Working women are so often given a bad rap – either you’re labeled too ambitious with no maternal instinct or you’re selfish for choosing to work over looking after your kids. There never seems to be a happy medium or space where each woman has the right to choose her own life path!
As a way to expose women to the wonderful world of work out there I run a series called Women at Work. There isn’t really a schedule to it, I just do a post whenever I come across an inspiring woman who is making work work for her! Today I’m super excited to be featuring fellow blogger and INSURANCE BROKER, Cindy Alfino.
Read on to find out more about her life behind the blog and how she juggles her “other job” of raising 3 kids!
Tell me more about yourself and what you currently do?
There’s no easy way to get around this, so I’m just going to put it out there – I’m an Insurance Broker. Yip, you read that correctly, I’m the middle man that everyone seems so afraid of. I co-own the insurance brokerage that I have been working in for the last 9 years. But besides that I am a wife to Seth (an architect, hipster and manbun groomer), Mom to 3 little people – Kyla (5), Riya-Ray (4) and Knox (2) and blogger over on 3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House.
I’ve been specialising in the Short Term Insurance (car, home, guest house and commercial insurance) field in South Africa for the last 9 years as a fully qualified Key Individual and Representative. I spend my day making sure that my clients have competitive insurance from reputable insurers, designed for their unique situations. As our business has grown to a national company (with branches in JHB and Durban), so has our admin team, so I also manage our team, who provide our clients with personal service from claims to amendments to renewals.
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I don’t know if anyone has ever consciously decided to “go into insurance”. I kind of stumbled into it at the beginning and now that I’m in, I can’t get out. That being said, I really enjoy what I do – nothing makes me happier than saving someone money (we all need extra money right?!).
What did you study – was it in this field or something different?
I studied a one year diploma in Office Management. It was my “gap” year while I decided what it was that I wanted to do. After deciding that getting married was high up on my list of priorities, I started working to fund the wedding and our lives together thereafter. The college that I was at arranged work for their pupils and I landed up at Incompass. 9 years later and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.
What was your first job in the industry? and what path has your career taken since?
My first job in the industry was my very first 8 – 5 job. When I started I was 19 and basically a receptionist/ PA/ administrator/ everythinger. As our client base grew, so did the staff. I was given more and more management roles in terms of the amount of clients that I handled to dealing with the admin team too – moving my way up to Office Manager and now settling in for the long haul as the “Operations Director”.
What have been the highlights?
Becoming a co-owner of the business was huge for me. Being responsible for the growth and development of the company is challenging but so rewarding.
What’s the best part of your job?
Working with a great bunch of girls who take their work as seriously as we do really makes my job so much easier.
Plus helping our clients to find the most competitive cover in the market (with reputable insurers that want to pay out claims, not the ones in green and purple – cough cough) really gives me a thrill.
What is the most challenging part?
Fitting everything that I need to do into my work day.
What is your typical day, or maybe week if days are very different?
I do the school run with the kids in the morning, but once I have survived the Cape Town traffic and made myself a cup of coffee it’s head down, emails answered and phone calls made until about 12. Then I make another cup and keep going till I leave the office at around 2pm. I then go to my primary job of being a Mom and looking after my littles. Once they are in bed I blog and sometimes I answer a few work emails, but I try and keep “work” to being done in the office as much as I can.
What are the “secrets” to your success?
I guess some could argue that I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. And to a degree, I would agree. However, I don’t think I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without working flipping hard, taking it all rather seriously and accepting the responsibility that I was given along the way. Proving myself and my ability to handle it.
As a mom how do you get the balance between your family and career life right? Your tips and tricks?
As far as possible I keep work at work. My goal in the day is to get everything done so that I don’t have to work at home. I don’t want to be the Mom that my kids think of, by picturing me behind my laptop screen – so if necessary, I only open it when they are asleep.
What do you do for fun in your down time?
Chill out with my kids and/or husband, watch TV or blog. All huge stress relievers for me.
What do you still want to achieve?
So much! One can never stop learning, so as soon as the kids are old enough, I want to keep growing my knowledge (by studying further) and applying myself in ways that I didn’t know I could.
WOW, how inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing your story with me and my readers Cindy. You make insurance sound exciting, especially when it means you have the best of all worlds – satisfying (paying) work, happy kids, successful blog etc etc. Well done!
Images: Cindy Alfino