Sagicor General’s newest Manager of the Year, Deborah Raoul is measured and thoughtful in her demeanor, but her words and actions are resolute and determined. As such, after a short conversation with her, its no surprise that just one year following her becoming part of the Sagicor General team, she was recognized as the company’s Manager of the Year for 2020 for the Eastern Caribbean.
Deborah, who is always in the most professional of attire, whose make-up is always on point, whether for a work from home meeting on Microsoft Teams or for a one-on-one in the office, joined the Sagicor General family in August 2020, just six months after the birth of her son, Zyaire. As the Assistant Manager for Eastern Caribbean operations, she supported the company’s operations in Antigua and Dominica and St Lucia specifically.
While she does acknowledge starting a new job in the middle of a pandemic was challenging, the fact is, she said, “it was an opportunity that I couldn’t let pass me by.”
Raoul, has studied business since her high school years, and knew even then that her future lay at the business end of the work spectrum, but she acknowledges on some level that while she chose to focus on a career in insurance, insurance also chose her.
Deborah recounted her introduction to the insurance field and how she fell in love with it, “In 2009 I interviewed with another insurance provider, and, while I was in the interview they indicated that I was actually being considered for one of two positions – in the Accounts Department or in Insurance. The interviewer said that if I was successful, I would have to choose which one I wanted. I chose the job in Insurance, and it’s like we have been choosing each other since then,” she ended with a smile.
Over the past 11 years Deborah broadened her range of experience, working in customer service, as an underwriter and in a brokerage firm, all the while building her skills and feeling increasingly called to a profession which she said challenged her competitive ability, but also fulfilled her desire to make a difference in the lives of her customers.
She says, “I see a “no” as motivation. For me it’s extremely rewarding to start at a position where a person feels that insurance isn’t for them and then you get them to “yes” where they now understand how valuable this decision is for themselves and their family.”
In her mind the opportunity to join the Sagicor General family meant that she would be fulfilling her school-girl dreams and putting to work the experience she built up over the past 11 years. “When the opportunity presented itself I was very excited as I had experienced insurance from all sides except management, so the thought of leading a team, and the opportunity for me to do my job knowing I could relate to each team member because I had also been there was one I couldn’t let pass me by.”
Deborah credits the team at Sagicor General and also her partner and son’s father for her success over the past year and she is insistent that the award for Manager of the Year belongs to all of them. She said firmly, “Doing this well certainly was a balancing act. I had a new baby and a new job, and then there was covid-19. My partner understood this was important to me and working from home during the early days actually helped because I could put in a full day while keeping an eye on the baby but knowing that he had my back. I remember at around 4:30 I would stop, and we would spend some family time together, but if I needed to do some work later in the evening when the baby was asleep my partner didn’t fuss about it. He was very supportive.”
“Similarly, the Sagicor General team was very open and giving about my learning curve. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions and they were always helpful with the answers.”
Deborah looks back on the past year, and even through the challenges are still very real, she emphasizes that the successes far outweigh the challenges. “I’m fortunate to be part of a team that worked with me to balance the difficulties that we all faced and continue to face. I’m so grateful to my partner and my family for their support. Because at the end of the day, I couldn’t have imagined not making the decision to join the Sagicor family.”
Does she have any advice for others who may be weighing a decision, and not quite sure about how things will go? Deborah is thoughtful again. She said, “Pray about it. And if your heart, and mind is telling you to step out, do it. With the right decision, even though there are lessons and bad days, overall, in your heart, you will know that you couldn’t have done it any other way.”