Happy President’s Day

Today, we celebrate our forefathers, who set the tone for our country; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are two who set the pace. Both were courageous in their own way but changed the dynamic of how things are today.

When I think of them, I think of disruptors – those who are not satisfied with the ‘status quo’ and aren’t afraid to say so. I think we all need to be like these men – this is how movements are made.

If you’re off today, enjoy your day. If not, enjoy your day. But the message is to keep being disruptive about your passions and your message. “Be the change you seek” (Mahatma Ghandi, n.d.).

 

What Do You Wednesday?

(Due to extenuating circumstances, this had to be postponed until today. Better late that never, as they say).

Name/Profession: Susan Havill, Human Resource Business Partner

What led you into this career/profession?

I enjoy helping individuals achieve their full potential and finding ways to promote organizational development that leads to strong business results.

What appealed to you?

The opportunity to partner with leaders to develop people strategies that promote strong business results for the organization.

What did it take for you to get into this position?

I obtained a degree in human resources.  I obtained, also, experience working for leading companies in a variety of human resource roles.

What is the best part of your day?

Collaborating with leaders to develop solutions to their problems.  Training leaders on people development skills.  Coaching leaders on effective strategies to bring out the best in their teams.

What is the worst part of your day?

I really love my current role.  In more entry level HR roles earlier in my career, I spent a lot of time inputting HR data and filing information.  I prefer working on more strategic efforts.

What is the average salary for this position and perks of the job?

The salary for an HR Leader can range from $80,000 to $120,000.   In some roles I have had opportunities to do some fun travel. Entry level roles can average $35-40k, dependent upon the part of the country you work.

How would someone get started in this position?

Get internships during college to build some basic experience.  Volunteer for nonprofit groups to take on HR- related projects. Join HR-related associations and get involved.

What words of advice and/or recommendations would you give to someone thinking of this profession as a career?

It’s very important to achieve HR certification to show that you can apply HR learning to real world business opportunities.  Plus, I found that the course that I look to prepare me for the test was outstanding in helping to broaden my knowledge.

 

Happy Valentines’ Day!

As we celebrate this day, I wanted to wish you a day filled with much love and happiness; spend it finding the positives in your life, and be sure to spread that around. Enjoy your day!

National Kindness Week

This week is National Kindness Week so I’m putting it out there to do something (or several) everyday to show kindness to others. We live in a VERY unkind world these days that it makes me shake my head at some stories I read and hear.

Being kind, just like gratitude, takes the focus off of you and puts it to others. Being kind doesn’t take much, or have to cost a lot of money – it’s up to you of what’s in your heart. But, you would be making a huge difference to someone else. Here are a few quick and easy ways to spread kindness to others:

  • give thanks to someone else – give compliments or say thank you to someone for something they did, or for just being them
  • send cards – who wouldn’t want to receive a card or small note in the mail, or in person? Recognize someone from your past who made a difference, such as a former teacher or mentor
  • donate – this can be either your time or in monetary terms, say to your favorite charity or a cause you believe in
  • send out positive thoughts, or pray, for someone; we all can use these
  • pay it forward – buy the meal or coffee for the person in front, or back, of you
  • small acts go a long way – hold the door open for someone, carry groceries for another

In recognition, I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to those who follow me; you rock!

“What Do You Do?” Wednesday

Robert (Bob) Filichia, CPIA, Filichia Insurance Agency, Inc.

Current Profession:

Insurance Agent/Broker, Agency Owner

What led you into this career/profession?

After a career in the Navy, I decided to go into Law Enforcement, where I worked for ten years. However, I tired of the hours and intensity of the job so I made the decision to go into the insurance industry. My father and brother were in the industry, so I was familiar. I took a job with State Farm as a claims adjuster; then I moved to the agency side with my father and brother with Nationwide. My father bought out his share and started his own agency, and then I decided to do the same.

What appealed to you?

