Sep. 15, 2011
Successful people often share a common quality: they refuse to rest on their laurels, and instead seek out new challenges and opportunities for growth. Sound like you? If you're a New York life agent with at least three years in the field, writes at least 100 new paid cases a year, has qualified for Executive Council or higher, and are on track for MDRT qualification, then we may have the new challenge you seek: a career in management.
Suggested Call-Out: While wealth within the African-American community is growing, so is an increased awareness of the need to save, invest and plan for the future… As a manager, you'll recruit and develop agents to go out and serve that need - impacting the community and future generations.
That's right, New York Life is looking for leaders, and there's never been a greater need for African-American managers. While wealth within the African-American community is growing, so is an increased awareness of the need to save, invest and plan for the future. Life insurance can play an important role in building a financial foundation, and may help create lasting legacies for generations to come - opening the doors of opportunity to Life insurance industry professionals who work within the community. As a manager, you'll recruit and develop agents to go out and serve that need - impacting the community and future generations. The challenges are great, as are the personal and financial rewards, making it the perfect opportunity for someone who refuses to stop at "success."
On the following pages, you'll meet twelve of New York Life's most successful African-American managers. All share exceptional leadership ability, and the drive and desire to help people succeed. And, like all New York Life managers, their influence is far reaching - touching not only the lives of the agents they inspire, but friends, family, and clients as well.
That is the result of a true passion to lead. As you read these managers' stories, take a moment to acknowledge the difference they have made - to New York Life, to individuals, and to their communities. They are true trailblazers. Professional African-American men and women who took on the challenge to go beyond themselves and make their mark in management. And, in so doing, pave the way for the successes of many others - maybe even you.
For Annette J. Blair, a Partner in New York Life's Brooklyn General Office, the management career track allowed her to achieve new heights of success.
Annette began her career at New York Life in 2000 when she immigrated to New York from her native Jamaica. Working as an overnight home healthcare aide in Jamaica, Annette was already earning a fairly good living .She knew she could more. Encouraged by a family friend who worked for New York Life, Annette applied for a position as an agent. Although she had no prior experience with life insurance, Annette was on the job within a month of her first interview at the Brooklyn office.
Annette didn't know many people in America, so, outgoing by nature, she canvassed shopping areas in Brooklyn on foot and introduced herself to shoppers and business owners. "In our community, people didn't know much about life insurance because no one had spoken to them about it," she says.
Her feet-on-the-street approach worked very well. Over the next three years, Annette became a Registered Representative for NYLIFE Securities, achieved President's Council status, won numerous product awards and citations, became the New Org Leader in 2002 and 2003, and was a qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table in both 2003 and 2004.
In December 2003, Annette was promoted to Partner after just three years as an agent, a testament to her ambition as well as New York Life's extensive training and diversity programs.
In her first year as a Partner, Annette was consistently recognized for her excellence-specifically in the area of agent recruitment and development. In fact, she qualified as a Top Gun Recruiter during that first year.
"One of the great things about New York Life is the mobility and the vast opportunities you are offered," she says. "Working for New York Life is very powerful. The Company encourages you to make what you want of your career."
Today, Annette says much of her job - and her joy - revolves around developing the careers of agents and managers. New York Life provides her all the tools she needs.
"What's so great about New York Life is that while the Company is over 165 years old, it's also on the cutting edge of training and development, including excellent online instruction and other tools on our Agency Intranet and Portal," she says. "The company provides all the expertise available for training and career development."
And, despite its long and storied history, New York Life is an organization that steadily adapts its expectations to meet the evolving needs of Managers, giving them the best chance to succeed. "The company is open to ideas from you, and you are listened to," Annette says. "You don't feel like someone is constantly telling you what to do. You really are operating your own business with proper guidance."
Suggested Call-Out:"Working for New York Life is very powerful. The Company encourages you to make what you want of your career."
Michael Boddie, Partner in the Norfolk General Office, has found it's never too late to make a change for the better, to help secure a better retirement.
