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Rising Stars: Meet Noor Ali

Today we’d like to introduce you to Noor Ali.

Hi Noor, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I grew up a South Asian immigrant kid in inner NYC. I studied hard, worked hard and always did well in school. After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science, my life got turned upside down when my family had to move back home to Bangladesh to take care of my grandmother. I always wanted to be a medical doctor, so going to medical school was a very natural decision. I was young, hungry, and I also did very well in medical school. The cultural shock, language barriers, assimilation curve were very challenging. I lived in a high competition environment with all girls (it was an all women’s medical college). I struggled more with not being able to eat the food, living in 112*F rooms with improper ventilation and no A/C, no reliable electricity and no running water.

Fast forward to moving back home to the states, I struggled again with my identity and trying to find my place again. I was “home” in NYC but this time I had a doctorate and no one seemed to be grateful for wifi and electricity. I was a different person. I currently live in Tampa, FL with my husband and son and have found myself. After having gone through cycles of being overqualified with experience but underqualified on paper, frustrations of not getting hired by any employer despite everything I can gone through to come this far… I said screw this! I knew I was worth more. Now, I own my own health insurance agency leading a team of entrepreneurs. I work with other entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country helping them understand health insurance. I like this “boss lady” vibe because I can’t complain anymore that no one sees my worth. I have built my own worth and I have so much to show for it!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The biggest struggles were living in rural Bangladesh and going to medical school at age 18. I was unprepared for the challenges. Even though it was my home country, I still grew up in NYC. Where we had things like internet, computers, water and electricity. I went through a six years accelerated medical program without using a computer even once. It was all paper and pen. I was the only person who even owned a laptop on campus initially. The only thing that kept me going was learning medicine. The cases I encountered on a daily basis were just out of the pages of my textbooks, it was almost like a dream. I would have six tuberculosis patients per shift. Every day there was hepatic cirrhosis patient where I could not just palpate the nodules but see them visibly. It was tragic. It was awesome. It helped me to swallow the hard pill that I literally could not eat the food served and developed duodenal ulcers in less than two years. But I made it. Then, back in NYC, nobody gave a shit. Well, firstly, no one cared what I went through, the cases I treated, the surgical procedures I mastered before the age of 22. It was a huge blow.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Currently, my work involves speaking to other entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country helping them access hidden health insurance plans. My specialty is medically underwritten policies which I advocate for a lot. It really marries my medical background to assessing eligibility for health insurance plans, so I find my work to be super easy. I don’t know very many MD’s doing what I am doing so I certainly feel like I stand out from my colleagues. You also don’t need to be an MD to do what I do, and I struggled with that for a long time too! It felt like all my challenging years in Bangladesh were for nothing. But after some time, I learned to get around that mindset and lean into my unique background and use that to position myself as the expert professional in my field. Seriously though, when was the last time you had a medical doctor advising you on the best health insurance plan for you? I don’t even charge anything for my services!

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
My industry changes every week, lol! It’s ever-changing and it’s my job to keep up with all the changes so I can advise my clients better.

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