‘The possibilities are endless here’ – Canada Life’s Jeff Macoun shares career wisdom

‘The possibilities are endless here’ – Canada Life’s Jeff Macoun shares career wisdom | Insurance Business Canada

Retiring Canada Life president reflects on milestones and challenges

'The possibilities are endless here' – Canada Life's Jeff Macoun shares career wisdom

Insurance News

Gia Snape

After more than 40 years with Canada Life, Jeff Macoun (pictured) is set to step down as president and chief operating officer of its Canadian operations.

Speaking to Insurance Business, the long-time leader reflected on his career, the successes and challenges, and the driving force to serve Canadians through the financial services industry.

“I wouldn’t point to one [accomplishment], but to a theme, which is the burning desire within Canada Life to do what’s right, to take the high road, to collaborate and meet the needs of Canadians, and to find ways to get to yes,” Macoun said. “Through these 40 years, I always felt proud – and I still am proud – to tell people that I work for Canada Life.”

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic

Macoun has led the company through historic milestones and steered it through unprecedented challenges.

One of the most memorable challenges was navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. For Macoun, being able to shift to hybrid work is now a strength for Canada Life.

“When [COVID] came along on, I thought, how do we continue to serve Canadians? How do we how do we move to an environment that we could serve Canadians?” Macoun said. “That was a challenge and we turned it into an opportunity.”

He also highlighted the adaptability and customer-centricity of Canada Life among its key pillars.

“Finding ways to continue to meet the needs and being adaptive is critical, as well as taking advantage of the digital world and moving to a more digital way,” he said.

“We’ve always had a customer- and client-centric view. So, how do we look for ways and opportunities to serve customers how, when and where they want to be served?”

Building one of the most trusted brands in Canada

In his six-year tenure as president and COO of Canadian operations, Macoun also played a pivotal role in unifying the company under the singular Canada Life brand in 2020.

“Great West Life, London Life, and Canada Life are all incredibly successful in their own way, and the time had to come to think about how we might present ourselves as one brand in Canada,” Macoun recalled.

“Coming together under Canada Life has been a tipping point in the success of our organization.”

Life and career lessons from Canada Life’s Jeff Macoun

Macoun also shared three pieces of advice for people coming into insurance:

  • We control two things: our attitude and our actions

“What I would say to people coming in our businesses is that you own that,” Macoun said. “You own attitude, and I always knew that I was going to view things optimistically and positively.”

At the same time, he said, people should acknowledge their powers.

“I can make things happen. It’s up to me,” he added.

  • We should spend more time being interested in people, instead of trying to be interesting

“If you’re curious, you can learn so much about everyone. And everyone wants to tell their story,” said Macoun.

  • The possibilities are endless

“The financial service business is incredible,” Macoun said. “If you take the [right] attitude, if you work hard, treat people with respect, do lots of things when nobody is watching, you’ll have the most stellar, fulfilling career that you could ever imagine.”

‘A great career is not a solo journey’

Looking back, Macoun said that while he was initially attracted to the financial services industry because of the career growth opportunities, it was the people that ultimately made him want to stay.

Macoun joined the London Life Insurance Company as a management trainee straight after graduating from university.

“The people within the organization are stellar and have been incredible,” he said.

“People said, imagine the possibilities of a career here. You can have a long career here and move up within the company. You could be your own self here, and you could work with great people and serve Canadians.

“So, what has kept me here is just this passion for the work we do for Canadians and the great people that I’ve been surrounded by.”

Fabrice Morin will be taking the reins as president and COO of Canada Life’s Canadian operations on February 16, while Macoun will transition to the role of senior advisor to the president and COO.

Have anything to say about outgoing Canada Life COO and president Jeff Macoun and his retirement? Please share in the comments.

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