Sean M. Hicks: Innovative Leader Shaping the Service Contract Industry

Sean Hicks

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The corporate landscape is undergoing significant transformations, propelled by technological advancements, evolving customer expectations, and the ever-expanding reach of global economies. Amidst these changes, one trend stands out as paramount: the growing importance of digital transformation. In order to stay ahead in this competitive landscape, modern leaders must possess a high level of technological proficiency and be willing to embrace emerging technologies.

Among the esteemed business leaders who embody this forward-thinking mindset and possess a wealth of knowledge and experience, Sean Hicks shines as the CEO of New Leaf Service Contracts, Inc. His visionary approach and unique strategies for business expansion have made a profound impact on the industry. Let us explore his remarkable contributions and how he has propelled his organization to new heights.

Professional Journey of Success

Sean Hicks is a creative leader driving innovation and growth in the industry. He is a seasoned professional with over 30 years of experience in the service and service contract sector. Sean relentlessly pursued quality and loved providing excellent client experiences, starting with his humble beginnings as a Service Manager at Sears Product Service in Florence, Alabama.

Sean began his work at Sears and soon moved through the ranks, obtaining promotions that allowed him to move to more prominent service locations and take on more responsibility. Montgomery Ward took notice of his skills and hired him as a Central Service Manager in Kansas City before promoting him to Regional Service Manager in Tampa, Florida. He made considerable progress during this time, launching ground-breaking projects that changed the face of the business environment.

Following his tenure at Montgomery Ward, Sean relocated to Chicago, Illinois, where he took the crucial Director of Product Services job. In this role, he oversaw a team of over 1,500 repair specialists spread throughout 138 service facilities. Amid rising financial constraints, he successfully transitioned the Wards service fleet into A&E Signature Service, the country’s first countrywide service for appliances and electronics.

Later, Sean started a new chapter in his work by joining Warrantech Home Services in Bedford, Texas. He was the company’s Senior Vice President of Operations, overseeing the contact center, service network expansion, and claim payouts. As he progressed up the corporate ladder, Sean finally became the president of Warrantech Consumer Product Services, Inc., where his creative plans and outstanding leadership skills helped the company grow from an annual revenue of $18 million to an astounding $138 million.

In order to make a lasting impression, Sean and his business partner, Rick Gavino, founded New Leaf in 2011. In September 2020, New Leaf became an employee-owned company truly aligning management and worker goals.   New Leaf has had extraordinary development under Sean’s skilled leadership and has established itself as an innovator.

Empowering Service Excellence

Sean Hicks and Rick Gavino founded New Leaf Service Contracts with a shared vision to revolutionize the service contract industry. They launched the company with a $1 million investment. Based in Irving, Texas, New Leaf has rapidly emerged as a leading player, boasting over 3,000 stores covered by New Leaf service contracts. With a dedicated team of approximately 100 professionals spread across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, they are committed to delivering exceptional service experiences.

New Leaf’s mission revolves around being an empowered organization that harnesses cutting-edge technologies to provide unmatched service. Anchored by its core values of Service, Integrity, and Community, the company sets high standards in its day-to-day operations. In a transformative move, New Leaf converted to a 30% Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in September 2020, fostering a culture of shared ownership.

Redefining Service Contracts with Unmatched Offerings

At the helm of New Leaf, Sean has revolutionized the industry with exclusive services and solutions that surpass competitors. As a third-party service contract administrator, it offers comprehensive coverage for appliances, furniture, and even shoes, covering nearly all consumer spending categories except automobiles. With over 600 clients, ranging from small businesses to large retailers with hundreds of stores, their trusted reputation spans the industry.

New Leaf’s innovation extends beyond traditional contracts. They now collaborate with marketers in the home warranty sector, providing conventional home warranties via email, direct mail, and outbound telemarketing. Their services include product design, compliance, training, and post-sale contract servicing. Additionally, they empower online partners to enter the service contract business in just one week, offering value-added features like money-back guarantees for unused contracts. Remarkably, New Leaf is the sole third-party administrator covering shoe and outerwear brands, solidifying their status as pioneers.

Leader’s Perspective

Sean is in charge of the company’s overall management as Chairman, CEO, and President of New Leaf. He makes crucial judgments, anticipates cutting-edge goods, and establishes strategic goals with an eye on the company’s future. Sean guides and mentors the executive team, giving them the tools they need to operate their day-to-day business effectively. He has established himself as a visionary in the service contract sector through his exceptional administration, leading to several accolades. Under his leadership, New Leaf flourishes as a trailblazing force, influencing the direction of the industry.

Earning the Trust

New Leaf targets American-based apparel, electronics, and household goods retailers and manufacturers looking for service contract and repair network solutions. Service contracts open a profitable retailer channel, boosting profitability and fostering brand loyalty. These extensive services, carefully constructed by New Leaf, enable clients to establish enduring relationships with their consumers. The contracts often last up to five years and link clients to the retailer for a lengthy period, producing significant money. By providing superior customer service, the merchant earns the trust of future customers.

Proactive Mindset in Business

Sean underlines the importance of proactive leadership in a highly competitive corporate environment. Seizing opportunities, managing risks, fostering innovation, navigating change, keeping a customer-centric approach, and inspiring and motivating employees are the six major areas he views as requiring proactive thinking.

Furthermore, he actively seeks methods to stay relevant in changing leadership styles and believes in lifelong learning. He actively participates in business conferences to keep up with current best practices. Attending leadership development seminars gives him even more knowledge about recent developments.

Sean emphasizes the value of developing his company into a center for continuing education because he recognizes the relevance of building a learning culture. He gives his staff the tools to advance professionally and personally by offering thorough training opportunities and valuable resources. He also spends much time networking with colleagues in the sector to acquire essential insights into their changing leadership styles.

Pursuit of Balanced Life

Sean enjoys a fulfilling work-life balance outside of his cabin. He loves watching the University of Alabama football team play, as sports are one of his passions. Traveling with his wife is also a special interest. As Sean aged, he came to appreciate the importance of family and advocated for others to prioritize taking well-deserved vacations with loved ones instead of working excessive overtime.

Advice to Thrive

Sean offers valuable advice to aspiring leaders looking to grow in the service contract industry:

  • Stay curious and seek knowledge. Read books, magazines, papers, etc. to keep the learning cycle active.
  • Attend industry events and network. Build a robust network of business leaders.
  • Embrace failure and learn from it. Then always strive for continuous improvement.


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Also Read: The 10 Prominent Business Leaders, 2023.

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