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Banking on Career Growth
Hispanic professionals seeking security, innovation and growth can bank on jobs in banking, finance and insurance.
There are few industries that are constantly evolving, frequently hiring and providing a variety of growth opportunities: banking, finance and insurance.
At first glance, they may seem at odds with each other, but all work harmoniously to create both short-term and long-term success and security for customers.
Diversified financial services institutions that offer the trifecta of banking, financial planning and insurance want to protect their customers’ money and soothe their financial worries via loans, advising, saving solutions and so forth while providing customers with a variety of insurance products that deliver a strong sense of safety at home, in business, on the medical front and elsewhere.
The bottom line is that banking, finance and insurance jobs share one mission: to help others. In this feature meet four employees who explain the ins and outs of their jobs while providing crucial career advice. And learn why there are myriad opportunities for Hispanic professionals in these sectors.
Unum’s Hernandez-Johnson Puts Family Protection at the Forefront
As an ask Unum manager for Unum US, Velvet Hernandez-Johnson directs a team of specialists who serve Unum’s brokers and plan administrators. “My role allows me to lead others to deliver high-quality, consistent and reliable service every day,” Hernandez-Johnson, who has been with Unum for 15 years.
She started out in the claims department, working her way up to her current leadership position. “Working in claims taught me so much as a young professional. The role exposed me to customer service, disability insurance and the needed collaboration with professionals of different backgrounds -such as nurses, doctors, and attorneys - who helped in the validation of a claim,” she shares.
“Most importantly, it helped me in my understanding that insurance is about people. I’ve seen how a disabled person with insurance coverage was still able to fulfill financial obligations, carry out his wishes for his family and have peace of mind.”
This is why she always tells “people life insurance is not the most important coverage; disability is. This is because it protects your ability to provide for your family and yourself while you’re unable to work, and you’re still alive,” asserts the insurance professional.
Recently, Hernandez-Johnson, an MBA graduate from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, spearheaded her department’s recruiting efforts by defining the recruiting strategy for completing interviews and selecting the right talent for the right roles. “Partnerships and collaboration are key, but attention to detail is a must. There are many moving pieces that go into a recruiting effort,” she outlines. “And the most rewarding piece is to make an offer and welcome a new hire to the company.”
Hernandez-Johnson, a Guatemalan native, attributes her career success to her parents for instilling a strong work ethic, as well as to many others on her journey: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the time investment and help others have gifted me.”
One of her mentors is Larry Tong, her former first manager at Unum US, part of the Chattanooga, TN-headquartered Unum Group.
“He understood the additional challenges I had as a Latino woman, a minority in a large corporation,” she recalls.
“He saw talent in me, and he believed in me when I struggled to believe in myself. Together we created a community program helping Latino first-generation graduates to break into corporate America by teaching them how to apply and interview for a job. This initiative expanded and became the Paying It Forward Unum Volunteers, which is a group of Unum leaders assisting students, from local high schools and universities, in their job hunting preparation.”
Her advice for today’s job seeker is: “Finish a degree, travel and whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability. It doesn’t matter if it’s service, retail or corporate. Put your heart into it! You will get noticed.”
Uncover Unum job opportunities at unumgroup.com/Careers. Connect on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Unum Balance Sheet
Unum Group is a provider of financial protection benefits in the U.S and the U.K. Its primary businesses are Unum US, Colonial Life, Starmount Life and Unum UK. Unum’s portfolio includes disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental and vision coverage.
Unearth more at unumgroup.com.
Lazzarini Sets People Up for Financial Success at Bank of the West
Today Maria R. Lazzarini serves as the executive vice president and regional manager, consumer banking division regional banking business for Bank of the West.
However, banking was “an unexpected career for me,” recalls Lazzarini.
“Growing up the child of Spanish immigrants, I remember one day my father went to the bank to get a loan to do some home improvements, and they denied him the loan as he didn’t even have a checking account. It was then I realized the important role banking could play in people’s lives and, at the same time, the need for financial education to help people set themselves up for financial success.”
Armed with a business degree from Santa Clara (CA) University, Lazzarini applied for a position as a management trainee in international banking for BNP (Banque nationale de Paris), which had just acquired Bank of the West. She’s been with the company for 35 years and is based in the company’s San Francisco, CA headquarters.
Currently, Lazzarini leads a division of more than 170 branches, which makes up 32 percent of the bank’s network, spanning Northern and Central California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Northern Nevada.
