Chris never thought he’d end up here. He attended Dixieland Elementary and Southwest Middle before moving to Atlanta shortly after finishing 9th grade. It wasn’t until his college years that he’d come back to Lakeland, where he’d graduate from Florida Southern College in 1993.
“I just stayed,” Chris says. “Like a lot of people, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.”
After a stint coaching the water ski team at FSC, Chris knew he needed a change. He attended an on-campus career fair after a suggestion from Marsha Leap, FSC’s career development advisor at the time. Here, he got his first experience in the insurance industry.
“I don’t think anybody gets into the insurance business because they want to be in the insurance business,” Chris jokingly shares.
He swiftly accepted a position at Federated Insurance, essentially tripling his coaching salary overnight. Even greater than the pay raise, though, was Chris’ newfound enthusiasm for helping his fellow person.
“I came to just like the interaction,” Chris says. “It wasn’t insurance, it was dealing with the people.”
Coming to terms
Today, Chris still works in insurance. It’s just one of the many hats he wears.
Chris is the chairman of the board for Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE). VISTE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping elderly members of our community thrive independently from and within the comfort of their own homes. Now in its 35th year, VISTE helps serve more than 4,000 seniors in our Central Florida area.
“There’s just a need. There are people here that need help, so I think it’s our responsibility to do that,” Chris shares.
Although his work in VISTE primarily benefits those members of our community ages 70 and up, Chris knows there’s no age limit to need. Among his other titles, he’s the president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry, which offer a safe space for local, disadvantaged children to have fun, make friends, and ultimately become more productive members of our community.