Meet Te’Shounda Fleming, VP, Property Territory Team Leader, Sompo GRS Property
What is your backstory? Tell us about your path to Sompo International.
I’m from a small town on the coast called Brunswick, GA and never had dreams of living in New York City. Through college, I was focused on being a Mathematician. However, I changed my major from Mathematics to Risk Management and Insurance (RM&I) as I had a paid internship immediately which introduced me to the insurance industry. From the time I elected to have RM&I as my major at Georgia State University, I’ve remained in the industry in different segments. I began my career as an Intern at Georgia Farm Bureau working with Claims Adjusters where I learned the value and importance of customer service and learning to find a positive way to say “no” while maintaining exceptional service and customer loyalty. From there, I joined Endurance (now Sompo International) as an intern and continued with the organization on the Professional Lines Team. Now, I’m back at Sompo International, this time on the Property team with Sompo Global Risk Solutions and working with some of the same people I have worked with in prior roles and with previous companies.
What is something about your role / business unit that people may not know?
We really do care about each other and like to genuinely have a good time. I would say the main thing people wouldn’t know about my role is that I see myself as more of a life coach with property insurance expertise – meaning the events that impact our everyday lives (such as hurricanes, riots, or pandemics) also impact our personal lives and professional lives in the Property world. I spend a good amount of time understanding and pondering that reality. Although things like pandemics and natural disasters may rock my world and the “world” itself, I have to work to find creative solutions for leading my team through these challenges.
What do you think makes Sompo International unique?
Sompo International is a melting pot that is on par with what the insurance industry collectively is looking to accomplish. There’s such a wide range of cultural backgrounds within the company and we find a way to come together and learn about each other and be successful, always finding ways to capitalize on the strength of our diversity. Sompo Global Risk Solutions, specifically, is the first group that I’ve been a part of where I see myself in my leader and in all of the leadership team. There are phenomenal women in this company and I truly am grateful for the opportunity to get to know them and to share my world with them.
Can you shed light on a current project / initiative you / your business unit is working on?
Sompo Global Risk Solutions is currently working to develop a means of assisting employees with career development and outlining career paths and how to execute on those desires. It’s created roles for individuals that previously did not have those opportunities. I am excited about it and for the future of all employees and our new hires.
What is a trend you feel is impacting the industry at the moment?
The riots, pandemic and political climate impacted the industry greatly in 2020. It has improved the discussion surrounding Diversity and Inclusion and has uplifted those in certain groups to know their value and worth are not only recognized and noticed, but worthy of attention and action. It is truly amazing to see the improvements, seminars and other ways companies taking corporate action to address these issues.
Any advice to your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to brag on yourself and be vocal about risks you want to take. The strongest advocate for your career is you. No one other than you can speak to your desires and areas of improvement better than you. Find mentors and true friends that can give you unbiased advice and continue to help you improve.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love to sing. It’s my greatest passion. Growing up, I used to sing on the local Christian Television Network for a number of years with my choir. I’ve sung on the BET Awards Show backing up Andra Day and even for YouTube Awards concerts. I’ve sung with various groups in stadiums across the country. I’ve been singing the national anthem for the Marsh Hockey Charity event for the last few years (with the exception of this year) as well. So, when not working, I’m singing (mainly karaoke these days) or volunteering. I serve as a mentor for UStrive to aid high school students through the college process. I participate in NAAIA (National African American Insurance Association) and recently served as an Industry Mentor in the Leadership Summit series.