Emma Giammichele wanted to attend a business-related college program, but she wasn’t exactly sure which path was for her. Mohawk College’s one-year General Arts and Science certificate proved to be low risk and high reward. Emma was able to explore her post-secondary options, discover what it was like to be enrolled in college, and arrived at an informed decision. A few years and an Insurance diploma later, her careful approach landed Emma her dream job — in the midst of the pandemic.
“Mohawk College was appealing because I like the city of Hamilton, and my brother had gone to Mohawk and said he liked his experience quite a bit,” says Emma. “Once I was finishing up my certificate, I was leaning towards either the accounting or insurance stream. After hearing great things about the insurance industry through some friends that were already in the program and listening to a pitch from (an instructor) in one of my general business classes, I chose Insurance. I have been extremely happy with my decision ever since.”
Over 40 years of experience in educating insurance professionals and Mohawk’s close connection to the property and casualty insurance industry have resulted in a program that is informed by the latest trends and employer needs. On an accelerated basis, students have the opportunity to complete eight out of ten credits required for the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation from the Insurance Institute of Canada. They are also prepared for the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario License.
“There are so many different types of career paths within the industry, and the program will provide open doors for the rest of their life,” Emma says of aspiring Insurance students. “I was able to find my dream job within four months (of graduating) and during a pandemic!”
Because Mohawk holistically prepares students in all programs, there are various opportunities to get involved beyond the classroom. Emma, for example, worked as a Campus to Community Student Leader in the Student Life department and made an active effort to volunteer. With her goal of building strong networks before she graduated, Emma also took advantage of the career-related events and workshops the Insurance program offers.
“I attended every single one and built myself a strong network,” Emma says. “I was able to gain a lot of insight and direction from talking with industry experts. I also focused on building strong relationships with my classmates and teachers that are still lasting to this day.”
Today, Emma is a corporate account associate at Lawrie Insurance Group. Established in 1982, the organization is a recognized leading Canadian insurance brokerage. With a staff of over 100 professionals, it specializes in commercial and personal insurance, employee benefits, life and living benefits, and group retirement solutions. Emma is part of the commercial brokering team.
“I love this job because I'm constantly building my skills, learning more about the industry every day,” she says, “and all the while, I get to a make personal impact on the day-to-day lives of my clients and colleagues.”