Mastering English led to lifelong love of learning for GEICO manager
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 29, 2020 – Learning English did not come easy for Armando Berriel. Though he was born in San Diego, his family moved back to their native Mexico when he was an infant. They returned to California when Armando was in pre-school.
Young Armando was falling behind in school until his parents transferred him to an ESL (English as a Second Language) school.
"As the youngest in the family, my siblings also helped me learn," said Berriel, a Claims Manager in GEICO's Indianapolis office. "They would only speak to me in English, so learning in our household was genuinely a family affair."
Learning became a lifelong passion. After high school, though the realities of adulthood required him to get a full-time job, Berriel enrolled in classes at his local community college. He also made time to give back to his community. He signed on as a volunteer at the Chicano Federation, a San Diego-based social services and advocacy organization that has supported the Hispanic community for 50 years.
"We worked a lot with the local high schools," Berriel said. "I was able to help students with resume-building and help provide info on alternative career choices to four-year universities and trade jobs."
After graduating from community college, Berriel continued on to the University of Phoenix. The school's flexibility allowed him to work a full schedule at a bank, where he spent 13 years before learning about GEICO's Management Development Program (MDP) for recent college grads. He had recently completed his degree and decided to apply.
He was accepted into the program and completed it with flying colors. Berriel has been with GEICO for over five years now and has made his mark in several different areas. After completing the MDP program and becoming a supervisor, he left San Diego to serve as a supervisor at the newly opened Indy office. Later, under Berriel's direction, his team was recognized as one of the Top 10 teams throughout claims companywide. And, to satisfy that knack for learning he developed as a kid, he's taken Certified Property and Casualty Underwriter courses and other classes.
Berriel always urged the students he mentored through the Chicano Federation to be proactive about achieving their dreams. That wasn't lip service; it's Berriel's way of life.
"A lot of times, first-generation American students can't rely on family members to teach and guide them because these experiences are new to them as well," Berriel said. "It is important to be intentional about your goals and to reach out to get all the information, help and support you need to achieve them."
GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 28 million vehicles.
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