Ambassador Program   
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What is the Ambassador Program

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Join the Club… Change a Life… Become an Ambassador!

Perhaps you can relate to the young kids who have identified their dream job as being a professional football player.   Not only would it be totally cool, but it’s also considered completely realistic and attainable when you’re only 9.  (Hey, did you see that saa-weeet pass I just caught?  I rock.)

Then comes middle school.

After that first season spent viewing the football field primarily from the bench, this dream job gets revised to sports announcer.  Cool.

Or maybe you or a friend identified veterinarian as a dream job.  (I love animals sooo much.  I’m gonna take care of all of them!)

Then in middle school, reality dawns—gross, there’s blood and guts with that job.  Such the deal killer.

New goal:  Own a dog, for sure, and get an awesome job as a retail merchandiser that includes the benefit of store discounts.

Then high school arrives.

Now the career choices have real implications.  The qualifications for the perfect job become more complex.  Ideally, it should play to an individual’s talents and interests while capturing their attention and enthusiasm for a longer period than it takes to drive the paycheck to the bank.

Sounds simple enough, but in so many ways, it’s incredibly hard to actually pinpoint that ultimate sweet spot when it comes time to choose a major and plan a career.  Unfortunately, the insurance and risk management field seldom makes it to kids’ “short list,” despite the incredible opportunities and variety of options available. (Do you think “I’m-gonna-be-a-football-player” and “I’m-gonna-be-a-vet” ever played tetherball with “I’m-gonna-be-an-adjuster”?  Doubtful.)

We’re hoping to change that, but we need your help.

We believe it’s primarily a lack of awareness that’s holding our industry back from being an oft-considered career.  Beyond the GEICO caveman and the Aflac duck, too many kids have little, if any, awareness of the opportunities afforded by a career in insurance, risk management or actuarial science.

Your participation with Gamma Iota Sigma shows you already have an enthusiasm for our industry.  But not long ago, you too were sitting in the same position as today’s high school students—and that makes you particularly powerful when it comes to impacting the growth trajectory of our industry.   You’ve got the voice that may make a high school student listen, take note and consider a career in our diverse field.  And that’s why Gamma Iota Sigma wants to turn you into an industry messenger through The Ambassador Program.

The Ambassador Program is designed to instill greater understanding of the impact insurance and risk management can have on personal financial security and also highlights the industry as offering interesting, long-term career choices.  It places current college students in front of younger students just as they’re considering their own future possibilities.

Parents, school counselors and college recruiters are all delivering career advice to these students and it can become overwhelming—remember?   blah, blah, blah

It’s hard enough for most high school students to clearly describe their own interests–at least as they pertain to a career choice–and even harder for them to recognize their own talents.  Yet listening to and learning about interesting career options from someone who is their “near-peer” can truly be eye-opening.   Face it, your input is way more interesting to them than most things said by someone who actually remembers the ‘80’s.  It’s not overstating it to say that you actually have the ability to change someone’s future.

But why should you care if more people enter the insurance industry?  Because it’s your future too.

Opportunities abound in industries bubbling with determined, passionate employees, while industries left scrambling for talent from a declining pool of candidates are left defeated, sidetracked from their growth goals and generally downright depressed.  No, you definitely want to be in an industry that’s going places, not simply stalling out.

While the Ambassador Program is a big project in terms of its importance, it isn’t a big project in terms of the amount of work you need to do to prepare.  We know you’re not looking for extra work on the weekends and we understand setting the alarm for any earlier than necessary is taboo.  So because we’re looking for your help, we’re also offering our own help in return.  In fact, there are only a few steps to tackle during the process, and we have material developed to help you with each one.

Step One: Locate and contact a teacher.  The idea is to find a teacher who needs to teach financial literacy as part of their curriculum—typical classes might include business, economics, family and consumer science (you might know them as home ec or life skills), math or social studies.  Pick whichever was your favorite.

