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PYSK: Chris Horn

PYSK: Chris Horn

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Get to know Chris Horn, Reinsurance Manager, Shelter Insurance and Board of Education Director, Columbia Public Schools

Job description

We partner with insurance companies around the world to meet their financial needs, particularly as it relates to protecting them from natural catastrophe losses. We provide insurance for insurance companies. I manage a team that is responsible for our business in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin American markets.

Professional background

Apart from one year in federal law enforcement, my entire career has been with Shelter Insurance. Most of the service has been in claims and claims management working in our offices in Topeka, Columbia, Lee’s Summit, and Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The last three years of service have been in reinsurance, first as an account executive for our U.K. and Western Europe markets before assuming my current position. 

How you got into your profession

One of the ways Shelter creates a diverse workforce is through our internship program, which has been around for more than 30 years, and this is where my professional journey began. I started as an intern in our training and human resources departments. Before and since that time, many great people have been placed in my life to guide me along the way.

Your favorite way to get involved with the Columbia community

I enjoy collaborating with others and with organizations, particularly those with experiences and perspectives different from my own, to seek solutions for our community needs. As an example, I serve on the board for the Heart of Missouri CASA. This organization’s mission is to recruit and train volunteer court appointed special advocates (hence CASA) to be exceptional voices for every abused and neglected child in the Boone and Calloway County Family Courts. Our board is made up of folks from different walks of life and backgrounds. Viewing complex challenges through the lenses of our collective experiences helps Kelly Hill, our executive director, achieve our organization’s mission. The same is true of serving on the board of education. Diversity of thought, perspective, and experience is a great recipe for addressing community needs.

The next challenge facing the CPS board

Beyond the pandemic, the next challenge will be attendance areas, which is more than just planning out new buildings or renovations. Attendance areas play a big role in our most important challenge, which is eliminating the achievement gap. Columbia has competing priorities of creating neighborhood schools and balancing community socioeconomics. The board, in partnership with administration and community, will get this right. We can then build on this success for subsequent attendance area changes and continuously work towards making these competing priorities become complementary priorities. 

Family

My loving wife, Amanda, is an elementary teacher. We are blessed with three wonderful kids: Jordan, Maxwell, and Phoenix. Shout out to my parents and my mother-in-law as well. Amanda and I are privileged to have been raised and supported by them.

A Columbia nonprofit organization you admire and why

I first learned of the Cradle to Career Alliance in the Inclusive Impact Institute’s first annual State of Inclusivity Conference last year. The work of Dr. Crystal Kroner and her board is fantastic. They research complex social issues to understand what is happening in our community, and they develop strategies for tailored solutions. The comprehensive, data-driven approach is fascinating and thought-provoking. 

Your goals as a CPS school board member

For CPS to become the most inclusive district in the state and beyond. We want our district to be a place where all district employees have equitable career progression opportunities and all students have equitable opportunities to succeed. Accomplishing this goal eliminates gaps in achievement. It also leads to staff, teachers, and administrators that reflect the diversity of the students we teach. 

If you weren’t doing this for a living, you would

That’s a good question. I think I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Why you’re passionate about your job

Reinsurance is challenging and fun. I’m blessed to be able to navigate the ever-changing landscape of our industry with the wonderful people on our team. We have relationships with people across the globe, which helps shape perspective. Traveling is a nice job requirement. Most of all, we get to be there for companies and the people they serve in their times of need.

Why you’re passionate about your organization

Shelter cares about its employees, its agents, and its customers. This was obvious from day one and still holds today. It is a blessing to work for a company that values good corporate citizenship and doing the right thing.

What you do for fun

Basketball, golf (although I’m not good yet), and working out in general are fun. It is fun to compete, and I have developed great relationships because of participating in these activities.

An accomplishment you’re most proud of

Being elected to the CPS Board of Education. It was a team effort (there are so many people to thank), a challenging process, and I learned and am continuing to learn so much. 

A quote you live by

“We are made for such a time as this.”

Most people don’t know that you

I attended a portion of elementary school in Japan. My parents served in the Air Force, and we moved about every four years. 

Your favorite CPS program and why

The Multicultural Achievement Committee Scholars program is designed to increase the number of historically underrepresented students in Columbia Public Schools’ most rigorous courses. Dr. Annelle Whitt does a fantastic job with this program and has been kind enough to allow me to participate in a few of their initiatives. This program provides opportunities for students to enhance their learning experience, get involved in our community, collaborate, talk about complex issues, network with local business, and more. 

Greatest strength

My patience.

Greatest weakness

Not saying, “No,” but I am working hard on that. 

Chris Horn smiling
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