Featured New York Life Manager: Samuel Bridgeman
Corporate Vice President for Agency Sales Development
As a young man, Samuel Bridgeman learned lessons of competition and teamwork on the basketball court that he has carried with him through a successful 28-year career at New York Life. Growing up in East Chicago, Ind., he was a junior and senior class president at East Chicago Washington High School, a member of the National Honor Society and president of the school band. He was also a basketball star, winning a basketball scholarship to the University of Denver. A talent for basketball ran in Sam’s family. His brother Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman, spent 12 years as a player in the National Basketball Association.
The most important lesson of the game, he says is this:”You have to understand that you have to pay the price. You have to go through the practice and the training. And you have to understand that if you pay the price and you still don’t win, you have to pick yourself up and do it again.”
Focus and dedication lead to success
That kind of focus and dedication has translated to professional success. After college, Sam was working as a manager for Sears when a former boss recruited him to New York Life. He spent several years as an Agent, achieving Council three times, and as a sales manager. Next, he moved into training and management, first in the North Colorado office and then in the Houston office. Sam attributes his success to focus, dedication and patience. “Athletes understand deferred gratification,” Sam notes. “And as an Agent, success is not immediate; you have to make a lot of calls and do a lot of work to be successful.”
As a member of the management team in the Houston General Office, Sam played a major role in developing a number of initiatives for the company. In 2009 Sam took on the role as Assistant Vice President for Field Training and Development, working with African American Agents around the country. In April of 2011, Sam was promoted to Corporate Vice President, Zone Training Officer; he is now responsible for the development of trainers in the West Central Zone for New York Life. Living in Texas with his wife Yvonne, Sam is a member of Christ Presbyterian in Flower Mound Texas. He has been on several mission trips to Mexico, coaching a basketball team of children at risk, helping them succeed through teamwork and skill.
Making a difference.
When asked about the difference between being an Agent and a manager, Sam says, “I tell people one’s not better than the other. It’s whatever suits you. Either way, as I like to say, you can make a difference. You can make a difference oneto- one as an Agent helping individual families and building blocks of business. Or you can make a difference by helping other people build a career.” Both have their rewards, he says. “While in Houston, I had a lady I trained who came to me and said, “You’re the reason I am here.” He adds, with a laugh, “She calls me Yoda.”
Why New York Life?
For over 168 years, New York Life has provided financial security to families and businesses, and supports the success of its employees. New York Life offers an innovative workplace. In fact, New York Life was recognized by Working Mother Magazine as a 2012 Best Company for Multicultural Women and named by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) to the 2012 NAFE Top 50 Companies for Executive Women list. The company also earned Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 2013 Diversity Leader Award and has been named a “Top Company for LGBT Equality” by Work Life Matters magazine for 2012.
To learn more about what New York Life can do for your career, visit www.newyorklife.com/africanamericancareers.