A successful car salesman for 18 years in Norfolk, Michael became concerned about retirement security and began looking for a new position. He knew he wanted a career that offered residual income-that is, repeated regular income earned every time a product or service is renewed.
"The only career that I knew of that that offered a residual income was insurance, and New York Life was the Company I wanted to be with," he says.
But even more important to Michael was the opportunity to earn a pension. "I came here because I was looking for a more secure way of preparing for retirement and New York Life has something that 90 or 95 percent of companies in America don't have today, and that's a defined benefit pension plan," he says.
And so he joined New York Life in December of 2002 and over the next four years became the top New Org sales agent in his office. He wrote more than 100 life insurance policies annually four years in a row by submitting a minimum of ten applications a month for 54 consecutive months, and achieved New York Life's Executive Council four times as an agent.
Michael says Randy Cox, the Managing Partner of the Norfolk office, inspired him to move into management. "I liked his vision of where he wanted to take the office and that made me want to be a part of it," he says. Under Randy's guidance, Michael has continued to excel as a Partner by being named a Top 50 partner in 2009 and qualifying for the Company's elite Gathering of Eagles roster that same year.
While Randy's business vision sparked Michael's initial ambition, Michael says that New York Life's management training and education programs also have played an invaluable role in building his leadership skills. For instance, he attended the New York Life University for fundamental partner training and graduated from several five-day career courses for partners thereafter. He also attends the company's African-American cultural market meeting every year.
For Michael, New York Life is unique in that it offers an open path to many career opportunities. "The opportunity for advancement is tremendous here," he says. "It's not like most companies, where you have to wait until someone is promoted or retires to move up. If you are producing and you learn the New York Life system, you can be promoted to Senior Partner or even Managing Partner."
When recruiting new managers, Michael says he looks for people who are motivated to help others grow professionally and personally. "I enjoy helping someone blossom in his or her career," he says. "It makes me feel good when I see lives and families change, or see someone prosper financially. There are several agents who are much better off financially since they've been in my unit compared with where they were before joining New York Life."
Suggested Call-Out: "I enjoy helping someone blossom in his or her career. It makes me feel good when I see lives and families change, or see someone prosper financially."
As a Manager/ Director in a non-profit health care sector for more than 10 years, Euletta Gordon-Campbell experienced job satisfaction by making a difference in peoples' lives. But making a difference meant dealing with a high level of frustration associated with being tied to a pager 24/7 and having a cap on her salary, regardless of the hours worked.
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."
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 Houston. 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 role in developing a number of initiatives for the company, including teaching a course on life, annuities and insurance to seniors in the University of Houston Bauer School of Business. In his new role as Assistant Vice President, Field Training and Development, he works with African-American agents and managers around the country. Living in Texas with his wife, Yvonne, Sam is an elder in his church, Southwest Presbyterian in Bellaire. He has been on several mission trips to Mexico, coaching a basketball team of children at risk, helping them succeed through teamwork and skill.
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 one-on-one as an agent - helping individual families and building a block of business. Or you can make a difference by helping other people build a career." Both have their rewards, he says. "Here in Houston, I had a lady I trained who came to me and said, 'You're the reason I'm here.'" He adds, with a laugh, "She calls me Yoda."
Suggested Call-Out: "You can make a difference one-on-one as an agent - helping individual families and building a block of business. Or you can make a difference by helping other people build a career. Both have their rewards."
For Lawrence Carter, recently promoted to the Pacific Zone Corporate Vice President in charge of Recruiting and Retention, a career at New York Life has brought almost limitless possibilities for advancement. His career is a perfect profile of how to move up and advance.
Lawrence began his insurance career in 1986 as a life insurance agent with Prudential. During that time, Wayne Bragg, Managing Partner of New York Life's Los Angeles General Office, doggedly pursued Lawrence. In fact, Wayne spent five years trying to convince Lawrence to move to the Company. Lawrence says he finally decided to sign on with New York Life in 2000 because the opportunity to work with and learn from Wayne was simply too good to turn down.