I’m a people-person, so I liked the aspect of being able to help and educate people about protecting themselves by having insurance; I feel that if I didn’t, it would be a disservice. I like that you can educate clients about their safety and protecting their homes, cars, business and life.

What did it take for you to get into this position?
A lot of tears…. I had to first take a qualifying course and be working in the field for a year. I then had to take a 260-hour course (it is probably higher now) and then take the State certification exam. I obtained the 220 license, which allows you to write policies for home, auto, and life. As I moved into other parts of insurance, I had to take the Life Agent Exam and the exam to become a Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA). The process can take several years, dependent on how motivated one is and the product you want to focus on.

What is the best part of your day?

When I am able to sit with clients and educate them regarding their coverage. As I mentioned, I’m a people person so I really enjoy helping my clients but prefer to sit with them 1:1.

What is the worst part of your day?

When I get customers who are resistant or who come in defensive. The often don’t want to listen and can get very angry. I’ve been cursed and yelled at. But my training in Law Enforcement is helpful to diffuse these types of situations, which turn out well, overall.

What is the average salary and perks of the job?

This can depend on the agency you work for. Typically, new agents start at minimum wage, but the more experience and training you have, you can move up. There are opportunities to better your salary through incentives (1%-2%), plus bonuses. The average salary can range from $35 – 40,000; but there are agents who can make in the six figures. Another perk is that training is usually paid for, which is a huge perk. The more motivated one is, the higher their salary can go.

What led you into this career/profession?

After a career in the Navy, I decided to go into Law Enforcement, where I worked for ten years. However, I tired of the hours and intensity of the job so I made the decision to go into the insurance industry. My father and brother were in the industry, so  was I familiar.  I took a job with State Farm as a claims adjuster; then I moved to the agency of the side of the insurance world. As did my father and brother, we became Nationwide insurance agents. My father and brother each had their own Nationwide agencies, and then I decided to do the same.

What appealed to you?

I’m a people-person, so I liked the aspect of being able to help and educate people about protecting themselves by having insurance; I feel that if I didn’t, it would be a disservice. I like that you can educate clients about their safety and protecting their homes, cars, business and life.

What did it take for you to get into this position?
A lot of tears…. I had to first take a qualifying course and be working in the field for a year. I then had to take a 260-hour course (it is probably higher now) and then take the State certification/licensing exam. I obtained the 220 license, which allows you to write Property and and Casualty policies for home, auto, business and life. As I moved into other parts of insurance, I had to take the Life Agent Exam. Later in my career, I completed designation training to become a Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA). The licensing process can take several years, dependent on how motivated one is and the product you want to focus on.

What is the best part of your day?

When I am able to sit with clients and educate them regarding their coverage. As I mentioned, I’m a people person so I really enjoy helping my clients but prefer to sit with them 1:1.

What is the worst part of your day?

When I get customers who are resistant or who come in defensive. The often don’t want to listen and can get very angry. I’ve been cursed and yelled at. But my training in Law Enforcement is helpful to diffuse these types of situations, which turn out well, overall.

What is the average salary and perks of the job?

This can depend on the agency you work for. Typically, new agents start at minimum wage, but the more experience and training you have, you can move up. There are opportunities to better your salary through incentives (1%-2%), plus bonuses. The average salary can range from $35 – 40,000; but there are agents who can make in the six figures. Another perk is that training is usually paid for, which is a huge perk. The more motivated one is, the higher their salary can go.

How would someone get started in this profession?

They first need to go to their State’s online website to see what the rules/laws are and licensing requirements. The then need to go through the required trainings and take the licensing examinations. Then, they need to find a broker to work for and learn from them.

What words of advice and/or recommendations would you give to someone thinking of this profession as a career?

I would suggest that someone who wants to be an insurance agent to go work for someone else for five years to see if this is the industry for them, as it changes all the time. I would recommend starting as a Customer Service Representative (CSR), then working up. One also would need to like meeting and networking with people and have some sales skills, or be comfortable with being on the phone; these are taught in the CSR course but having an aptitude for these will make it easier to move into this role. I would recommend that once in the field, it’s about nurturing your leads and making the phone your friend.

