Rachel DeGrand April 13, 2018 10 min read

My Path to HJI: Suzanne Templin, Office Manager

Welcome to the next post in our blog series: My Path to HJI. These are stories from associates on how they got started in insurance, what led them to their role at Hausmann-Johnson Insurance, and advice for others thinking about making a start in the industry.

This week's featured associate is Suzanne Templin. Read on to learn more about Suzanne and connect with her on LinkedIn if you'd like!


What’s your role at HJI?

I’m the Office Manager, which means I do a little of everything around here!  I am the leader for the Office Support Administration staff, help coordinate in- and out-of-office events, manage our facilities, supplies, and vendor relations, support our executive management team, and just generally make sure everything runs smoothly.  I often find myself acting as the office encyclopedia, and we joke that the Office Support Administration team is like electricity: you don’t notice it when it’s there, but you miss it when it’s gone!

I’ve also been the leader of our office’s Event Committee for the past 2 years.  This committee plans a wide variety of fun events for our associates to nurture their social well-being.

What was your career path that led you to HJI and your current role?

I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar...just kidding.  I moved to Madison in 2010 and was working as an early childhood teacher for about 4 years when I started to feel burned out.  I reflected on the last time I enjoyed my work and that brought me back to the administrative work I was doing as a graduate student in Chicago.  So I reached out to a local temporary employment agency to help me get my foot in the door of the Madison administrative scene, and they were able to get me an interview at HJI.  This placement was incredibly fortuitous because I had a number of friends already working here, and completely separately, my fiancé (now husband) was also being interviewed for a position at HJI!  My husband and I actually ended up starting on the same day and have both been working here for almost 5 years.  I was hired onto the administration team at HJI in 2013 and worked at the front desk for about a year when the opportunity for the Office Manager position opened up.  The rest, as they say, is history.

What do you wish you’d known when you were just starting out?  

This is a tough question and one that I’ve been reflecting on for a while actually.  In times of stress, like many people, my gut reaction is mired in anxiety, worry, and negativity – and I’m not an otherwise negative person!  But when I’m stressed, it takes a conscious effort for me to approach a problem positively and calmly.  So, I wish I would have known how to slow down my thought process when I’m in a stressful time so that I can approach the issue effectively.  I’m just learning how to do this now, but man, it would have come in handy for the past 33 years of my life!

What inspires you to come to work every day? 

The people – they are some of the hardest working, most intelligent, dedicated, and fun people I’ve ever known.  I’m also inspired to come into work because I truly believe in the work we do and the services we provide – I feel a strong sense of ownership in and commitment to our success because the success of our agency comes from protecting and supporting our clients and our community.  We excel in so many areas, but there’s always the potential for improvement and I’m inspired to be a part of that improvement over the coming years.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How does that influence what you are doing now?  

Well, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.  My time in early childhood education, working with infants and toddlers, required a great deal of patience, which I find myself employing daily in my current position.  When I was younger, I wanted to be a junior high/middle school English teacher – I had incredible English teachers in 7th & 8th grade.  I think this influences my career path now because I’m constantly thankful that I am able to leave work, both physically and mentally, at the end of business hours.  There are no expectations that I grade papers, lesson plan, or coach extracurricular activities outside of my regular work hours; we are encouraged to leave work at work, and there is emphasis on the balance between work, family, & home life. 

What advice would you give someone thinking about going into insurance/starting their career? 

Don’t discount insurance just because it isn’t “sexy”!  People and their businesses will always need insurance, regardless of the economy, and there are lots of job opportunities at every level.  Plus, this is the best place I’ve ever worked, so it just goes to show you that the people you work with matter so much more than the industry you work in.

Tell us a bit about yourself outside of work.

I grew up in the Chicagoland suburbs and moved to Madison in 2010 – the very first moment I spent in Madison, I knew I was home.  I love going to the farmers market early on Saturday mornings, basking in the summer sun with friends at the Memorial Union Terrace, and reading/hibernating in the winter.  Just in the past couple years, I’ve taken up running after hating running for my entire life; I’m currently training for my 2nd Crazylegs 8k race at the end of April.

My husband and I love animals, so when the weather is nice, we spend lots of time at the Henry Vilas Zoo, the Milwaukee Zoo, Wisconsin Big Cat rescue, and petting zoos all over Wisconsin.  When the weather isn’t cooperative, we watch nature documentaries like the Planet Earth series.  We’re also the proud godparents of our niece and nephew and love spending time with them while they’re still young enough to think we’re cool.


If you're thinking about pursuing a career in insurance, watch the Why an Insurance Career? video from the International Risk Management Institute



Rachel DeGrand

Rachel joined Hausmann Group in 2015 and became Manager of Marketing Operations in 2018. In her role, she develops and implements marketing and advertising campaigns, oversees strategic events, and supports business development. She also organized the formation of the Community Impact Team at HG, which focuses on company-wide volunteering and community giving. Rachel has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Grand Valley State University. She enjoys running year-round and participating in road races. She’s a member of the Business Volunteer Network and regularly volunteers for organizations such as United Way, Alzheimer’s Association, and the Ironman Foundation. Her favorite volunteer work is helping organize the annual fundraiser hosted by HG – Melody’s Hope for Children Tailgate.