Nov 08, 2023Career Story: Luzette Graves
Luzette Graves' journey through the healthcare and insurance industry is a testament to her passion for advocacy. Learn about her story.
Cortney’s passion for puzzles and problem solving paired with her specialized skillset and dedication made her a perfect fit to pioneer a new role within our agency when the need arose. Her unique position offers support to our teams and enables our people to do what they do best.
Learn more about Cortney’s journey and how she found her niche in our agency.
At Morris & Garritano, we believe that our people are our greatest asset. We’re committed to providing the resources and development needed to help our teams grow both personally and professionally.
Cortney DeCaires, Application Manager at M&G, is a shining example of how investing in the strengths of our people pays off. Joining our team in 2012, Cortney’s role saw a dynamic shift as her potential was realized and a new position was crafted to meet her unique skillset and our agency’s needs for success.
While in school, Cortney didn’t envision herself in insurance, but soon found herself drawn to the mathematical aspects of the industry. “Math and puzzles have always been a passion of mine. I enjoy a good challenge and the satisfying feeling of solving a problem,” she says. “But I never imagined I would be able to incorporate my passion into a job.”
After a family member submitted an application on her behalf, Cortney received a surprise call about a position at our agency. Eager to find work closer to her husband and end his long-distance commute, she accepted an interview and soon, accepted an offer.
Cortney began in a support role in our Commercial Lines department, starting from scratch with minimal experience in the field. “I just kind of learned transactional stuff,” she explains. “It was an assistant role but with great exposure to new projects and learning opportunities.”
With hard work and dedication, Cortney earned her insurance license within the first year and soon was promoted to account manager, where she was given a small book of business to oversee. Later, when an opening for a supervisor position opened, Cortney applied and was selected. In this role, she focused on making things easier for internal customers and new hires, which she found deeply rewarding. “I really liked being able to help the person sitting next to me as much as I liked helping customers on the phone. Helping them help our clients felt like something I was better at,” she says. Cortney’s pivotal moment was then when she realized she enjoyed being in the background, helping people, and making things easier for her team.
When the agency was transitioning management software systems, Cortney was invited as a part of the team facilitating the process. She was given a lead role, which she embraced wholeheartedly. “Through the process, I became really excited about the potential of the new software and I just clicked with it,” she explains. “I saw the efficiencies that could be gained and the improvements that could be made and that was really motivating.”
As she became more involved in the process, Cortney’s passion for helping others shone through. Her talent extended beyond simply understanding and implementing the new system and offered something deeper. She quickly became a trusted resource and “guru,” as her team affectionately called her. This caught the attention of her supervisor, Martine Domingues, P&C Director, who suggested Cortney’s role evolve to incorporate core systems management full time. With that, a brand-new role was created at the intersection of Cortney’s talents and the agency’s needs.
“My role converted from an external customer service role to one where my focus was internal customer service, with a focus on systems, automation, process improvement, and efficiency,” Cortney explains. This placed her in a perfect position to work in a way that best suited her skillset and passions. Her creativity, organization, and attention to detail are crucial in the support of our departments and operations.
“I really do credit Martine, because we sat down in this meeting and she said, ‘I just want you to do this full time.’ And I told her I would love that,” Cortney recalls. “M&G is really good at fitting the job to the person. No one views you as a machine,” she continues. “Your voice is taken into account.”
Since then, Cortney has served as our lead Application Manager, handling software that keeps our operations running. “Cortney’s work allows our teams to do what they do best because her role allows them to stay focused while she works behind the scenes to support their current needs and anticipate their future needs,” says her supervisor and agency CFO, Gabe Garcia. He continues, praising Cortney’s growth and adding, “Cortney has transformed from someone who followed policies and procedures to someone who is helping our agency shape our policies and procedures. She has expanded her expertise beyond our Agency Management system to other best in class systems, enabling us to serve our clients in the most effective manner possible.”
Cortney’s expertise and specialization have proved invaluable, boosting agency success across departments. Her growth and dedication to development has made her a vital asset to our team. “I feel so lucky to work for a company that truly invests in their employees,” Cortney says. “From the very beginning, I knew that M&G was a place where I could grow and develop my skills. I love what I get to do.”