The insurance industry has made many people’s financial goals come true. Those who have worked hard and invested their money in insurance have seen their future become stable, their wealth grow, and their family prosper.
On the other side of the industry—the financial advisors, planners and agents who help make their clients’ dreams come true—there are also thousands of success stories.
In the Philippines, there are more than 112,000 people working as variable life agents and 109,000 as sales agents as of 2020, spread across 94 licensed insurance companies in the country, according to Statista.com.
FWD Life Insurance has many inspiring success stories among its ranks and leadership. FWD financial advisor Bonnie Gonzalez is one of them.
Being the eldest of eight children, Gonzalez saw the hardship her parents went through to raise their children and put them through school.
“No matter what, my parents just gave their best,” she says. “I told myself at a very young age that I would be there to help my parents and siblings. Right after high school, I looked for a course which, after two years, I would be able to work right away.”
She juggled studying at night and working during the day. “With my salary I helped my parents provide for the education of my siblings. I was so happy because every time it was payday, I would be able to contribute to my family.”
Gonzalez continues that it was her husband, who was also her mentor, that inspired her. “He was the one who encouraged me to be an insurance agent at the time. That was the transition. I told myself that with this business I would be able to do more, not only for my siblings but also for my parents. And it happened.”
At the time, Gonzalez had already risen in her career from insurance agent to planner and manager. “My mother said, ‘Anak gusto ko ng house na bungalow, concrete.’ With the help of my sister, whom I also sent to school, we were able to build a house for my mother. Being able to provide a house for your parents, which they have dreamt of their lives, was so fulfilling.”
She also found like-minded colleagues and partners in the industry, like Inday Salientes, with whom she traveled to Europe. “That’s when I realized I had to be my very best to be a leader.”
At FWD, Gonzalez is not only a leader but a mentor as well. This, to her, is what meaningful work is all about—to help her own family, yes, but also to enable her colleagues to help their families too. “At FWD, we went from only a hundred to 500 plus employees. Our vision is to extend [leadership] to make sure that the people around us would also level up.”
Gonzalez says FWD’s principles and vision are a continuation of her own, which is why she considers FWD her extended family. “We are here to serve not only our clients but also the people around us—our staff, our leaders, our planners. We want to make sure that they will have financial freedom and to see them grow with us. When you’re able to [teach] them that growth mindset—my God you feel good.”
You know what also makes her feel good? It’s when she takes a quick break in her office, and she has a video call with her mom to share a few laughs. Gonzales holds her iPad and looks at her mom on the screen. “I also love you so much, Nanay. Kaya nga ako nagwo-work pa para sa inyo eh.”
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