Powered by People | Jim Agan Leadership Q & A

December 7, 2021

Jim Agan

Director of Sales

Jim Agan manages Optus’ direct sales teams and business development efforts across North America. Jim is responsible for direct revenue generation, new customer acquisition, and account growth for enterprise-level customers. With decades of leadership experience, Jim understands how to streamline implementation and cost efficiency to achieve a seamless, secure, and reliable customer experience—one that creates lasting transformation.

With ample experience in the insurance and financial sectors, Jim understands how to balance strategy and investment to achieve the best possible outcome. Prior to joining Optus, Jim served as President and CEO at Sunstar Insurance Group as well as Senior Vice President at Stephens Insurance. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Marketing from Abilene Christian University.

Originally from Texas, Jim moved to Arkansas in 1993. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Jill, and their four grandchildren.

Q & A

In your own words, describe what makes a great leader.

A great leader is a person who speaks in a way that others love to listen and listens in a way that others love to speak. A great leader is prepared, is able to be present, and demonstrates they are present and able to respond appropriately.

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

I am motivated at 5:00 a.m. every morning to have my 90 minutes of quiet time. I know that time is reserved for me to be quiet—reading and meditating. The rest of the day is awesome because of those 90 minutes of solitude.

Who is someone you admire as a mentor?

Such a difficult question, as I have had so many, and in each of them in their own right were great mentors. The one that comes to mind is Todd Baker, he was my first manager, mentor, and friend. He is no longer with us, but to this day, I can recall his teaching and investment in me. He never shamed me for asking questions.

How can a leader fail?

It’s been my experience a leader fails when it becomes obvious that they are only interested in themselves—promoting themselves or worse, no longer listening.

Describe your perfect team.

I have three ideas as to what a perfect team is. (1) It’s one that realizes failure is the greatest teacher to become better. (2) It’s one that realizes collectively the number one priority every day is to do their job. (3) It’s a team that collectively celebrates success and encourages each other in times of duress or failure.

What is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness?

 I’m not the one that defines what my greatest strength is; you would have to ask others. My greatest weakness is a tie between a lack of patience and not being a detailed person.

What do you like to do when you aren’t leading the Optus team?

My family is my joy. My wife, Jill, and I enjoy life when we travel and when we are home, but I love being with my four grandchildren more than anything. Being with my son and daughter and their spouses gives me a lot of pride. They have made good life choices, and it’s a tremendous privilege to watch them in their respective careers, marriages, and parenting. 

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

I’ve met two POTUSs and shaken their hands. I met President Clinton in 1994 and President George W. Bush in 2000. I also have never had a PBJ sandwich, ever.

What’s your favorite quote?

Do not talk about giftedness, inborn talents! One can name great men of all kinds who were very little gifted. They acquired greatness, became ‘geniuses’ through qualities the lack of which no one who knew what they were would boast of; they all possessed that seriousness of the efficient workman which first learns to construct the parts properly before it ventures to fashion a great whole; they allowed themselves time for it because they took more pleasure in making the little secondary things well than in the effect of a dazzling whole. —Friedrich Nietzsche

What makes Optus different?

The uniqueness of Optus is that I see each employee being excellent in their respective roles. I see them taking pride in their work, yet remaining humble and knowing that, at the end of the day, they did well in taking care of our customers to the very best of their abilities. 

 

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