Note: This interview was originally posted in December 2017. Chris Pinkerton was named CEO of Sons of Norway in March 2020.
Q. Welcome to Sons of Norway, Chris, and congratulations on being Sons of Norway’s first-ever Chief Operating Officer. What attracted you to this position at our organization?
A. A couple of things. First, I had a great experience working at Foresters, a fraternal benefit organization headquartered in Toronto. Fraternal benefit organizations provide a rare opportunity to not only focus on growing an insurance business, but also to contribute to cultural and charitable efforts that enrich our communities. The second reason was the outstanding reputation of the Sons of Norway organization. I became familiar with Sons of Norway when I moved to the Twin Cities in 1999 and heard much more about its business and fraternal activities after joining Foresters.
Q. You’ll be working closely with actuarial, I.T. and insurance teams. What will your top priorities be as you dig in to your first tasks?
A. The first thing will be to get to know the people in the organization and to gain their perspective on how the business operates and what its key strengths are and what developmental opportunities exist. I would like to go through that same process from the perspective of our members and the FBCs that sell our insurance products.
Next would be to craft an operating plan for the insurance business that outlines our 2018 high level objectives, the strategic initiatives we will undertake and specific goals for each operating area and individual. As part of this process we will seek to implement new products, sales initiatives, systems development efforts and other activities designed to meet or exceed the objectives established for us by Eivind and the International Board.
Q. Sons of Norway and all its lodges and members cover a vast territory! Will you be “out in the field” much? If so, in what capacity?
A. I certainly expect to be. As outlined in my first answer, it is highly important that I take the time to meet with our members and sales personnel around the country to get their views on the organization and how it can be improved going forward. I would also like to do whatever I can to aid Agency Director Len Carlson in recruiting new insurance representatives to join Sons of Norway as Financial Benefit Counselors.
Q. What do you look forward to most in your work with Sons of Norway?
A. Getting to know the employees and members of the Sons of Norway. This is a great organization with a proud history. The people I have talked to so far are very proud and excited to be a part of it and I am thrilled to be a part of it myself, both as an employee and a new member.
Q. Would you like to tell us your favorite ways to spend leisure time?
A. Like most folks, I enjoy spending time with friends and family in my leisure time. I am also an avid music fan and love to read, mostly books in the history and mystery genres.
Q. What would you like to accomplish most in the coming year?
A. To help us meet all of our objectives in 2018 and set the stage for a breakout year in 2019. This will be achieved by all of us working together to increase insurance and annuity sales, continue to add new members, effectively manage our expenses and continue to introduce new products to help our members better assure their financial futures.