During his six years as a Partner in the Los Angeles General Office, he had three opportunities to move up to Managing Partner in three states before he accepted the fourth offer as Managing Partner in the Reno office in 2006. "One of the things that I applaud New York Life for is the opportunities," Lawrence says. "There is unlimited growth potential and upward mobility in a management career here."
And the move has paid off handsomely. Lawrence has qualified for top sales and management awards that include the company's Gathering of Eagles, Top 25 Partners in 2004 and 2005. He took the reins as Managing Partner of the Reno General Office in 2006. In 2008 he was named one of the top recruiters in his zone after signing on 11 agents that year.
"The main reason I'm a successful Managing Partner is because Wayne Bragg recommended and encouraged me to prepare for this position," he says, noting that Wayne recently retired after 30 years in the Los Angeles office. "And now my goal is to develop agents and managers so that they are promotable."
"The ability to not only encourage but empower agents to realize the tremendous opportunities for advancement in their income and lifestyle is incredibly rewarding," he says. "I am committed to a recruiting process that allows candidates to demonstrate their ability within the business and create their own future."
When scouting for new managers and agents, Lawrence says he looks for candidates with a history of integrity. "They also need to have a good social IQ because the business is all about relationships," he says. "And they must be competitive in order to reach their full potential."
Of all the benefits he offers potential recruits, one that he is most proud of is the ability for new managers to obtain continuous professional development. "The resources at New York Life are unprecedented. The management orientation includes a full gamut of professional development and training that most companies are not investing in at this point," Lawrence says. "It not only accelerates your skills for recruiting agents but more importantly it builds your leadership skills."
Suggested Call-Out: "One of the things that I applaud New York Life for is the opportunities. There is unlimited growth potential and upward mobility in a management career here."
Ed Dunmore knows from experience that even when things are going well, it is worth considering your options. A native of Detroit who attended the University of Arkansas on a music scholarship (he plays trumpet), Ed entered the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School upon graduation. He served with the Marines as a Logistics Officer in Norfolk, Virginia, and when his tour was up, he found success in the automotive industry. It was actually his own New York Life agent who suggested that he consider a career with the Company.
"I had no real knowledge about insurance," Ed says. "I was happy with my career in the car business, and I was doing well. But I began looking at the longevity of what I was doing in comparison to my agent. New York Life had a more appealing long-term track."
Ed joined New York Life in 1997, and that year was named New agent of the Year (Norfolk General Office). He was also the New Org Life and Overall First Year Commission Leader in 1997; he achieved Life All Star and Centurion consecutively from 1997 to 2000, and attained Executive Council in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Ed was initially unsure about moving into management, but he remembered something his former Managing Partner had once said to him: "There's no way to know whether you're going to like coaching versus playing until you've had an opportunity to do both." He is grateful for the advice. "When I dove into this training thing, it was like breathing new air," he says. "It was truly a wonderful experience, molding or having some level of impact on young people coming into this industry. So I've enjoyed it full tilt from day one."
"I think it's important for young black men and women that come into this business to see the possibilities for success. I hope to be a good example in that regard."
Suggested Call-Out: "I think it's important for young black men and women that come into this business to see the possibilities for success. I hope to be a good example in that regard."
The opportunity to be his own boss, while operating within the safety net of a Fortune 100 company, and working with a diverse team of people brought Van Ewing, who is now the Managing Partner of the Chicago North Shore General Office, to New York Life in 2004.
Having worked for Texaco as a director of mergers and acquisitions in New York City, Van appreciated the opportunity to re-evaluate his career. He had grown disaffected with the hectic international travel that mergers and acquisitions required. He also wanted an opportunity to be his own boss.
Life insurance seemed a perfect fit since it would enable him to work independently and utilize his financial background. It would also complement his commitment to good citizenship, and community involvement.
