Introducing EBA’s 2020 Adviser of the Year winners

AOY 2020

Employee Benefit Adviser’s annual Adviser of the Year award recognizes individuals within the industry who have a passion for the business and who provide outstanding service to their clients.

Our winners were chosen after months of searching for benefits professionals who best serve, inspire, and go above and beyond for their clients and peers. This year’s awards also highlight how these advisers have risen to the challenges and curveballs of the coronavirus pandemic.

Our five categories reflect the growing role of the employee benefit adviser in having a positive impact on all facets of a client’s business:

· Employee Benefit Adviser of the Year

· Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year

· Voluntary Benefits Adviser of the Year

· Wellness Adviser of the Year

· Technology Adviser of the Year

This year’s winners were nominated by their own colleagues and peers. Scroll through to see how these advisers have impacted their business and the people they serve.

Josie Martinez AOY 2020
Boston Photographer Lindsey Michelle Williams
Adviser of the Year: Josie Martinez, senior partner/general counsel, EBS Insurance Brokers
“I think other advisers could learn from the way Josie always seems to be one step ahead. She has always been the one to identify a need or a deficit before anyone else does. Other advisers could also learn how to remain poised in stressful situations. Josie will have three full plates, and still respond to every situation with ‘OK, here's what we're going to do.’

The craziest thing is that Josie remains poised all while performing three roles at EBS (senior partner, general counsel, and team lead adviser), sitting on two of [Massachusetts] Governor Baker's commissions and several boards, and raising two children at home.” —Marah Funder, colleague.
Julie Yusko
Retirement Adviser of the Year: Julie Yusko, senior consultant, Portfolio Evaluations
“Julie strives to understand what drives her clients, whether it be to improve on the visibility and recognition of the plan to increase participant appreciation and engagement or to ensure a strong governance foundation is in place to protect the plan fiduciaries. Additionally, as a successful minority female, Julie is not only a role model for others at the company, but other women in the financial industry. Her commitment to continuing education and furthering her career is a guide for others to follow.” —Rebecca Hughes, colleague.
Cameron Black AOY 2020
Wellness Adviser of the Year: Cameron Black, wellness director, Ollis/Akers/Arney
“Wellness is tough and not always financially rewarding. Creating great programming is not enough. You have to touch people emotionally. Story telling infused with data is the key to engaging with individuals and the compelling reason they make positive changes in their habits. Cameron is a masterful story-teller. His ability to connect with people and inspire them to visualize the possibilities in their lives is exceptional. Other advisers partner with Cameron when visiting clients and future clients, in order to be pulled into the authentic relationships that Cameron has with all of them.” —Tammy Johnson, colleague.
Chelsey Koster AOY 2020
Tech Adviser of the Year: Chelsey Koster, employee benefits specialist, Advantage Benefits Group
“Chelsey is the youngest female consultant within our firm. She has grown her entire book of business organically and has a client retention ratio of over 95%. Chelsey is very passionate about employee education. One of our clients said of Chelsey: ‘Insurance can be especially confusing or overwhelming for many people, especially those that don't work in it regularly. Chelsey does a great job of presenting clearly, and with her enthusiasm, upbeat tone and energy, she is very engaging to listen to.’ Chelsey is passionate about the business and helping every employee fully understand and value the benefits their employers offer. No one loves insurance but she has a way of making it more tolerable, and dare I say fun.” —Kurt Swardenski, colleague.
Dana Simms AOY 2020
Voluntary Adviser of the Year: Dana Simms, voluntary benefits consultant, Gallagher
“Dana was unanimously nominated by the entire branch of the Gallagher office, which reflects the sizable impact she has made in Whippany in a short amount of time. Since coming aboard in early 2019, Dana has had tremendous success in introducing a broad range of clients to the value of voluntary benefits, expanding the value Gallagher provides clients and driving growth for the branch this year. If other advisers are to learn anything from Dana, it should be how important it is to establish trust in working relationships, with both clients and colleagues. Dana's skill for creating robust relationships affords her the opportunity to share her expertise with a wide audience. Dana also exemplifies the value in being a true practice area expert. When you are as well-versed as she, you are an instrumental resource for clients and prospective clients.” —Chip Graber, Manager.
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