 

How would someone get started in this profession?

They first need to go to their State’s online website to see what the rules/laws are and licensing requirements. The then need to go through the required trainings and take the licensing examinations. Then, they need to find a broker to work for and learn from them.

What words of advice and/or recommendations would you give to someone thinking of this profession as a career?

I would suggest that someone who wants to be an insurance agent to go work for someone else for five years to see if this is the industry for them, as it changes all the time. I would recommend starting as a Customer Service Representative (CSR), then working up. One also would need to like meeting and networking with people and have some sales skills, or be comfortable with being on the phone; these are taught in the CSR course but having an aptitude for these will make it easier to move into this role. I would recommend that once in the field, it’s about nurturing your leads and making the phone your friend.

 

Dealing with Technology ‘Glitches” (grrrr..)

So, I haven’t been as present in writing my blog for over a week now; my computer went down. I was sitting in my office with it running fine; I turned around and then noticed a blue screen. Then black. I was able to turn it on, but it kept saying ‘no boot detected.’ Being resourceful, I turned to the internet (from my phone) to see if I could determine the problem. I was able to do a systems check, which then showed “no hard drive detected.’ Uh oh….

I am amazed at the power of Youtube, as I was able to find a video teaching me how to check the hard drive (I had to go buy a special screwdriver); unfortunately, it still didn’t work. The next step – other than not panicking – was to call someone. This person was able to detect the problem and fix it, at a very inexpensive price. But that didn’t take care of all the problems – I had my applications that had to be re-installed, which took a couple days and calling someone else.

The good news is, I’m back! For me, who also teaches online, this could have been very bad. But, I learned some things from this:

  • you are more resourceful than you know – not only was I able to try and fix the computer (and do some reinstalls), but I was able to use my tablet and phone to get some work done
  • calling for help is not a bad thing – isn’t that why us ‘experts’ exist?
  • be sure to BACK UP your data regularly; I am thankful that I have an external hard drive but will work to back up my data more regularly
  • do not panic; I worked to remain calm that things would work out well – I didn’t want to put that negativity into the universe and invite it in
  • utilize your contacts for referrals and services; the person who fixed my computer was someone I met at a networking event
  • make sure you have all your user ID’s and passwords kept in one location, as well as account numbers so you can get back in business quickly
  • you are more resourceful than you know

Hopefully, I’m good to go for quite a while; I know computers have their ‘shelf life’ but I don’t anticipate any more problems. I’m good to go and back in business. Thanks for your patience and readership.

 

“What Do You Do?” Wednesday

Joanne McCurry, Professional Photographer

What led you into this profession?

I always had an interest in photography; I studied it in high school and college. I seemed to get a lot of compliments about my photos. I had sold an existing business and decided to pursue my passion in photography.

What appealed to you?

I like the problem solving, seeing things that others don’t, the storytelling aspect, and meeting new people.

What did it take to get into this position?

I had previous experience; when I wanted to pursue this further, I went back to college for digital photography. You need money for equipment and other start-up costs.

What is the best part of your day?

I like preparing for a shoot and planning, as well as taking the photos and editing to complete the finished look.

What is the worst part of your day?

Choosing the favorite photos and editing the ones I’m not keen on! Not knowing if I’m going to be working that day.

What is the average salary and perks of the job?

This differs from taking personal photos versus those for business. I take photos for realtors so it averages around $75/per property to $150 per hour for events (in addition to editing time).

How would someone get started in this profession?

A lot of people try but fail – it takes a lot of perseverance, a good eye, patience, and work. I took a local business start-up course, too to learn about how to run a business.

What words of advice and/or recommendations would you give to someone thinking of this profession as a career?

It is a very competitive profession. Make good connections, build a client base and portfolio. It takes several years to become established.

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