At Louisville’s regional AFLAC headquarters on Linn Station Road, the idea that you can imagine yourself having success beyond your current vision is encouraged — even down to the name emblazoned on the office door — Dream Big.
Since taking over the division in 2014, David Watson has created an atmosphere of positivity reflected in hundreds of social media messages, including videos highlighting individual successes.
“There is a huge difference between ‘wanting’ to be somewhere and ‘having to be somewhere,” he said. “When you ‘Want’ to be somewhere you show up different. you have a pep in your step. You are excited to show up.”
Watson is regional director for the Louisville Dream Big AFLAC Regional office, which provides supplemental insurance for businesses and individuals. Watson has overseen dramatic growth as his oversight has grown from three to seven districts, and sales has exploded from $1.3 million to $7 million.
When Watson says that anyone with a big dream can find success in his organization, he can point to dozens of examples from his sales force. But none is more telling than the way Laura Govanus turned her life around.
Five years ago, she moved to Ft. Myers, Fla., with her husband, who she’d met at church in Louisville. Between 2013 and 2017, she gave birth to four boys. But in 2018, she said, her marriage failed and she and her boys moved back to Louisville, where she had previously worked as a dance instructor.
She moved in with a friend, but had no job, no real work experience and four boys to care for under the age of 6. “I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I needed to support myself and my family, and wanted more than just an average job. I kept asking myself ‘What am I going to do with the rest of my life.’ “
Through a Facebook connection, Govanus ended up interviewing with Watson in Louisville. Despite having virtually no sales or business experience, she began training last November and was calling on businesses for AFLAC by January. She quickly found success, making enough money to get an apartment for her family within a month.
“I didn’t think I sold myself in my first meeting with David,” she said. “I needed to get on my feet. I took the jump and leaped into it.”
Despite her lack of sales experience, she said she had faith that she could do it. She credits the training she received at AFLAC.
“I didn’t know how to be assertive and be my authentic self. At first it was so hard, I was struggling to be excited. I was shy and fearful and didn’t know how to approach people. The process taught me to grow in my strengths,” she said.
Govanus found she could excel in calling on businesses, explaining the advantages of offering the supplemental insurance to employees. And she discovered that her work could actually help people.
One was a man in his 30s who needed a heart transplant. Because he had AFLAC coverage, he received $20,000 to avoid financial catastrophe, something Govanus was able to provide.
In her first year, Govanus won numerous Dream Big awards, and was named Rookie of the Year for the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky. She still has a busy schedule, managing day care and school for her boys, but loves the flexibility of her work. She is still dreaming, hoping one day soon to buy a house.
Her success is one of the examples Watson points to when he recruits new agents. Anyone with the right attitude and drive can learn how to achieve goals, no matter what their experience in business and sales.
“When you ‘have’ to be somewhere, you have yourself a job,” Watson said. “Our Dream Big region creates a culture where people ‘WANT’ to be. I believe our culture is fueling our growth. When you believe in yourself and Dream Big…Amazing things Happen!”
AFLAC provides additional protection beyond traditional coverage, as touted in the parent company’s hilarious television commercials, recently featuring Alabama head football coach Nick Saban.
Listen to the Rusty Satellite Show, featuring an interview with David Watson and Amanda Goodman.