My Mentor and Me Four short years ago I had the great pleasure to join the firm of Ravenhill Agencies Ltd. After a career in education, I decided to make a switch. Joining Ravenhill Agencies and the insurance industry has been the second-best choice I have ever made; the first being asking my wife Jen to marry me. I love being a broker and all that comes with the career. I thrive for the client interactions, ironing out claims situations and thinking outside the box on new risks. I do not think it would have been this way had it not been for the mentorship relationship that I have with Jim Harris. He is my boss, mentor, father in-law and a huge part of my life. Many know Jim Harris is in the room due to his recognizable laugh, but it is not all fun and games for Jim. When it comes down to the business of insurance, there are few more highly spoken of than Jim. When I started in the business, he said, â€œThere is only one way to learn the business and that is to jump into the fire with both feet.â€? Thatâ€™s what I did. I completed my level one and two licensing back-to-back and completed CAIB one, two and three as well. I began by learning the basics in personal lines and dabbling in commercial lines and am now well versed in both lines. We work together, maintaining mutual respect and trust for each other. I am never worried or scared to come to him with a question or more importantly a mistake. Similarly, he will ask me to look at various interesting risks and tell me when I screwed up. Do not expect everything you do to be great and wonderful and anticipate hearing â€œGreat job!â€? every time you do something. Be malleable and willing to accept feedback. Jim constantly allows me to spread my wings and get deeper into the insurance world. So when I came to him and told him that I had been nominated for a position with PYIB, he said one of his famous terms â€œAbsolutely!â€? in the fashion that only he can deliver. He is the first person to stand up and say what great things the PYIB is doing, what an
asset it is to the industry and how more young brokers should be allowed to get involved in the association. Through the PYIB I got to know many other young brokers and key individuals in the industry. These relationships have provided other facets of mentoring knowledge and career paths. Everyone has come to this industry by their own conduit; what you make of your time in the industry is up to you. If you do not have a mentor now, find one. Their knowledge and connection to the industry is invaluable. Ask if it would be all right to be mentored by that individual; do not expect or feel entitled to be mentored. Mentoring does not mean being spoon fed. You are in the driverâ€™s seat of your career; the mentor is not meant to be the cruise control but the map to get you to your destination. Mentors are usually senior people in the industry and have lots on their plate. Being a mentor may not be their first concern. At first, I think I was in Jimâ€™s office every two hours bothering him with mundane items. With a little less worrying about messing up and a little research or extra thought into it, I persevered and found my own answer. Donâ€™t
expect too much from your mentor or you will be disappointed. Maybe seeking advice from a second or third avenue of knowledge will help your experience and gain insight from different fields of expertise. Jim canâ€™t be in every office, but I am sure glad to be part of his growing business. Jim not only makes the job fun and a place I want to come to work each day but also he encourages forward thinking, embraces technology and brings an energy that is second to none. I look forward to continuing my career in the industry under the eye of Jim Harris and to hopefully be able to provide the same qualities to another young broker like me one day.