I had the privilege to chat with Chris Conza, a sales representative for AmCap Insurance, a commercial property and flood insurance company headquartered in St.Petersburg, Florida. A growing company currently operating in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and South Carolina, AmCap Insurance prides itself on its financial stability, and exceptional customer service it provides to policyholders following a catastrophic event. Chris’ path to his current job was one that was definitely unplanned, which illustrates the importance of being open to new opportunities! Learn more about Chris’ journey to AmCap Insurance.
DB: Hi Chris! Can you tell me what you do at AmCap Insurance?
CC: I am an Inside Sales Representative, focusing on flood insurance specifically, at AmCap Insurance.
DB: That sounds interesting! What made you decide to pursue that as a career?
CC: Growing up in Florida, I was always outside, whether it was chasing lizards, playing Wiffle ball with my brother or baseball at the park. If you were looking for me, there was a safe bet I was playing in the mud somewhere. Once my Major League Baseball dreams were dashed (by my general huskiness and height), I decided I needed to buckle down and figure out a career path or get a degree that would set me up for success. Given my love of nature and knowing that I did not want a traditional nine-to-five job, I decided to major in Environmental Science & Policy with a Minor in Geographical Information Sciences. After graduation, I quickly realized that I would have a hard time finding a job in my field that would provide a reliable income. After a few temporary jobs working customer service for an airline and after school care for a middle school, I stumbled into an interview with American Strategic Insurance. I somehow managed to secure a role as a technical assistant in the commercial lines department (American Capital Assurance Corp). Needless to say, this job was the complete opposite of anything I thought I would ever be doing. But I quickly learned, that although I wasn’t going to be discovering the next unknown animal species or mapping the deepest and darkest trenches of the Pacific Ocean, it didn’t matter, because I managed to land in a company that cared about its employees and was passionate about maximizing employee strengths and developing them into business professionals.
After two years in Underwriting, I made joined the Sales & Marketing team. I’ve always been an outgoing person, and AmCap Insurance allowed me to capitalize on my skills and created positions for me along the way to not only keep me around but to grow as a professional. I was able to manage the marketing department and ad agency vendor relationship for AmCap Insurance for a year, which in addition to giving me countless grey hairs, also made me grow so much! After a little more than a year, we decided that it was time that I take on a new endeavor and began helping to get the new AmCap flood system up and running. While it was a huge undertaking, the leadership team was confident that I could handle it and succeed. I am happy to report that the system is up and running and growing. I have learned that in your work life, it doesn’t matter what you studied, where you thought you’d be, or what your expectations were; because if you can manage to find a place that accepts you for who you are, the rest is easy.
DB: Wow, that was quite a journey to get where you are today! All of that being said, what do you value most about your current role?
CC: The freedom and the challenge of taking on new problems. Having a manager that allows me to have my own thought processes and workflows (and doesn’t micromanage)! Having a voice; people my age are seldom in a position to be a content expert, which has its pros and cons. Every day is different and the challenges faced vary, but there is always something to do and it keeps my work exciting.
DB: That amount of freedom sounds amazing! What has been the biggest learning to date from your career path?
CC: Over the past 5 years the one thing that I’ve learned is that you will never please everyone. All you can do is stick to your moral compass, do the best you can, and do what is in the best interest of the company. There may be times where tensions and tight deadlines are looming, but my best advice is to not stress and as long as you are putting in 100% effort, you have nothing to worry about. Additionally, I’ve learned that teamwork is essential. Oftentimes it’s normal to let yourself take on too big of an issue and think it’s unsolvable. But more often than not, once you sit down and work through it with your trusted group of co-workers, the problems which once seemed impossible magically seem doable, and you get them done!
DB: What is your favorite interview question to ask candidates?
CC: They don’t allow me to interview anymore…just kidding…kinda! The one question I have asked every time I’ve interviewed someone is “if you were an animal, what would you be?” The important thing to note is that there is no right answer in my book. I want to see that candidates can come up with an answer and defend their reasoning. Most things in life are teachable, but you need to be able to think on your feet and provide reasoning on how you determined your response.