"I wanted to be a business-owner, but I also wanted to help people in the community - specifically the African-American community - with financial planning and investing," he says.
Van chose New York Life over competitors because he felt it had the edge on diversity. He notes that New York Life's Cultural Markets initiatives demonstrate the Company's pledge to diversity. "There is a real financial commitment to help these markets grow," he says.
Van worked as an agent for only 22 months before becoming a Partner in 2006. He was promoted to Senior Partner in 2008 and the next year was named Managing Partner. Van says this meteoric career trajectory was made possible through the support of his supervisor, Managing Partner Michael Scovel, now Senior Vice President, West Central Zone, who suggested that he open and run a new office in downtown Chicago. At the time, New York Life's only sales office in the Windy City was in the suburbs.
Scovel's confidence in his abilities, Van says, put his career on the fast track. "My Managing Partner helped me and trusted me enough to get this office started," he says.
Van invests the same trust and guidance in his own recruits to help them advance quickly. "There is a lot of satisfaction in helping a person move up," he says.
Van says the Company's willingness to take a chance on an urban sales office enabled him to recruit from a very diverse community. "When you work downtown in a large metropolitan area, there will be a lot of diversity," he says. "I believe that, to run be an effective office, it must represent the fabric of your community."
Van says it is easier to attract talent when you represent a household name like New York Life. "The cool thing is that I am working for a Company with a brass name, but I'm in a career in which I truly do get to help individuals from all walks of life," he says. "I'm able to attract and select people, whether they have degrees or not, and bring them into a program where they can be trained and put on the right track."
Suggested Call-Out: "I am working for a Company with a brass name, but I'm in a career in which I truly do get to help individuals from all walks of life."
As a student intern in the Charlotte General Office, Eric Jackson got an inside look at New York Life from an outsider's perspective. And he liked what he saw. So, after graduating from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte in 2002, with a B.S. in business management, Eric immediately joined the Charlotte office. "I decided to remain with New York Life upon graduation after having a chance to see the different career paths the Company offered, and the potential growth within it," he says. "I had a chance to see the culture of the Company and felt that I really fit in." He also saw a chance to have a positive impact as an African-American manager in the industry.
Eric started as an Associate Sales Development Manager in Charlotte, training new and established agents. In 2004, he moved to Indianapolis as a Sales Development Manager in the Indiana General Office, and then in 2007 he moved to the Norfolk General Office. In 2008 he was promoted to his current position as Retirement Market Specialist, responsible for the Greater Chicago Office and Northern Ohio Office in Cleveland.
As a manager during his entire time with the Company, Eric says he likes being able to work with and guide New York Life agents. "I find myself more passionate about motivating agents to do what they do best," he says. "I like to say that every day I have a chance to motivate and inspire agents, which will allow them to go out and change the world. I see the opportunity to have more outreach because I get a chance to work with multiple agents, who work with all their clients. I enjoy the training, development and the marketing behind it all. Having grown up on the coast of South Carolina, the Chicago weather has been an adjustment," he notes, "but I enjoy getting around and seeing other parts of the country and working with agents from different areas."
Eric also enjoys working at an industry leading company and having the opportunity to make a positive impact in his community. "I think it's extremely important for New York Life and all companies in the industry to show commitment to not only the agents, but also the community at large. New York Life is focused on diversity; it's not something we just talk about. It's a fair and reputable Company that offers many different programs and incentives for agents and managers. There are great growth opportunities for people who are ambitious in their careers. There is definitely the opportunity to grow professionally and personally."
Suggested Call-Out: "I find myself more passionate about motivating agents to do what they do best. I like to say that every day I have a chance to motivate and inspire agents, which will allow them to go out and change the world."
