And I'm so grateful that this business has taught me how to become a business entrepreneur and learn the industry and transform people lives with peace of mind.

Jeff Lehman  13:03  

Yeah, it's such a huge help, what you're doing. And we're so glad that you're here with us and just out there helping people, someone with a service-oriented heart like you. That's so great.

Well, I think that that's a great story to end it on. And I just wanted to thank you again for coming on the podcast. Thank you for talking to me.

Dah Htoo  13:21  

Thank you very much.

Jeff Lehman  13:24  

And as always, thank you to all you listeners out there.

Thanks for joining us on this journey — and to hear more stories from entrepreneurs like Dah you can listen to our past episodes on our feed or at And, of course, subscribe or follow wherever you get your podcasts to listen to new Lead. Empower. Grow. episodes the moment they air.

We look forward to bringing you more stories that inspire you to lead, empower and grow.

bottom of page