"In my own work, it is all about keeping in mind that central thesis of doing what’s best for the client," says Kevin Fukuyama, independent agent. "That has helped create great career fundamentals for me because if we view ourselves as educators, advisors and providers, a lot of what we do will just fall into place."
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What's changed over the last five years?
I became an owner, was elected CEO, and brought on some great new partners. This year alone we acquired a really outstanding agency, and am finalizing a merger which will mean we just about tripled in size. So, busy—but all good.
I've also become a father of two little girls. With COVID-19 keeping me at home I got to see them grow up and hit all the little milestones, which was fantastic.
Last time, you mentioned the importance of millennials overcoming generational stereotypes by emphasizing the “why" behind work. How has that impacted your path?
We have continued to create opportunities for our staff to help support the community, such as quarterly volunteer events with different local charities. We also have people in our agency dedicated to community relations since most non-profits need more than just financial support. We are not a national agency—we are local, are we have only gotten here because our community has supported us, so it's important we pay it forward.
In my own work, it is all about keeping in mind that central thesis of doing what's best for the client. That has helped create great career fundamentals for me because if we view ourselves as educators, advisors and providers, a lot of what we do will just fall into place. If you can do those things, you will sleep like a baby.
Five years ago, you had mentioned your biggest motivation was protecting the things that people worked hard to build. How has that focus impacted your decisions?
That is still my biggest motivation behind the decisions that are made and why I am determined to make our agency the best it can be. I think that if the personal aspect was not part of what we do, I probably would have left the industry a long time ago.
Protecting our clients appropriately starts with education. Even if you have the best intentions, you don't know what you don't know. There could be a gap you are unaware of that is putting your client's business or home at risk. That is why we like to focus on education so much. It has really bolstered what I have been able to do at the agency from both a client service and round-out perspective.
Advice for Gen Z?
Just like any other industry, there is huge variability between how different organizations are run—company culture, career development, work-life balance. The best way to find answers to questions is to be very vocal. Ask the questions that are important to you, and if an employer or prospective employer cannot answer them, then that is a pretty clear sign it is not really a priority for them.
Some people are in the position where they are not sure what they are even looking for with their career, and I say that is perfectly okay. Do not let that discourage you. Get your feet wet. The industry has a lot of career avenues to offer. I also wholeheartedly believe that you should also join your local or state independent agent or broker association, because that is the best way you can meet your peers and see how different outfits run.
AnneMarie McPherson is IA news editor.