“Banking has been a terrific fit for me,” says Lazzarini. “It has enabled me to learn about many different industries and businesses - not just banking - while being able to work with teams of amazing people over the years to both make a difference in the lives of our customers and in the communities around us.”
According to Lazzarini, there’s been a transformation within retail banking. “We have fewer transactions happening because people are using more mobile devices and direct deposits, so there’s not as much of a reason to go to a bank branch,” she explains.
“As a result, over the past year, we’ve overhauled the way the branches operate to be less transactional and more consultative.”
Lazzarini and her colleagues centralized operations so the branches are more efficient and the bankers are freed up to spend more time helping customers, all with the goal of improving customer experience and meeting customers’ financial needs.
“Whether it’s to consult for a mortgage, business banking, wealth management or other, these services reflect our customers’ need for a more consultative banker who can handle transactions, as well as talk about products and open accounts,” she elaborates.
“I love what I do,” continues Lazzarini, who’s very involved in the bank’s MixCity Mentoring Program, which is a network of organizations that support the advancement of women.
“I feel fortunate to be able to help others - team members, as well as customers - grow their businesses, buy their first homes, save for retirement, finance tuition for their children and everything in between.”
Browse career opportunities at bankofthewest.com/about-us/careers.html. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Bank of the West Balance Sheet
Bank of the West is a regional financial services company and a subsidiary of BNP Paribas. It provides a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services via 600-plus offices in 22 states and digital channels.
Observe more at bankofthewest.com.
Allstate’s Arroyo Climbs Corporate Ladder While Coaching Others
At 20 years old Rosalinda (Rosy) Arroyo was taking college courses, working as a manager in a department store and seeking a career change.
“I went for a job at Allstate because I wanted a challenge,” she recollects. “It’s a big company and it means a lot to me that their slogan is, ‘You’re in good hands with Allstate.”
Arroyo now works as an Allstate agency process specialist. She was recently promoted to her current job last year after 2.5 years working in a similar role with independent agents for the Northbrook, IL-headquartered Allstate.
“For the past 18 years Allstate has challenged me to take on bigger and better jobs. Among other roles, I’ve sold life, health and property-casualty insurance; been a call center team leader and quality response coach; and worked with Allstate agents to help them better take care of their customers,” describes Arroyo.
“All this while raising four children with my husband of 26 years - which is why I’m still working on that college degree! However, my business administration classes have given me extra tools to do my job.”
Today, as a business consultant providing support, Arroyo trains and coaches more than 300 Allstate exclusive agency owners and their staffs.
“I help with anything from implementing new technology, such as our system to provide insurance quotes, to coaching them on how to grow their small businesses through marketing and cross-selling opportunities, such as our recent Home + Life insurance campaign,” she explains.
Since she’s bilingual, Arroyo’s also been assigned to work with a group of exclusive agents who prefer being coached in Spanish. “In addition, I help our current agencies recruit new staff and encourage entrepreneurs to become Allstate agency owners.”
Arroyo credits her job success to “going beyond knowing the company and its products.”
She adds: “I’ve succeeded by coaching, educating, influencing and building relationships with people. However, knowing insurance also has helped me protect my family, manage my finances and make recommendations to family and friends.”
Her parents emigrated from central Mexico to America and imparted some life advice to Arroyo, which she takes to heart. “They taught me by example to work hard, have passion and be eager to learn. It’s natural to be scared of new things, but if you’re open to career opportunities, then you’re also giving yourself the opportunity to achieve success.”
Her advice for job seekers is to embrace your culture and bring your whole self to work. “Our differences and varying perspectives help us do a better job and get things done, working together. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help from your coworkers, neighbors or mentors. And join groups that can help you in your career.”
For example, she’s one of the directors for Allstate’s Professional Latino Allstate Network (PLAN) employee resource group. It “helps members build business relationships and grow professionally,” she notes.
Ascertain Allstate careers at allstate.com/careers.aspx. Connect on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.
Allstate Balance Sheet
The Allstate Corporation is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties via auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names.
Eye more at allstate.com.
Moyett Uses Her Creativity to Help BBVA Shine Brightly
Houston, TX-based Sheiludis Moyett is the senior vice president, director, strategic partnerships at BBVA Compass. She’s been with the company for 11 years, and has always been passionate about the financial field.
“I’m good with numbers and even worked as a math tutor. That being said, I’m also creative,” Moyett reveals.
“After college I was fortunate enough to work at one of the leading advertising agencies in Puerto Rico,” she recalls.
