The NextGen of Brokers

Giovanna Costa Fazari—YBC Team Leader, Toronto/York/Peel

In October, IBAOcon’23 hosted the NextGen Talent Expo. The event was geared towards students enrolled in college insurance programs and hosted over 125 students from colleges around the GTA including Centennial, Conestoga, Fanshawe, Humber, Mohawk and Seneca.

This was an exciting opportunity for students to connect with one another—future colleagues, industry leaders and insurance vendors. IBAOcon’23 offered the chance to make connections with people students may not have otherwise had an opportunity to meet, laying the foundation to build industry relationships that would have otherwise gone unmaterialized.   

The student-focused event schedule included a Young Broker Council panel, a presentation by Specialty insurance broker Stefanie Berardinucci, a keynote by YBC President-Elect Dorothy Renzi, a job fair, access to the IBAOcon’23 Tradeshow, broker workshops and the CEO Panel. 

My involvement with the Young Brokers Council was the catalyst that allowed me to lead and engage with students throughout the day. I was flattered to be a panelist on the broker panel moderated by my fellow YBC Team Leader Scott Sleightholm, and alongside my co-panelist and fellow YBC Team Leader Stefan Bjelis. Together we answered questions that helped illustrate the typical—or more fitting—the not-so-typical day in the life of a broker. Through our broker lens, we discussed the opportunities, challenges and everything in-between that we experience in our professional careers. The students asked great questions. Their level of interest and engagement was motivating. 

In between all the presentations, discussions and guest speakers, students had an opportunity to connect with future employers at the NextGen Job Fair. It was amazing to see eager students arrive prepared for these conversations, resumes in hand. These future brokers were excited to speak with representatives from various brokerages. I think it’s safe to say that brokerage reps were just as excited to connect with the students—they are, after all, the brokers of tomorrow and their future hires. 

Students walked the tradeshow floor and connected with insurance vendors, some lucky enough to take home amazing swag. They also took part in the Broker Workshop and ever-popular CEO Panel. These sessions provided great tools and resources and offered an excellent overview and high-level understanding of our broker world. 

This was my first time participating in the NextGen Talent Expo and it won’t be my last. The enthusiasm and energy of the group of students (and their educators) who attended was intoxicating. The goal for our Young Brokers Council was to in part our love of the broker life and to motivate students along their journeys as they embark on their careers as brokers, yet after spending the day with these young minds, I was the one who was inspired. I have no doubt we’ll see many of these students joining the ranks of Ontario’s broker channel soon. They’re the future that will move this industry we all love forward. After experiencing the NextGen Talent Expo, I say we’re in good hands.

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