Meet Crystal Gonzalez
I’ve known I wanted to work in insurance since seventh grade. My cousin has a small insurance agency, and I would visit and see the work happening at all levels, from filing to phone calls and everything in between. My cousin was happy and successful, and I thought I wanted to own my own agency like him. That goal has since evolved, and I can do lots of different things and stay challenged at Arch.
I was at a large insurance company for many years, working in Small Commercial, and was recruited by Arch as a subject matter expert to build a similar new business unit. Arch valued the different perspective I had as a result of my experience. Coming here was a leap of faith; I had not been looking to change roles or carriers. Insurance is a “small-big” industry. I knew Arch had talented, well-respected people who were happy because Arch is family oriented. I knew that this was an exceptional opportunity, particularly as a woman of color in a leadership role in insurance, and I was confident I wanted to join the organization.
I strive to create win-win situations by seeking to understand goals, processes and resources, and by collaborating on solutions short term and long term. The best business advice I have is to be thoughtful and give every request the time it deserves so you can ask questions, actively listen, research, reflect and make the best decisions before taking action.
Arch’s focus on people is real. When I fell ill recently, I didn’t get a standard corporate HR message about filling out forms or how much time I could take off with compensation. Instead, my leader sent me a food delivery and team members sent me thoughtful texts, asking what I needed and taking over work for me. My colleagues respect my family commitments and understand when I need to step away for a few moments to pick up my daughter from school. This is Arch’s culture, and it puts people first, always.
I also volunteer with Prospanica, which advocates for Hispanic business professionals. It is important to me to contribute what I know and have to others. The career advice I share often is to “own your career.” This includes planning, organizing, performing in your current role, having exploratory dialogues, networking, exposure and branding. The more you learn, the better your business acumen, and the more value you bring to your team and work family.
I am a first-generation college student. I didn’t have anyone telling me what steps to take and how to be successful. I figured it out by being curious. I participate in and lead outreach to students. They ask about my current role, companies that I work with, my journey, if I am fulfilled and how to make connections. I noticed that the students who need more support are the ones who are less connected, either as new immigrants or as first-generation college students. Often, I have helped them decipher job postings because the language can be technical or full of industry jargon.
VP, Small Commercial
Arch Insurance | Hartford, Conn.