Born and raised in Barbados, Maurice Springer came to the United States for school in 1992. By 1998, he was teaching political science at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, when an acquaintance introduced him to a manager in the local office of New York Life. Though he knew almost nothing about the insurance business, Maurice was intrigued by what he learned about the company's opportunities for advancement. "What attracted me most was the idea of having a structured program and path," he says. "If I did X, I was rewarded with Y. It was pretty clear what my career path could be and the options that lay ahead."
During his time as an agent, Maurice received nine New Org agent of the Month awards and the New Org Life Leader trophy. He was also a two-time Executive Council member and a Life All-Star producer. Within two years, he was promoted to Partner and, in 2004, relocated to New York as a Sales Development Manager in the Manhattan General Office. The following year he was promoted to Assistant Vice President in the Management Development Division of U.S. Life Insurance and Agency. In this capacity he is responsible for curriculum development and execution of the Company's Management Development Leadership programs.
"From day one it was my goal to move to management and ultimately join the Home Office team. For me, when it comes to both personal and professional growth, the programs that New York Life has in place are priceless. And yet your development is not just limited to what the Company offers. Through industry involvement in organizations, conferences and career development forums, you get to look at the whole big insurance and investment industry picture." From this vantage point, it is easy to see how well New York Life leads the industry on so many levels, including agent and management training.
"I tell people that there are really only three things it takes to be successful at New York Life, and with them you'll find it's the ideal career. Number One, you have to be coachable. I walked into this business not knowing much about it, and threw out any preconceived notions. Just throw it out and be willing to listen to what people who have been here before you have to say. Number Two, you've got to have a good work ethic, to initially put out the effort that is needed. And Number Three, you've got to be disciplined, to get up and do the things that need to be done when no one else wants to do them. Those are the only three things you need."
Broderick Young learned about the importance of life insurance at an early age. When he was a child growing up in Miami, his parents took in the six children of an aunt who had passed away. The aunt had no life insurance. Perhaps it's no surprise that a few years after graduating from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Finance and Insurance, he came to work at New York Life, to make sure other families did not end up facing financial strains from similar circumstances. "I've always wanted to help other families understand the importance of life insurance and what life insurance from a quality carrier like New York Life can do for them."
He was initially directed to New York Life by his supervisor at another insurance company, who recommended New York Life's training programs. "My supervisor said, 'Work there for three years, get the training and call me back and you can work with me in my agency,'" Broderick says. He took the advice, but once at New York Life, he knew he wanted to stay.
Broderick joined the Miami General Office in 2000, and was its Leading New Associate in 2001. He was also the Leading New Associate in the South Florida General Office in 2002 after the office merged, and then moved in to management in the Valley Forge General office in 2003 as an Associate Sales Development Manager. In 2006, he became the Development Manager of the Orlando General Office, before being promoted in 2008 to his current position as Director of Development for the Greater Washington General Office.
Moving into training and management felt natural to Broderick, who comes from a family of educators: his father, mother and several siblings have worked as teachers, principals and school administrators. "I have a passion for teaching, educating and helping," he says.
"One of the issues in the African-American community is a lack of education on some of the ways financial products like life insurance can work and help a family to build wealth and a strong financial foundation. But just as important as the need for education is the access to quality products. This is why I am excited to have a Company like New York Life in our community, with the resources and the stability to back the promises that they make; it's a huge opportunity."
"My Development Managers in the South Florida General Office were instrumental to my success as an agent. I loved what they were able to do, the fact that they were able to help me build a career. And I wanted to do that." He found the career path clearly marked. "I'm only 33 years old and I've been with this Company for ten years," he says. "From what I've seen, the only thing standing in the way of your success at New York Life is yourself. New York Life has a platform to make sure that you gain all the skills and knowledge you need. So if you have the desire to be successful, there's no better place to be."
Suggested Call-Out: "I am excited to have a Company like New York Life in our community, with the resources and the stability to back the promises that they make; it's a huge opportunity."
For Anthony Epps, the move into management was a slow journey. He had been with the company for 22 years, successfully working as an agent in the New York market. It wasn't until the summer of 2009, lured by the idea of new challenges, that he made the decision to join the management ranks at New York Life.
