It’s been 18 months since Sun Life Financial appeared on the local horizon and established its 50,000-square-foot U.S. Service Centre in the city. It has gone on to recruit 245 employees, including 38 U of L alumni and numerous part-time university students.
Sun Life Financial provides a range of wealth protection and wealth management products to markets across the globe. Assistant Vice-President, U.S. Service Centre, David Healy says Sun Life Financial’s centre in Lethbridge requires an educated workforce to support the company’s American business, which focuses on individual insurance, group insurance and annuities.
“The U of L and Lethbridge Community College were significant factors in the decision to locate here. Sun Life Financial’s sophisticated products and services rely on the support of high-quality, well-educated employees,” says Healy, who serves on the Faculty of Management’s Lethbridge Advisory Board.
The Lethbridge centre’s support for the U.S. business includes customer service and operations assistance for opening new accounts, administering existing contacts and paying commissions and claims. “There is a wide variety of work available here in both frontline and management positions,” says Healy.
The centre’s senior recruiter, Shawna Martinez, graduated from the U of L with a bachelor of management in human resources in 2001. “My U of L degree was the first step towards my career. It helped me determine where my interests lay and provided me with skills I could apply on the job, such as problem solving and project management,” says Martinez.
New Sun Life Financial employees begin their careers with three- to six-week training courses that cover such things as the company’s products and services, relevant computer software and customer service skills.
“Our training provides employees with the tools and skills necessary to provide excellent customer service and be able to grow within the company. We want employees to enjoy working here and take advantage of the opportunities for career development and advancement,” says Martinez.
In January, several U of L co-op students will begin eight-month work terms in the customer service area. Martinez is optimistic Sun Life Financial will benefit from the students’ education and eagerness to learn during this trial run of co-op placements.
“We are bringing in educated individuals in the hopes that they will want to work and grow with Sun Life Financial after they finish their degrees,” says Martinez.
Healy predicts Sun Life Financial will have a sunny future in southern Alberta.
“Our workforce is expected to grow to approximately 280 by year end, and that number could certainly be in the 300-to-400 range next year. We’re here to build a good business and hopefully provide many good jobs in the local community for a long time,” says Healy.
More information on careers with Sun Life Financial is available at www.sunlifecareers.com.
U of L Communications and Public Relations Contact:
Bob Cooney, Communications and PR Officer (403) 382-7173