David Cook, CEO, Sharq Insurance LLC
Not all of us are fortunate enough to enjoy the early morning breeze that radiates through our entire being and helps us rise and shine. David Earl Cook, the CEO of Sharq Insurance LLC, was lucky enough to catch the first glimpse of his career at the budding stage of his life. He was only eight when he started working with his father at their family business. This filled him with the gusto and confidence to lead and manage their business single-handedly when he was just a man of 12 years old. Apart from business, what amused him was athletics. An international champion in sports, David was always driven by the passion to win, to lead, and to value commitment; attributes that spawned within him the spirit of entrepreneurship.
By choice and drawing upon the American hard work ethic instilled by his parents, “early in my life I sometimes held three jobs at a single time. Many of those roles demanded hard physical labor. I have built three homes from vacant land to occupancy by myself”, muses the entrepreneur. The discipline & effort made him appreciate hard work as the only key to success, and his family values that embrace Honor, Courage, Commitment, God, Country, and Family as the invaluable assets of life; further helped him to move forward fearlessly in his mission. During his tenure of full employment spanning the long 56 years, David had led organizations with operations and employees in 79 different countries, traveled to 109 countries, met diverse people, which undoubtedly expanded his knowledge, and widened his scope of understanding life. All these set the stage for something better and bigger and made him the person he is today.
Unlocking the potential of an entrepreneur
In 2021, David joined Sharq Insurance LLC, as the CEO, where his job was to transform the business, overhaul policies, and instill brand values. Here he has to play the role of a business architect who can perform the multifaceted roles of incorporating innovation in procurement, underwriting excellence, improving digital platforms, and distribution channels, handling employees and improving products and services. In a nutshell, he had to manage everything from pillar to post, to remodel a business house that was almost on the verge of sinking.
The company lacked vision and lost direction. David ideated a new business strategy, renovated the operating models, created new distribution channels, and developed new websites that offered products via digital chat that included an eye-catching Avatar. It was David’s indefeasible faith in himself, his tenacity and fortitude that the company could overcome the first barrier of its inception.
No success can make us happy in the end, unless we perceive difficulties on our way. The next stage of business exposed to him a new set of challenges. It was difficult for him to gain the trust and support of his employees. To enlighten them with his vision, and make them aware of the prospect of the business, David structured an employee-centric organization, where communication played a pivotal role in transferring ideas. Here, he spoke with his employees, inspired them with his vision, persuaded them to action, recognized their contributions, and thanked them for every milestone achieved together.
Making a difference at Sharq
All insurance companies sell almost the same products at the same prices. One inherent question that piques us is, what makes Sharq LLC stand out of the crowd? The reply of a compassionate entrepreneur instantly wins our admiration for the leader. According to David, It is the attitude of the employees that makes all the difference. For him, “policy” is just a piece of paper and he transcends his business beyond this. It is their commitment, integrity and loyalty to their customers that set them apart from the rest. As conceived by David, the 6 P’s defines the motto of the company, which includes People, Process, Product, Philosophy, Producers, and Profit, according to their priorities.
As a highly experienced businessman and a visionary, David could easily identify the two major gaps that weaned away Sharq’s reputation in the market. One was the loss of brand awareness and the other one was a lack of trust. Therefore, he went on to arrange everything from scratch. To assess the total strength of the company, David started bootstrapping his employee’s, materials, skills, and resources and as he said, “put all the marbles in a single basket”by going all-in with the broker & agent distribution channel. This operating model could reach the maximum number of clients’ and create a huge market base. Along with this, positive word-of-mouth publicity by the brokers and existing customers helped to restore brand awareness and regain the lost faith of the customers. Gradually, other distribution channels also joined in with Sharq, and this enabled it to reach a greater height, and touch new milestones. Beside brokers, to keep pace with the current trend, he relied on channelizing his resources through digital social media platforms. For this, the entrepreneur launched their iconic camel avatar named “Jamaly”.
Extraordinary traits of leadership
Leadership in a larger spectrum connotes the idea of life. For a judicious business leader like David, successful leadership is founded on the bedrock of Truth, Transparency, and Trust. Based on their perceptions, David categorizes the leaders as “Great leaders” who believe they work for their team, and “average leaders” who believe their team works for them. A great leader of his stature nurtures a very refined style of leadership where he chooses to stand by his employees through thick and thin, and appreciate their efforts, irrespective of the results. He believes a leader to be a mentor who educates, motivates, raises his employees, and inspires confidence in them through clarity and consistency. As a benevolent leader, David strongly denounces the idea of conventional leadership that finally transpires into dictatorship and kills the human facets of a leader. Thus, he succeeded as a leader whom employees would love to emulate and idolize.
Sharq Insurance LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Doha Bank, proudly carries the hallmarks of trust, integrity, and commitment bestowed on it by the entrepreneur. David anticipates limitless potentiality for his company, which yet remains to be explored. As his future roadmap, he is fixed on bringing out the best by unwinding possibilities through viable strategies, constant innovation, and reinvention. Thus, the motto of the leader vindicates his noble vision of trailblazing the legacy of good work, beyond papers.