LINKAGE Q2 (2023) - CATAPULT
s I reflect on my journey at Pan-American Life, I’m reminded of how every step I took felt like a catapult propelling me towards new horizons. I initially joined the team as a Corporate Marketing intern in the summer of 2012 at the company’s home office based in New Orleans. Interestingly, this was also the year that Pan-American Life entered the Caribbean market through acquisition. This experience shaped my view of the world of work. It was not until years later, in 2015, that I joined in a full-time capacity as an Operations Analyst. I was excited to contribute to a company that was already a major player in the insurance industry and had started to make its mark in the Caribbean. I embarked on this journey with a thirst for knowledge and eagerness to excel; a remarkable journey that would challenge me and redefine my career aspirations.
From the moment I stepped into my role, moving from student to part-time employee to providing direct support to the Chief Operations Officer – Caribbean, I realised the immense responsibility of the role as I learnt firsthand the intricate workings of the company’s operations. My days were filled with crafting business continuity plans for our Caribbean operations and tackling pivotal projects such as process reviews and the Service Champion initiative. With every project, I felt like I was stretching my capabilities, much like a catapult being pulled back to launch into uncharted territories.
In October 2016, I was promoted to Assistant Manager, Client Relations, within the newly formed Client Relations Unit. This role opened doors to a world of client servicing, where I oversaw the needs of group corporate clients and brokers. It was in this capacity that I truly understood the value of client relationships. Spearheading the onboarding of large employee benefit programmes, I learnt to navigate complexities while developing and standardising premium collection processes. This role did not come without its share of challenges and uncertainties, but the value of my leaders and mentors cannot be overstated. Their mentorship went beyond the confines of formal roles, it was a genuine investment in my growth. With their guidance, I embraced challenges as opportunities for development, and setbacks as stepping stones towards success.
With each promotion, I felt the momentum building, catapulting me into a leadership role. In 2022, I embraced the title of Manager, Client Relations and Corporate Business Solutions. Here, I was tasked with seizing revenue generation opportunities and devising strategies to optimise business retention and service delivery across the Caribbean. These achievements not only bolstered my self-confidence but also showcased the power of collaboration between emerging professionals (such as myself) and seasoned leaders.
hroughout my tenure, I’ve embraced every acting position that came my way. In 2019 and 2021, I stepped into the role of Acting Group Sales Manager, channelling my energies into boosting team morale and sales figures. In 2018, I also temporarily took on the mantle of Acting Group Operations Manager, refining my ability to manage operational intricacies while maintaining a broader perspective.
As I stand where I am today, I see my journey as a series of catapults – each challenge and promotion acting as the pullback before the launch. The experiences I’ve gathered, the roles I’ve held, and the challenges I’ve overcome, have all contributed to my growth. Pan-American Life has been the platform that propelled me into the career trajectory I find myself on today.
The support of key leaders spurred me towards the achievement of significant milestones in my career, and as I continue to chart my course, I am reminded that true leadership involves nurturing the potential of those around us. Just as their guidance has shaped my journey, I aspire to pay it forward by guiding future generations of professionals.
And while the road ahead is still filled with uncertainties, I’m excited to embrace each challenge, knowing that I have been equipped with the skills and determination to soar through them like a seasoned catapult.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristi-Marie Weston is the Assistant Vice President, Regional Corporate Business at Pan American Life Insurance Group (PALIG)