Teachers are ever grateful for any additional help they receive (remember all those room parents and student-teachers during your school years?), so this part should be easy.  We’ve even prepared a “Letter-of- Introduction” for you to use—just cut and paste and take full credit!

You can approach the local schools near your college or university, or you can take the idea back to your old alma mater.  Depending on the tenor of you own high school experience, it’s a chance to happily visit your old stomping grounds–or to return triumphant showing them how far you’ve come without them.

Once you’ve met with the teacher, shared your presentation, and wowed them with your brilliance, you’re ready to meet with the students.  This is the fun part.  Before you even open your mouth, you’ll be their hero for the day, because you’ve saved them from the same-old, same-old.  Even the kid slouching in the back row will be happy to see you, not that he’ll ever admit it.  We’ve got a fully prepared presentation outline—again to make your life easier—but you’re encouraged to layer in your own personal experiences and background to make it more interesting.  We even have a professionally produced video that serves as a discussion starter, so the students become engaged, and you can relax knowing all the talk isn’t left to you.

The final step is to gain some publicity—for you and for the teacher and school.   Some say any press is good press, but we believe positive press is the best—particularly when it may catch the attention of a local business or agency which might be a future employer or internship possibility.  Why not send it home once it’s printed, and get kudos from the parents too?  Again, we have a press release already written for you, so all you have to do is fill in the blanks and send it off.

Ready to be an Ambassador?  Ready to possibly change someone’s life and help ensure the health of the industry where you hope to make your career?  Ready to have another bullet point to add to your resume? (Hey, it never hurts).  We’re ready when you are!

Here’s what some Gamma Iota Sigma members who have participated in the pilot program have to say about the value of the Ambassador Program:

If they were more aware of how interesting this field truly is, more students would have a desired career path in insurance set earlier in their lives.  I definitely wish someone spoke to my high school classroom and discussed all his/her college experiences regarding the field of insurance. 
At that time, I had no idea there was a business fraternity that specialized in risk management and insurance which literally offered endless opportunities and chances to network with professionals.  I would also have never guessed that many internships in this field offer excellent benefits to its interns, such as housing and a rental car in addition to a weekly salary! 
This knowledge would have definitely made me think twice about what the insurance industry really is all about.
 - Jeremy Gallico, President, Alpha Kappa Chapter, The Katie School of Insurance, Illinois State University. 
When a lot of people think of insurance, the main thing that comes to mind is an insurance agent, but there are so many other great career options. The younger the students are when they become interested in the field, the more chances for internships, shadow programs, and great experience. It would have been great to have a college student come to my high school and share information and experiences about college. High school students usually look up to current college students and are willing to listen to them. The Ambassador program would be a great way to get members of our Chapter involved with the community. Many students are not from the area around our college, so it would be a wonderful way to better get to know each other, and also members of the community.  In addition, it would be very rewarding to mentor younger students and to spark interest in young people about our program and the opportunities it has to offer.
 
-Bess Butler, Pi Chapter at Mississippi State University
Insurance and risk management plays a role in everyone’s life whether it is your profession or not. Having a broad and basic understanding of them both will be beneficial in an abundance of situations throughout a person’s life. As a high school student, being introduced to the concepts of risk management and insurance early will not only be beneficial in everyday life, but could also attract bright new young talent to the insurance and risk management profession.The transition from high school to college can be a daunting task, and any help you can get in making that transition easier would be beneficial. Getting advice from college students who have recently experienced the transition from high school to college, in my opinion, would be invaluable.  The opportunity to speak to graduating high school students about GIS and the insurance industry in general will help my chapter in recruiting. The Ambassadors program will give my chapter an invaluable opportunity to relay all of the benefits GIS has to offer a college student with an interest in the insurance and risk management field. Hopefully, in relaying these benefits my chapter will be able to attract bright young members who are excited about learning, getting involved, and making life long connections!

 

-Tyler Wing, President, Pi Chapter at 
Mississippi State University

 
 

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