Manager, Account Development, Desjardins Group
I was born/grew up in: Hearst, Ontario, Canada
I now live in: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I completed my training/education at: College Boréal, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. My journey towards my current job is very different from my education. I obtained my Diploma as a Funeral Director and am now an account manager. I have obtained Chartered Insurance Professionals (CIP) designation from the Insurance Institute of Canada, where all insurance agents get licensed.
Describe what you do at work.
A lot of what I do is about developing partnerships/relationships with clients. I visit and work closely with our clients and partners to diagnose needs or problems to be solved. I help them analyze the situation and agree on targeted results. Some common issues I work on are how to increase sales when a group is underperforming, and how to work with the privacy legislation to reach employees and members of different associations and workplace. I take the human way of resolving problems. I ask as many questions as I can and try to make an informed decision. I research what has been done and what are the known results.
I work with our marketing team to make decisions on marketing plans to attract additional customers. I try to use and offer as many options as possible and choose the one that functions for a specific group. Most of my colleagues are located in Toronto. We have monthly video conferences and sometimes have teleconferences. The support that I have is huge from our marketing team. My manager is involved and supportive. I work with actuaries, analysts, insurance agents and claims adjustors. Team work is spectacular. I mostly interact with them via emails or phone calls. I am the only French speaking account manager on my team so our discussions are in English.
I use math and charts, visual presentation, technology, power point presentations, to communicate with our partners. No specialized equipment else than electronic flood detectors. I took business courses and I believe that you can apply it in many industries.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
I helped our partners and friends when selecting insurance coverage. I am happy to review contracts to make sure that we have a win-win-win situation. I like resolving issues, whether it would be in regards to a claim of a contract. I also like knowing that I went above and beyond. Helping others offers me a great comfort. Simplifying an insurance contract and or coverage and I am available for my clients and believe that I am efficient. I don't always know the answer to all the questions, but I do know where to find them.
What motivates you in your career?
My work conditions are perfect, for me. I get to work from home under little supervision. I make my own schedule and I am responsible for my clients. I know what needs to be done and it is up to me to accomplish it. I truly enjoy the trust and freedom that this job offers me.
I might be lacking the sales personality sometimes, but I truly enjoy customer service and letting our partners know that they can rely on me for resolving issues or advancing our partnership. I feel it is very rewarding to gain the trust from our partners.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I wanted to be a funeral director and work in a biology related field. I am far from where I thought I would end up. Being a woman in the Funeral field had limited opportunities 20 some years ago. I’ve heard it is no longer the case and am happy for the much needed evolution.
I worked in a bank part time while being a Funeral Director and since money talks and opportunities were more interesting in the financial side of things, I became a full time employee of Canada Trust. This led to Bank One then MBNA. MBNA had a credit card for Belair Direct Insurance and while talking to a former colleague, he told me that insurance was a great field to work in. I decided to investigate and switched to Belair Direct. I obtained my agent license and wanted to learn more. So I moved to an Insurance Brokerage that also sold commercial insurance, and kept on learning.
I am a curious person by nature and was looking for a change from the insurance field to pursue a career in the RCMP or Border Services. I had no knowledge in those fields but was interested in learning. However, a friend of mine recommended me for this position. I got the job and love it!
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
For fun I stay active by cycling, running, swimming, cross country skiing and skating.
I volunteer for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. I also volunteer as an indoor cycling instructor at a gym. I help out a friend that has a triathlon company and volunteer whenever needed for most causes such as flood relief and cancer society.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
It is a very competitive world. Always go above and beyond. Ask to shadow in the field of your dreams and ask if you can help out. Make sure you know the right people and that they know you. Always do your job with a smile. Persevere; there are so many amazing jobs out there.