1. What lured you to the employee benefits industry?
I was drawn to the industry because of its focus on helping employers and their employees with benefit initiatives and programs with one common goal of assisting the overall health of the group.
It also shows employees that their employers are invested in their future. It gives employers a distinct advantage in competitive recruiting situations. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. Also, an engaged, happy and healthy employee is more productive, with fewer health risks, fewer sick days, fewer trips to the doctor, and they spend more time working in their organization bringing their best selves to work every day.
2. How would you describe your management style?
I would say that my style is more extroverted. I feel everyone here at Catalyst Benefits Group is a leader and a manager. I’m here to verify results, provide helpful direction and offer constructive feedback when asked.
The question is “will a team member fit into our model?” and if so, they don’t need to be managed. If our employees represent the qualities that make them leaders, there isn’t a whole lot of managing to be had. If we’re all “putting off the same exhaust fumes,” the work environment and our culture will be self-directed and produce positive results.
Each team member cares deeply about our clients, and we all work toward a common goal — providing solutions for our client’s employee benefits needs. We take great pride in being accountable for every aspect of our business, so if I manage the environment and the culture, our account managers can handle the rest.
Family is also very important at CBG. I am a firm believer that a happy, healthy employee — both on and off the job — is imperative to providing great account service. We’re all engaged and strive to make a difference to the success of CBG. Hence, the reason for my “hands off” approach.
3. You’re originally from the Houston area. What brought you to Tulsa?
I actually grew up in a small town in the Brazoria County area near Lake Jackson and Angleton. I was attending Texas State University — formerly Southwest Texas State University — in San Marcos when a good friend asked if I would consider going to Tulsa to work for his uncle, who was the managing partner at a law firm.
I moved here and fell in love with the city, the people and the many opportunities that were set out before me. I worked as a errand runner for about six months, then was asked to join their marketing team, which was more in line with what I wanted to do.
After four to five years, I realized that I wanted more challenges, so I made a move to a national life insurance firm. I found that selling insurance was a positive experience if I was willing to “make the call.” Eventually I made the move to the employee benefits industry where I worked for a large national carrier for six years. In 2005, I took a leap of faith into the broker world and have been here ever since.
4. What vacation spot do you enjoy going back to?
Scottsdale anytime between January and March, Lake Tahoe in August and Cabo anytime I can get away for a week. These are annual spots that have been on the schedule in the past, but now that I am a dad to a 4-year-old little girl and a 5-month-old boy, as well as a husband, the majority of my free time is spent with them. Although, I’m certain that they will find these spots enjoyable when the time is right.
5. What does Tulsa need that it doesn’t have?
I am very happy with the progress of Tulsa over the past 10 years! The things that I thought Tulsa needed have already come and are still coming to fruition. The BOK Center is the best thing that has happened to Tulsa, if you ask me. It was the “catalyst” to reviving the downtown and surrounding areas — Blue Dome, Brady, Deco, East Village, etc.
ONEOK Field has also been a big factor. We now also have The Gathering Place, which speaks for itself with the all of the accolades and national recognition. Who knows? Maybe we can support a major league baseball team?