2009 Women to Watch: Carla SansPosted On: Dec. 6, 2009 12:00 AM CST
Chief Operating Officer
McQueary Henry Bowles Troy L.L.P.
After failing a typing test at a bank in 1977, Carla Sans interviewed for a job with an insurance company that did not require her to pass the test and the rest is history. Today, she is responsible for day-to-day operations of insurance agency McQueary Henry Bowles Troy L.L.P., overseeing sales, accounting, human resources, information technology, client services and branch offices in Fort Worth and Austin, Texas. Ms. Sans has been a longtime board member and is president of Intersure Partners, a national group of independent agents who meet several times a year to share best practices. She is a member of the Independent Insurance Agents of Dallas and the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers. Ms. Sans has been a sponsor for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America foundation and is a part of Compassion International, a Christian child advocacy ministry.
Your professional role model: Well, I have a lot. I would have to say Bill Henry, our (chief executive officer). I'm amazed at how much he really cares about employees. And he's taught me a lot about business and about loyalty.
Best professional advice you've received: Not to focus on the outcome but on the process of truly doing the right thing by your employees and by your clients. If you do that, then the result takes care of itself.
Advice for women entering the field: I think just realizing that the opportunities are there for young women as they are for young men who are willing to work hard and put in the effort and try to be the best at what it is that they can be. I think the most important thing is for them to get with someone, whether it's on the company side or on the broker side, (with) a really good training program. The mistakes that we've made in the past were bringing young folks in and then just dropping them in, and they just kind of floated around and they weren't given much direction. I think they need real clear instructions, training, and checks and balances, accountability. I would encourage them to check that aspect out.
What you wanted to be professionally while growing up: I wanted to be a ballerina. I still want to be a ballerina. I did take dancing for years and years growing up and then moved and never got back into a real professional dance organization. I guess I didn't realize that I could've done that for a living. Looking back on it now though, I think, “Man, that would've been fun.” That would've been my passion.
Best book you've read recently: The Bible. It is my instruction book for life. It's my life manual.
Phone or e-mail and why: Phone. I hate e-mail. E-mail is impersonal. You get no voice inflection, you get nothing. It's so easy to misinterpret e-mail and misread them. I wish I didn't have to do e-mail.