Glen Clark of Sun Life Financial has lived in Campbell River since he was three years old. He’s been an upstanding citizen, businessman and fixture around the community for a long time.
For 21 years, Clark managed the family hot tub, pool and irrigation company. So how does one go from pools and sprinklers to insurance and investments?
“It was time to make a change,” he says simply, “and the world of insurance and investments had always intrigued me. And then having gone through my dad dying – at only 55 years old – and seeing the effects of not having enough insurance for both the business and the family…well, the insurance agent that I had been dealing with all of my adult life encouraged me to get into it because he thought I’d be really good at it. He knew that I valued the products and protecting my family, and thought that if I held those ideals, I’d probably be good at portraying that to other people. In this business, I think, it’s important not to just talk the talk, but to walk the walk, and be in it for the right reasons.”
In fact, he tries to do everything he does “for the right reasons.”
“I like to help people in everything I do,” he says. “Whether it’s something I can do in the community or whether it’s something I can do for someone with their insurance or investments, I want to help them if I can.”
That mindset, he thinks, comes from watching his mother’s attitude when he was young.
“My mom did lots of volunteering for the Cancer Society and the Kidney Foundation and other organizations, and I saw the importance of that through her, I guess,” he says, but it also comes from simply wanting the best for the community – because the community being better makes your life better, too.
“Especially, I think, if you’re self-employed in a community, it’s important to give back to that community, because, you know, the people in this community are paying my bills,” he says. “So whether it’s lending a hand, physically, or whether it’s giving monetarily, I feel it’s important to do what you can within your community to constantly make it a better place for all of us.”
So, years ago, when Clark was considering the ways to make the best use of his time and money in helping the community, he was speaking to a Rotarian about why they got involved with that organization, he says, “and I really liked his answer. He said that he really wanted to help all the different demographics of people within the community – seniors, kids, babies, sick people, business people, families and sports groups, and he didn’t have the time or resources to do all of that as one person, but by being a part of Rotary, he could, and that’s what he really liked about it.”
And he’s been a Rotarian ever since that conversation.
It’s possible he uses it as an outlet to relieve the stress from his job.
Oh, come on. Selling insurance and moving people’s money around can’t be that stressful, can it?
“Well, I take a lot of pride in the investments side of things, and I lose a lot of sleep over the markets going up and down,” Clark says. “I, of course, want everyone to make a lot of money, so I find that doing an excellent job for them in that regard is stressful. When you’re dealing with millions and millions of dollars of other people’s money…” he says, leaving it hanging there for a moment before continuing. “I mean, it’s one thing if you make a bad financial decision for yourself, but when you’re dealing with other people’s money, it’s always on the back of your mind how important this is for people. Sometimes I’m dealing with someone’s life savings. What I’m doing for them is greatly affecting the rest of their life, so the pressure I place on myself to do the best I can for every single client is pretty weighty.”
And while being responsible for people’s investments is pretty taxing emotionally, it’s even more stressful, in some ways, over on the insurance side of things.
“The biggest fear that I have in this industry is having an acquaintance or friend who has no life insurance die prematurely from an accident or illness and I know their family could really use that cheque that they’re not going to get.”
So while finances and insurance may be more stressful than pools and sprinklers, there are benefits to the work, Clark says.
“What I like most about my job is that I’m doing something different all the time,” he says. “There’s never a day when I’m doing the same thing all day long, and I never know what the next phone call or person who walks through the door is going to be about.”
And when they show up or call, he’s ready to help – however they need it.