When Caitlin Harkins started at Brightway in July 2013, she was looking for a position where she could earn an income to support herself and be independent.
She had earned a Bachelor of Arts in Historic Preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design and had worked as an office manager at a mental health facility.
Harkins had never worked in a customer service role or the insurance industry before but found that Brightway offered great benefits and opportunities for advancement.
During the interview process, Joy Pugh, who is a Team Lead in Brightway’s Service Center, had Harkins sit with a Customer Service Representative to see what the job was like.
“I remember sitting with Stephanie and thinking, ‘I can do that. I want to do that!’ I thought it sounded like fun. When they brought me out from sitting with the representative, I was so excited. I said, ‘I want to do that!’ I think Joy just couldn’t turn me down because I was so excited,” said Harkins.
Praising Brightway’s Training program for new Customer Service Representatives, she said the training got her ready for her new job.
“I felt like I fit in and they were able to give me the tools I needed to be successful,” she shared.
After two years as a Customer Service Representative, Harkins enjoyed working with customers and wanted to remain in Brightway’s Service Center and was given the opportunity to take a newly created position of Unit Lead, which is similar to a management role but without any direct reports. According to Harkins, in the Unit Lead role, she lent support to different areas of the Service Center and had the opportunity to grow her knowledge base.
It was in this role that she earned recognition as Employee of the Year 2015 after 2.5 years with the company.
After 3.5 years with the company, Brightway promoted Harkins to Customer Service Team Lead, which is the role she is in today. She manages a team of 11 representatives who take inbound telephone calls, primarily from customers and agents.
Currently Harkins and most of her team work remotely from their homes. Those who work in the corporate office do so by choice.
When asked about her career goals, Harkins said she would like to experience working in other parts of the Service Center, such as in Processing, Renewals, Agency Bill and Commercial.
“I think that the experience of doing some lateral moves would be valuable. In the long-term, I’d like to look at growing into Assistant Operations Manager and someday an Operations Manager. Those are the kind of goals that I have,” she added.
“I’ve had some really great leaders,” she added. “Heather Currier is my Manager. She’s been my Manager off and on for four years now in different capacities, and she’s very helpful, knows what she’s talking about, gives you what you need to be successful.”
Harkins attributed her loyalty to the company to two things:
- Many opportunities to learn new things and grow in her roles
- The people she works with are the best people
She also feels confident in the longevity of the company and her role.
“When I got to Brightway, I knew that this was something that I could really feel secure in for a long time, and here we are during COVID and I feel very secure in my ability to keep working in this field,” she said.
Harkins is very passionate about taking great care of customers and loves to give great service. She finds insurance to be interesting and enjoys ways to find optimal experience for customers and coaching her team to do the same.
In recent months, she has been taking time to learn more about remote management and things that are important in that space, such as consistency among representatives, equipping people with the resources they need to do their jobs and making sure technology is working and her people have access to supervisor assistance.
“I think it (remote work) provides a lot of opportunity to source our talent from different areas, people who may not be able to access our main office may be awesome, representatives and people who want to do the kind of that we do,” she said.
Harkins attributes her own success and believes others can be successful by doing simple things like showing up to work when you’re scheduled to be there, accepting feedback and using it to improve, being curious and learning new skills. She also says it’s good to be ambitious and willing to take on more work when you can.
In reflecting upon her journey at Brightway, Harkins shared, “I like to be able to sit down and think,
‘Am I happy?’ and I can say, ‘yes.’”
About Brightway Insurance
Founded in 2008, Brightway has since grown to more than 200 locations across 22 states serving customers in all 50 states and has earned recognition as one of the Fastest Growing Companies in Northeast Florida by the Jacksonville Business Journal for 12 consecutive years. At Home Office, Brightway employees focus on delivering holistic business support that empowers agents to sell more.
Brightway employees enjoy:
- Competitive salary
- Paid time off
- Medical/Dental/Life/Disability Insurance
- Market-leading 401(k) with 4% match
- Tuition reimbursement regardless of course of study
- Comprehensive paid training
Most importantly, they enjoy a family based culture of inclusiveness where they can build positive, supportive relationships with co-workers, customers and agents.
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