“My team and I worked with one of the largest clients at the agency, Banco Popular, which is a smaller market, but has consistently been on the ‘leading edge’ of financial institutions. From Banco Popular I moved into a new agency that did business with BBVA. After that BBVA became one of my top clients. Eventually, I was offered the chance to work at BBVA in Houston.”
Moyett loves what she does. Her responsibilities include driving all strategic partnerships and sponsorships, including activation, negotiation and strategy, as well supporting and developing BBVA Compass’ branded content strategy and production.
“Many people don’t think of finance and banking as exciting, however that misconception has always driven and inspired me to be creative and ‘break through’ in a highly regulated industry,” states Moyett, a graduate of Universidad de Puerto Rico.
“What I mean by a highly regulated industry is that in this business we sometimes face some challenges when it comes to communicating creatively when any given term/word can trigger a number of disclosures and touch on many regulations. We need to navigate carefully to make sure our communication is creative and attractive.”
In 2016 Birmingham, AL-headquartered BBVA Compass launched its Bright Futures campaign featuring the odds-defying stories of the bank’s brand ambassadors - mostly professional athletes. Brand ambassadors include eight-time NBA All-Star and current Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant, as well as Becky Hammon, who played for the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars before becoming the NBA’s first full-time female assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs and becoming the first female All-Star Game coach.
Brand ambassadors help put a voice to BBVA Compass’ 10 Bright Principles, which are an articulation of the bank’s desire to give everyone it reaches a road map to a brighter future. Moyett helped select the featured athletes, was involved with the creative structure, led the production, supervised the final edits and selected what was aired. She was at every single shoot, and always on set for the action.
“This campaign was very successful; an unprecedented engagement for our brand. Our inspirational brand ambassadors from the NBA explained how BBVA Compass’ principles related to their personal lives and successes. They all had relevant message to share and encouraged a bright future for all - professional athlete or not,” she points out.
Moyett’s advice for recent college grads is to “prepare and do your research, come in ready to talk about the organization, bring in your perspective and some ideas that can help your interviewer see your interest and passion. This will make you stand out!”
View BBVA jobs at bbvacompass.com/our-story/careers.html. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.
BBVA Balance Sheet
BBVA Compass is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates 672 branches, including 344 in Texas, 89 in Alabama, 75 in Arizona, 62 in California, 45 in Florida, 38 in Colorado and 19 in New Mexico. It’s a subsidiary of BBVA Compass Bancshares Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of BBVA. And the BBVA Group is the largest financial institution in Spain and Mexico.
See more at bbvacompass.com.
Opportunity in Insurance: Filling the Generational Gap
The insurance industry is facing the same workforce dilemma as the entire country: an aging population. Baby Boomers are now leaving the workforce, leaving an opportunity for younger professionals to consider their long-term career options in a variety of fields such as insurance. In fact, now’s a great time for younger Millennial professionals to start a long-term career as an insurance agent - especially if they’re bilingual.
I’ve successfully worked in the insurance industry for several years, and as a regional director for Combined Insurance - a provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health and life insurance products and a Chubb company - I see this opportunity just waiting to be taken for several reasons.
Here are the top five reasons for choosing the insurance sector:
1. Bilingual Agents in Demand: The Latino population in the U.S. doubled during the past 15 years, and has surpassed 55 million, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau numbers. Many consumers in this segment of the population continue to communicate in Spanish, or they may know English, but are more comfortable conversing in Spanish. Bilingual sales agents are in demand, and have an advantage over other salespeople who can’t engage with customers in their language of choice.
2. Unlimited Career Potential: As a result, insurance organizations are building infrastructure to capture this underserved market. Bilingual agents who begin while this segment of the market takes off have the chance to grow and become future leaders in our industry.
3. Helping the Community: The industry’s seeking individuals who are highly engaged in their neighborhoods and regarded as people who look out for the welfare of the community. As a trusted source, they can explain different types of insurance that can help Latinos, such as supplemental insurance designed to help pay for costs medical insurance doesn’t cover.
4. Virtually Limitless Compensation Potential: Compensation is virtually limitless because the agent sets compensation goals for themselves. Good organizations also play a proactive role in providing their agents the tools they need to help them succeed by offering training, career development opportunities and incentives for strong performance.
5. Work-Life Balance: Insurance is custom-driven, but insurance sales agents can set their own schedules, planning work and meetings around other important life events related to their families.
– Modesto Flores
About the Author: Modesto Flores leads sales in the state of Texas as a regional director for Glenview, IL-based Combined Insurance, combinedinsurance.com/us-en/Careers/index.aspx.
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