To say that I’m a bit humbled and overwhelmed with the incredible honor that has been bestowed upon me as the 2017 Voluntary Adviser of the Year by Employee Benefit Adviser would be an understatement.
I’ve had the privilege of working with and being surrounded by some of the most talented and amazing colleagues in the enhanced benefits industry throughout my career. If not for all of them, I wouldn’t have had the successful career that I have had thus far, let alone be where I am today.
This is not to say that any of my career successes have come easy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve had the same trials, tribulations and failures that anyone else has experienced when building a business from scratch. I’ve simply always subscribed to the belief that it’s what you do when no one else is looking that sets you apart from your competition. Very few were there during all of the early mornings and late nights working at my various offices over the years. Nor were they there when I was working each and every weekend to get ahead of my respected industry peers.
I’ve had the luxury of earning every award that exists while I was with a single carrier for so many years. Some of those awards I used to even refer to as the “Grammy” within that specific insurance carrier. While I’m super proud of my past and all of the accomplishments that my drive, passion and commitment have earned me, I can honestly say that each of those honors pale in comparison to the industry-wide honor that EBA awarded me when they named me their 2017 Voluntary Adviser of the Year.
This award is truly the “Oscar” of our industry, as it goes above and beyond any one particular insurance carrier or brokerage’s internal recognition and is the only award given to one specific voluntary benefits professional. In the same way that the “Best Director,” “Best Supporting Actress” and “Best Actor” don’t have to compete with each other for an Academy Award – I’ve always admired how EBA keeps voluntary, health insurance, retirement, technology and wellness all separate. This allows those who win to shine in their respective fields so that they don’t have to compete with others who specialize and focus on very different areas of the employee benefits world.
Thank you to this year’s award sponsor, ADP, for going above and beyond what I could have imagined and truly treating myself and fellow Advisers of the Year, Mick Rodgers (overall), Bob Judd (retirement), Manish Kumar (technology) and Valeria Tivnan (wellness) as the rock stars we’ve always wanted to be.
Thank you to Nelson Griswold, one of EBA’s longest-running monthly columnists and health insurance and enhanced benefits gurus. Griswold, his partner Scott Cantrell, and all of my fellow Agency Growth Mastermind Partners, make me a better professional, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this prestigious and exclusive organization that is changing the game and breaking the status quo one broker and employer client at a time.
Thank you to all of my industry colleagues, partners and clients who nominated me for this year’s prestigious honor.
The most important thank you of all goes to my beautiful wife, Megan, who’s not only my biggest cheerleader and always in my corner, but she’s my best friend. Without her personal support, love, sacrifice and understanding, I can assure you that I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I’m honored to join previous Voluntary Advisers of the Year — Joe Alfonsi (2016), Heather Garbers (2015), Sharla St. Rose (2014), Lou Faiola (2013), Dan McNeill (2012) and Rob Shestack (2011). These voluntary benefit professionals, among many others, are the rock stars that I look up to, and I can only hope to live up to the industry standards that they’ve laid before me.
Today, I can honestly say that I feel like one of those rock stars that I’ve been recognizing for nearly 18 years, and I’m super excited to continue on my journey to transform our industry from being known as “voluntary,” “ancillary,” “supplemental” or “worksite” to the more inviting and healthcare supportive “enhanced” — will you join me in the revolution?