A native of the South Bronx who returned to the city after earning his B.A. from Westmar College in Le Mars, Iowa, Anthony first worked as a financial planner before being recruited by New York Life. For years, he enjoyed the independence of running his own agent office and working one-on-one with customers. "As an agent my job was to help clients understand they had a problem in planning for their future," he says, "and then show them what they could do to solve that problem -- to save money and taxes and protect their family and protect their assets."
While at New York Life, he has pursued and earned an M.S. in Financial Services from The American College of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He is a Registered Representative, and a member of the International Association of Financial Planners. He also served as an Executive Committee Member of the Agents Advisory Council (AAC). He has received many awards, including Caribbean Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, National Congressional Committee New York Businessman of the Year and National Leadership Award, Network Journal Magazine's, "Top Business People Under Age Forty" and Harlem YMCA Black Achiever in Industry. He has also appeared on ABC's Good Morning America and in American Legacy, Black Enterprise, Financial Planning, and Fortune magazines.
His thriving business as an agent was a difficult thing to give up. But the change has been a good one. "It has allowed me to learn new skills," he says of his move into management. "It was a new challenge for me. I had more or less mastered my role as an adviser working with clients. My job now as a Life Product Consultant is to help both established agents and new agents, along with managing partners and the other staff in the office, to drive business. The way I look at it now is I have a chance to help a lot more clients, by helping a lot of agents. It's been challenging, but really rewarding."
Now he is able to share his 22 years of expertise and watch agents put it to use. And he has seen first-hand the company's commitment to its own employees. "More and more opportunities are being provided to everybody across the board," he says, as New York Life continues to invest in widening its talent pool. "It's a company that promotes its own people, and provides movement around the company. For that reason, there tends to be a lot of career longevity with employees. That's one of the great things about New York Life: You have options." Options to learn, grow, and take on new challenges even after decades on the job.
Suggested Call-Out: "I have a chance to help a lot more clients, by helping a lot of agents. It's been challenging, but really rewarding."
The Moxie For Management
As a manager at New York Life, you could make more
of a social impact-and make more money-than you ever
But to succeed in management, you must first be a leader-able to teach by
example and inspire by serving. There are various management positions available,
depending on your performance and interests:
Agency Associate. For the successful agent interested in management, but who also wants to retain their career as an agent.
Management Associate. For agents who want to enter management, but are not ready to begin as a full time Partner.
Agency Standards Consultant. The compliance officer of the General Office, responsible for regulatory licenses and appointments.
Sales Development Manager. For organized leaders capable of training and developing successful agents.
Partner. For those who want a career dedicated to recruiting and training the best and brightest agents.
Senior Partner. For the successful Partner who is ready to take on more responsibility in their General Office.
Managing Partner. For top Senior Partners ready to rise to the top of management and run their own General Office.
Performance Based Promotion-
What You Do, Not Who You Know
At New York Life, how far you go in rising through the management ranks isn't based on whom you know or where you're from-it depends on what you do on the job. Our performance-based promotion program clearly defines in writing your path to success, so you know exactly what you need to do to make it to the top. No politics. No interpretation. If you perform, you get promoted. Period. Can you say that about your company? And unlike some other companies that talk about diversity, we show it. Just walk through our halls to see we mean it. If you're an agent or manager with another company, check out New York Life and find out for yourself why we're called The Company You Keep.®
Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Time To Up Your Game If you think you have what it takes to make it in management, talk to your Managing Partner.
The first step is to talk to your Managing Partner-and the person that brought you into New York Life. They can help you determine if management is right for you-and if so, what area to pursue. Your Zone VPs are also great resources for management information such as compensation and how you get paid. You can also find out more about the management opportunity:
Online: Agency Portal >Sales&Marketing >Target Markets >African American Market
Phone: (877) 695-4AAM (4226)
I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying. -Michael Jordan
|The Power Players|