The intersection of personal and professional is what makes for a fulfilling career
We are putting a spotlight on our broker-facing sales team in 2020, highlighting team members’ individual backgrounds, experience and learnings in their respective roles. In the tough environment our industry is facing, our regional sales teams are leading the charge with preparing brokers to weather the current storm and come out on top.
This month’s spotlight is on Louis-Francis Lebel, Senior Sales Director, RSA Quebec.
With twenty-nine years experience in the insurance industry, Louis-Francis has worked extensively on both the broker and insurer side of the business, making him a knowledgeable and important member of the leadership team at RSA Quebec. His gratitude and respect for his team, combined with his exuberant passion for his personal hobbies, has made him a well-rounded and thoughtful leader. Working within the Quebec market with an entirely remote team has its own challenges, but it’s arguably made Louis-Francis more resilient to the changing times that we’re currently experiencing.
Effective management requires diverse professional skills...
Louis-Francis credits much of his ability to effectively manage people within his organization to his prior experience on both the broker and insurer side of the industry. He opened his own brokerage in 2002 after getting his start in his father’s business. Moving on to L’Union Canadienne following this, Louis-Francis was the final employee to join the team before RSA acquired the company for its vast book of business within the Quebec market. Once at RSA, he was offered the opportunity to manage the PI department, a challenge he excitedly took on before eventually shifting once more to his current role in sales.
“Having the varied experience that I do within the industry has given me the credibility needed to be an effective part of the leadership team here at RSA Quebec. I understand both perspectives and have become a resource for those looking for that insight. When other members of the leadership team need clarification on something relating to brokers, for example, I’m a person they can come to for that viewpoint. I’m able and proud to represent the broker internally in that way,” he says.
…But maintaining strong personal relationships is equally as important
Having the technical knowledge to relate to different members of his team and the Quebec market overall is just one side of excelling in management. The personal skills and ability to connect with people also matter.
Currently, Louis-Francis manages a team of five, all of whom work remotely. Internal meetings and daily communication happen virtually, but that doesn’t mean that the human connection is lost.
“Communication is always important, but when your team is working from home, it becomes even more imperative. I tell my team that unless it’s absolutely crucial, they should call me versus sending an email. If they have a question or need to discuss something, I’ll always put aside everything to speak to them. This helps keep our communications more personal since we don’t have the option to physically see each other every day.”
Louis-Francis’ willingness to tend to his team whenever they need it comes from his deep appreciation for them and the work that they do. “The best asset that we have here in Quebec is our people. I’m very lucky to be able to rely on and work with people who have the experience that they do. It makes business that much better for our clients every day, but also for each other,” he notes. “The respect that I have for each person I manage is what helps me be better in my own role.”
Challenging circumstances can have an eventual payoff
Managing a remote team isn’t the only challenge that Louis-Francis deals with on a daily basis. The unique factors facing the Quebec market, including strong competition from other large insurers, along with the persistent presence of direct insurance companies make growing the company’s market share that much more difficult to achieve. However, being someone to accept any opportunity to succeed, even if it’s daunting, has served Louis-Francis well in both his personal and professional life.
“I’m an avid skier and have been for many years."
"This is a big passion of mine, I’ve competed when I was younger but now, it allows me to travel across the country and eventually around the world for different competitions as a spectator. My next trip… Kitzbühel. Competition could be tough at times, but it helps you appreciate the sport that much more.”
Another passion of Louis-Francis’ also emerged in the face of a challenge: cooking. Following the birth of his daughter, he needed to quickly learn the skill and adapt. It has since become one of the activities he is most passionate about in his personal life.
“My wife used to travel a lot for work, so I started cooking out of necessity, but slowly became better. It’s been ten years since I first started, but I’m now very passionate and the only one allowed in the kitchen at home!”
In the face of changing times, when determining the future is tentative at best, rising to the occasion will always be the choice for Louis-Francis.
“What I’m doing today is completely different from what I was doing just a few years ago. But this is what has kept my life and career interesting.”