Industry

Q&A with Diana Gonzalez Garcia, 2019 Council Foundation Scholar

Why her ideal post-graduation path is in insurance brokerage.
Q
You are a business administration and finance double major, and chose to take a risk management and insurance course. What interested you in taking this course?
A
When I enrolled my risk management and insurance class, I believed I would learn about corporate risk management. As a finance student, I wanted to learn about the risks corporations face and how they utilize internal controls and technology to minimize financial losses. Soon I realized this class was not about corporate risk management. Although I took this course by accident, I quickly became interested the role insurance companies play in the financial stability of a business in case of severe loss.
Q
How has your perception of insurance changed since interning for InterWest this past summer?
A
Prior to my participation in InterWest’s summer internship, I had limited knowledge of the insurance industry. The internship allowed me to gain the knowledge and exposure I was looking for. During the summer, I had the opportunity to work with different departments including sales, P&C claims, risk management and alternative markets. Additionally, I had the opportunity to visit and learn from some third-party administrator and insurance carrier companies. By the end of the summer, I learned that insurance is much more diverse than I had originally thought.
Q
You are involved with the Association of Latino Professionals for America at CSU Sacramento – a group that provides personal and professional development for the next generation of professionals. The Council Foundation’s mission is to attract and develop diverse talent in the commercial brokerage industry – a new workforce of tomorrow. How do you feel the industry is doing in this area?
A
As a member of this “workforce of tomorrow,” I am well aware that insurance is an unfamiliar career path for many young people. However, I am also aware of the efforts of companies and associations like InterWest and The Council Foundation in reaching out to younger people. For example, InterWest is currently working with CSU Sacramento to establish Risk Management & Insurance as an undergraduate degree. This is a major building block in the efforts to attract and develop diverse talent in the commercial brokerage industry. Additionally, the educational and financial support The Council Foundation offers through its summer internship program also serves as additional resources for students.
Q
What advice would you give a college student interested in commercial insurance brokerage (or those who don’t yet know about it as a career option)?
A
My advice to college students, regardless of their interest or lack thereof in commercial insurance brokerage, is to reach out to brokerage companies and look for employment, internship or mentorship opportunities. As a student who never considered insurance as a career prior to my internship, I can say there are endless opportunities in this industry that students are not aware of. Members in the insurance industry are very interested in mentoring young people, but unless students give this field an opportunity, they will never know if this is a career for them. If you are not familiar with what career within the industry interests you, a rotational internship such as the one InterWest offers is the best option to gain more exposure.
Q
What does your Council Foundation scholarship mean to you?
A
This scholarship means a lot to me and to those who have supported me throughout my personal and professional development. During the summer, I worked as a portfolio and asset quality assistant at my primary job, participated as a summer intern with InterWest and took The Council Foundation’s virtual summer school class. At the same time, as a commuter, I relied on public transportation to travel between jobs and home, and I was unable to visit my family during school break. Being recognized by InterWest, my mentors and The Council Foundation through this scholarship shows that my hard work and sacrifices were not in vain. When I was notified of my nomination to the scholarship, I felt that InterWest recognized my work and interest in expanding my knowledge in this field. Being selected as a scholarship recipient made me realize that there are other people outside InterWest who believe in me and I that I am on the right path to continue developing my professional career.

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