In finding his way to success in South Florida, Conor Flynn has followed what he considers the most reliable guides: his heart and intuition.
The FIU alumnus, who received his Master of Business Administration in 2010, is deeply committed to public service and advocating for those in need.
He volunteers with The Education Fund, which supports innovation in public education; Chapman Partnership homeless assistance, where he designed a program with fellow MBA students to teach people financial literacy skills; Best Buddies International; and United Cerebral Palsy, to name just a few. The last two are especially personal to Flynn, who has a cousin with Down syndrome and another with cerebral palsy.
Through his involvement in causes he cares about, he gradually built a network of people with shared passions.
“There’s no specific road map to building a network: it starts with showing up,” Flynn said. “Find something you’re passionate about and get involved. I started going to many different events to see where I could find successful, interesting people and make a difference.”
“A lot of my community involvement came from meeting so many amazing people in the MBA program at FIU. I met some of my best friends there, people I still talk to every day. We’ve been talking about a 10-year reunion. I’m grateful for those friendships,” he said.
Flynn has been a member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce since 2014, and says that “has deepened my relationships with FIU business school contacts,” as well as the larger community. He helps chair customer care for the Chamber, and has served as chair of the Chamber’s South Florida Good to Great Awards; this is his second year on the board of directors and third on board of governors. Flynn is among only a few under age 40 in the organization’s 110-year history to be elected to the boards.
Cornelia Pereira, the Chamber’s chief operating officer, lauded Flynn’s efforts. “It’s been my pleasure to watch Conor jump in and get involved in the Chamber in a big way,” she said. “He realized right away the personal and professional benefit to rolling up his sleeves and doing his part to make our projects successful.”
This year, he’s been chosen to serve on the FIU President’s Council with other business and civic leaders who represent FIU, making community connections and bridging business and academia.
“I’m honored to be part of it, and excited about helping FIU any way I can,” Flynn said.
“Conor is the epitome of an engaged professional,” said Danette Gossett, owner of Gossett Marketing, and Chamber board member,
Education as a driving force.
Learning is a big part of what drives Flynn. His mother is a retired teacher, his father a research psychologist and director at Texas Christian University’s Institute of Behavioral Research. “I’m passionate about education,” he said. “The key to growing is learning.”
Before finding his current job as a relationship leader at Aon Risk Solutions, where he’s worked for over a year, Flynn tried “a number of entrepreneurial ventures,” including an import/export start-up and employer consulting.
“If any of them had worked out, I wouldn’t be here now,” he said. “I consider them learning experiences, not failures.”
Aon is a good fit, both professionally and personally. “I want to work for the best and the brightest,” Flynn said. “They’re the thought leaders in insurance and risk management, and largest insurance broker in the world.”
The company culture is social, and stresses involvement in charitable work and volunteerism, participating in causes that include Autism Speaks and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“The people are tremendous,” Flynn said. “They’re always planning great activities, and are active in the community. I learn something new every day.”
On the side, Flynn is involved with start-up specialty coffee company Rx Coffee. “These are some of the best coffees in the world,” he said. “Our target demographic is the CrossFit community and health/fitness adventure traveler.”
Finding growth through constant challenge.
Flynn urges aspiring, next-generation business leaders not to dwell on past accomplishments or mistakes. Instead, “try to improve every day by consistently challenging yourself – run a marathon, get a graduate degree, conquer your fear of public speaking.” (Flynn does stand-up comedy, CrossFit, and “has survived mixed martial arts training with UFC fighters.”)
He also recommends creating a plan: “A goal without a plan is just a dream; most people quit at 40 percent. Write it down and figure out how to get there.”
Flynn’s charity work has taught him humility – knowing his limitations, and asking for help when he needs it. “Ultimately,” he said, “the people we connect with are key in how, and what, we accomplish.”
“The relationships you build transfer to everything you do in life. It sounds cliché, but we have the ability to create our own destiny,” he said. “The future is waiting.”