The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino: Michael Ortiz: AFLAC’s sales dynamo

Michael Ortiz: AFLAC’s sales dynamo

Talking to Michael Ortiz one can easily understand why he is such a valuable member of AFLAC’s sales team. His energy is truly infectious, his drive and can-do attitude hard to match. Michael, who’s been recently named AFLAC’s State Sales Coordinator for Illinois, is the kind of man who won’t easily take no for an answer.

Ortiz, who was born in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents, remembers developing a sense of hunger for success from his many visits to the island as a child. “It actually made me [more] hungry. When you are in Puerto Rico, this is your country, this is your land, and then it loom like there’s no hope. [People] didn’t have money for contractors to come in, so it took them years to build their homes. Every me money came in they would buy more sand or more blocks. For the longest time I thought there were no construction companies in Puerto Rico. And although that has since changed, it just makes you so hungry because I looked at what they had and I knew that they could get more.

Being Puerto Rican, [I thought], can I have this lifestyle, or can I have something better?” Ortiz decided on something better. After attending Wright Junior College, he earned a degree in Business Management from De Paul University. As a young professional, he started his career as the Director of Video Distribution for Columbia Pictures, where he had the opportunity to increase his skills through company funded education and training programs. The labor was indeed intensive, but Ortiz persevered, and in the process was able to obtain invaluable knowledge. “I went to work and then I went to college from 6:00 pm till 10:00 pm for about 3 years. But the company was so big on education, and I took advantage of that.” The opportunities he found while working for Columbia, however, did not make up for the lack of stability that the job offered.

Numerous layoffs he faced during his tenure with the company left him with a bad taste in his mouth and little hope for prolonged success. Eventually, tired of having to “prove himself” in the corporate jungle, Ortiz sought something different, a chance at his true definition of the word success. When a friend encouraged him to check out a new company that was looking for Spanish speaking individuals for their local enrollment team, he jumped at the chance. The company was AFLAC.

When Michael joined AFLAC’s Chicago office ten years ago, them was only one Hispanic employee on the enrollment team. He was surprised to find this out, and from that point on be set out to change it. This challenge, coupled with the attractiveness that AFLAC’s corporate structure offered him, became the fuel that has driven his energetic journey of success. His charming and engaging ways along with his hunger for success became a huge factor in his success within the company, where he became one of the first Latinos ever to reach the sales coordinator level. For Ortiz, this represents the highlight of his professional career: “To be able to be one of the first Hispanic sales coordinators ever. There’s been a lot of Hispanics that have gone through these doors in 49 years, and to be one of the first is awesome.”

COPYRIGHT 2004 Ferraez Publications of America Corp.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group