President and COO, Capital First Trust Co.
234 Florida St., Milwaukee
Industry: Personal injury settlement trusts
Chris Foregger was recently appointed president and chief operating officer at personal injury settlement trust company Capital First Trust Co. (formerly First Capital Surety & Trust) in Milwaukee. Managers must put employees first on their to-do list, he says.
“I have been fortunate to work at this organization for more than 13 years. After starting out as part of the service team, I was promoted into my first management position 10 years ago to lead that group. Like many employees that get into their first management role, I struggled to understand the difference.
“Most strong employees already carry a lot responsibility and are trusted with challenging to-do lists. When you first get into management, your instinct is to take on everything. Eventually, you learn it is impossible to lead a team or run a department this way.
“Your to-do list needs to change into the people you support. Rather than going through a list of projects I needed to work on that week, I started to organize my week according to the people in the organization. I keep a list of the challenges and key projects each person is working on. Then, I try to judge whether that person needs guidance, encouragement or hands-on support.
“As the president, I look for people who want to be part of our culture and do my best to support their efforts. A number of our managers have been promoted within the organization. Now, my goals include making sure they keep our associates focused on the values that have made the company successful.
“A fellow manager told me once that his ultimate responsibility was to make sure his employee leaves at 5 p.m. feeling good on his or her drive home. That was five years ago and that statement sticks with me to this day.
“Overcoming the challenges our clients face is a duty our associates take seriously. I am honored by the responsibility to lead a team that supports our associates and the relationships they have with our clients.”