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.
In another year where words like “uncertainty” and “challenging” were commonly exchanged, we at Morris & Garritano have maintained our composure and forged ahead with our mission of providing those we serve with peace of mind.
As we navigate this post-pandemic climate, difficulties felt across markets, we’ve kept in mind our position as a leader, both in serving our clients (business owners themselves) and in supporting our own employee base. Recognizing the value and importance of our people is integral in our operations and a driving force behind our every decision.
In the past year, we’re proud to report the goals we’ve achieved and obstacles we’ve overcome. We’re fortunate to have these successes heading into the new year and it’s the team behind our wins we’d like to recognize. We at M&G understand that when we’re strong internally, our people are equipped to better serve our clients and impact our community.
With record breaking growth, 2022 saw the expansion of the M&G name into new territories with the opening of an Orange County office and new hires being brought on board across the nation. We’ve been recognized once more as a trusted broker and desirable workplace by local and national organizations. Additionally, we’ve continued our charity and community involvement with numerous events this year.
As we enter 2023, we’re more committed than ever to continually improve ourselves and stand strong at the forefront of the industry to advocate for our clients.
Growth & Expansion
In line with our vision and goals, we’ve brought on 36 new employees this year to support our sustainable growth initiative and serve our expanding client base. Of these new hires, several brand-new positions have been created and filled such as our Corporate Recruiter, Employee Engagement Program Manager, and Employee Benefits Account Executive. We have Risk Advisors residing in new territories including Santa Cruz, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, Orange County, and San Diego with a growing, remote workforce spread across 19 different states.
Coming in January, we eagerly anticipate the opening of our newest office location in Irvine. We’re working hard to further our trusted services to the Orange County business community as we grow our staff and clientele in this location. Committed to development as a steadily growing yet nimble, independent agency, our team is equipped to remain at the forefront of advocacy, leveraging our strong carrier partnerships and brokering personalized policies.
To better serve our clients, we’ve established several new initiatives to offer stronger advocacy and support like never before.
We understand the hardships in the marketplace and have expanded our product availability to offer more solutions to our clients and help meet their needs. Our in-house experts have launched new webinars, such as our HR in Half an Hour series, and online education resources, such our Compliance Resource Center, to provide clients with direct access to support and personalized answers to their unique questions and stations.
For employees of clients, we’ve recognized the difficulties in navigating employee benefits and have created a quarterly newsletter and improved our Employee Benefits Resource Library, accessible online at any time, for members to get the most out of their benefits packages.
All the while, our teams have been working at local and macro levels to support clients and advocate for better legislation to promote long-term market stability.
By investing in stronger teams internally, our people are equipped to pour that success outward, and our clients reap the benefits. Through dedicated and intentional effort, our ability to support employee development has increased tenfold this year.
Our teams have been provided with various new resources to take control of their careers. This year, we’ve implemented tools such as Predictive Index to help understand and assess their dynamics and working styles; Udemy to offer access to self-paced learning and development opportunities; Pavestep to focus on providing impactful and effective feedback; and new awards programs to recognize individuals on a quarterly basis.
At M&G, you no longer have to be physically present in the office to have an engaging work experience. We’ve implemented ways to ensure our award-winning workplace culture is felt from coast to coast, no matter where our people are located.
With safety measures stabilizing, we were able to return to large-scale in-person events this year. In addition to increased catered lunches, we hosted numerous BBQs on the patio and happy hours in our newly renovated “Bunker” for onsite games, drinks, and socializing. This Fall also marked the long-anticipated return of our Employee Appreciation Party which brought together our expansive remote workforce to meet face to face, some for the very first time. With the purpose of honoring and inspiring our employees, we enjoyed five days of events together creating stronger-than-ever cohesion and collaboration among our teams.
For those based out of our local area and reliant on digital interactions throughout the workweek, we’ve invested in better technology to provide a more seamless compatibility for collaboration.
All meeting and event spaces have been equipped for hybrid functionality allowing a more interactive experience and equal voice to those joining virtually.
As we continue to expand and welcome remote workers from new areas of the country, we’ve increased our focus on keeping our agency safe online and enhancing our cyber security measures. Through proactive training, our teams are aware and equipped to remain vigilant in their digital habits. New security technology and efforts have taken advanced steps to safeguard our people and our agency when working online in any location.
Non-profit involvement is deeply important to us at M&G, and we are proud to have continued that legacy again this year.
Once again, we were thrilled to participate and help sponsor Hospice SLO’s Walk for Healing. Team M&G took home the first-place trophy and raised more than $3,500 for the host organization!
We enjoyed sponsorship and participation at Picnic with Purpose: 20th Annual Women’s Legacy Luncheon, a catalyst for philanthropy that improves the lives of women and girls in San Luis Obispo County.
Further promoting the good work being done in our county, we enjoyed participation in supporting the California Mid State Fair and the GALA Pride and Diversity Center. Serving also as a Hunger Hero with our local food bank, our donation was then generously matched by our carrier partner, the Hartford!
Caring for our community is an integral part of the work we do, and we are eager to continue this outreach not only in our home base of San Luis Obispo but also in the new California communities we are expanding into.
Finally, we at M&G are proud to hold a prominent position in our community, both locally and nationally as industry leaders.
Once again, this year was marked with several recognitions and awards given to our agency for efforts in growth, advocacy, and operations. For the fifth year in a row, we were honored as one of the Pacific Coast Business Times’ Best Places to Work on the Central Coast. Noted for our success in establishing a healthy workplace culture, we were named a Hands-on Hero by First 5 SLO and highlighted by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce as one of our county’s top family-friendly workplaces.
Additionally, we’re so proud to have several of our own recognized for their outstanding individual efforts. This year, UBA recognized Employee Benefits Advisor Daniel Vordale, REBC® with the 2022 UBA Producer Basecamp Award for outstanding client service in sales. Our CEO, Brendan Morris, and Senior Employee Benefits Advisor and Practice Leader, Ben Hoover, were named in PacBiz’s Who’s Who in Insurance publication with our CFO, Gabe Garcia, being named as a Top CFO.
Our agency and advocates are highly regarded for the expertise and M&G enjoyed numerous speaking opportunities and appearances at events including the Santa Maria Valley Chamber Business Expo, SLO Employer Advisory Council, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance presentation, and Community Care Options Educational Conference. We helped promote the SLO Chamber’s Insight Studio and San Luis Obispo County Family-Friendly Workplaces to bring this great workshop to our community. Lastly, our team represented M&G well taking home the winning title at the regional CIAB Broker Smackdown in Scottsdale, AZ!
Into the Future
Since 1885 we’ve been serving our region as trusted advisors. Now, with a larger than ever employee base working connectedly across the entire state and nation, we are expanding our reach while remaining the committed, independent agency we’ve always been
We are dedicated to keeping at the forefront of the industry, facing onset challenges, understanding market trends, and leveraging new technology to best enable us in our mission.
Year after year, our team proves how capable we are of consistently offering trusted, superior service while keeping our clients well-informed and protected in ever-changing climates. We’re optimistic about our future and expanding ability to serve clients in new regions and continue our mission of offering exceptional advocacy and service.