Meet Some Smart People


Bill Watt Kevina Hyde Lawrence Hoar Joanne Woodrow Susan Murphy Galina Pissareva
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Smart shows up lots of ways in the world. Some people are smart because their IQ is off the charts, other people are smart because they really know how to handle things or how things work on the street, or on Wall Street.

Other people are smart in the way they dress, and still others in the way they have clever or insightful ways they view things.

No matter what way a person is smart, what’s important is that you have people with the right kind of smarts on your side.

We’ve been fortunate with our team. In the short bios that follow, you’ll get a flavour of the smarts of our team. But more importantly, we think you’ll get an idea of the kinds of people we are. Our work isn’t about building spreadsheets to compare pricing (although that’s necessary sometimes). Our work is about bringing a few decades of solving complex problems through intelligent plan design to bear on your questions, your organizations and your plan members. That’s where we’re smart.

Bill WattBill Watt – Principal

Telephone: 604.424.8032

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While most people spend their time trying to find solutions, Bill spends his trying to find problems – because he’s exceptional at designing ways to handle them. (If you asked Bill, he wouldn’t say he’s exceptional – he’d say he just cares).

There are boundaries in the world, some of them real, others are more flexible than we think. Part of Bill’s “smarts” is that he has an ability to find where the boundaries really are, not just where we’ve thought them to be. He doesn’t do it in a pushy or irresponsible way; he’s simply familiar with understanding the limits of things and knowing when not to push those limits any farther.

Whether it’s skiing, motorcycles or designing employee benefits, Bill tends to find the apex of things. He didn’t just learn to ski, he was a professional ski patroller in his younger days. He doesn’t just enjoy the occasional ride on his motorcycle, he’s completed the Iron Butt Rally (it’s 11,000 miles in 11 days) twice and now supports the organization of this international event. And with employee benefits, Bill is known as one of the experts you bring to the table when it’s complex.

Bill lives a simple belief that we have a responsibility to support and be active in our community, country, and world. That’s while you’ll find him supporting the Shooting Stars Foundation for people living with HIV, actively involved with Equitas – the national organization advocating for better care for our veterans, and taking trips to Cambodia to build homes (there’s a good chance if you get to know Bill you’ll be invited to buy or build a house alongside Bill).

Bill is also a recipient of the BC Ambulance Association’s Humanitarian Award in recognition of his active involvement with a medical crisis in his own neighbourhood. The core of the matter is that when we have the capacity to help, in whatever way, we should. And he does.

He has been the Chair of the Board of the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, the President of The Estate Planning Council of Vancouver, and is a cat lover (which is confusing when you consider the level of his support for the Avalanche Dog Program in Whistler).

Bill’s also serious about his professional accreditations. In addition to being a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and a Chartered Financial Consultant (CHFC), Bill has taken the time to become a Certified Financial Planner® practitioner (CFP) as well, because there are definitely times when his clients need to make personal risk management, benefit and planning decisions.

Bill doesn’t do this work as “work,” he does it as a calling. It has been a successful one and continues to grow on the strength of the deep commitment the firm has to it’s clients, and Bill’s deep commitment to leading that effort.


Kevina Hyde, Associate - Aptus BenefitsKevina Hyde – Associate

Telephone: 604.424.8033

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In a polarizing world, it’s good to find a little balance occasionally; and perhaps that’s why it’s so refreshing to meet Kevina Hyde. She brings balance.

She was born on the east coast, but lives and works on the west. She grew up small town, but thrives in the big city. She is constantly striving for greatness, and remains grounded in her day-to-day. She lives an adventure, and has a stable, solid family. Kevina brings balance…and she brings it to her work.

Kevina knows that impact matters, and while you can influence it from a distance, the closer you are to the matter at hand, the more impact you can make. To this end the move from a leadership role at Great-West Life to a consultant role at Aptus made good sense.

Kevina has spent her entire career in the employee benefits arena, and has had a host of roles including being a Benefits Specialist, Associate Manager of Employee Benefits, Regional Manager of Retirement and Investment Services, and Regional Employee Benefits Manager. As part of Kevina’s quest to learn, she completed her RHU, CFP and CEBS designations.

The value of employee benefits isn’t a distant, professional concept; it’s a real one, one that touches lives. Employee benefits aren’t abstract; they are concrete and important. Some employees (indeed even some employers) may wrongly believe that an employee benefits program is simply mechanism to get a massage every other month but to others it might mean their children can avail themselves of needed orthodondic care. To others yet it could mean being able to avail themselves of critical, life saving drugs. When life throws you a serious curveball, employee benefits can help with (really) long term disability – something that Kevina has come to appreciate in a real way with people close to her.

It only takes a few minutes with Kevina to recognize that she approaches life as a whole, not as small compartments. By looking at the whole, she’s better positioned to harness the strengths of an organization and develop an employee benefits plan that serves everyone’s needs. Don’t just look at the weaknesses, find the best and amplify it. She’ll do the same for you and your business.

Lawrence Hoar – Associate

Telephone: 604.424.8026

Who doesn’t want the best of all worlds? We do. And we guess you probably do too. That’s why we like having Lawrence on our team; we feel like we get the best of all worlds. What are we talking about? Read on.

Lawrence is that interesting mix of opposites. He grew up in a small town in Ontario, but lives in the city here in Vancouver. He’s kayaked in the Amazon, slept in hammocks and fished for Piranha, but enjoys simple days with his wife and young son at home. He’s youthful, but not young, and has a stack of diverse experience backing him up. He likes digging into contracts and paperwork, but is a physical guy who has worked as a personal trainer and knows that health really does matter. He has built his own successful business, but also knows the power of being part of a team – our team and yours.

Lawrence skis and golfs, cycles, plays hockey, volunteers and likes to fish to relax. But he also knows how to push. He has paved his own career, has earned the LLQP, has been awarded a Chamber of Commerce Group Insurance Plan Territory because of his work, and has been recognized as a top performer in this area. He participates in Advocis (Canada’s professional association of financial advisors) and the Vancouver Board of Trade as an Official Ambassador, and continues to take on more.

He’s smart. He’s patient. And he likes to listen and understand before spouting off with an opinion. He naturally brings his ‘even keel’ approach to the turbulence that can sometimes show up in the benefits world. Lawrence really does bring the best of all worlds. We get to see it every day, and you’ll see it as you work with him.



JoanneJoanne Woodrow – Consultant

Telephone: 604.424.8034

If you ask Joanne what her job is, she won’t miss a beat. She’ll tell you, “I’m here to help.”

Joanne started in the employee benefits world fifteen years ago and has built a real expertise in designing and supporting Group Retirement Plans. Energetic by nature [you need only have a quick conversation to be convinced of that], she has spent her entire career in the benefits arena.

Is she serious about the work? Let’s put it this way: she is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS), a Certified Financial Planner® practitioner (CFP), a Certified Health Insurance Specialist (CHS), has earned the Canadian Investment Management (CIM) designation, and completed the Canadian Securities Course, the Conduct and Practices Handbook Course, Investment Management Techniques Course and the Portfolio Management Techniques Course. Joanne knows what she’s talking about.

Joanne isn’t all work, though. She enjoys the gym, hanging with her family (including super kittens Max & Milo), and is a pretty ferocious knitter. Joanne keeps a great balance, while she tips the scales in the best interest of our clients.

She’s here to fix problems. She’s here to help plan sponsors avoid problems. She’s here because she has a real desire to make sure everything comes together for you. We’re glad Joanne is on the team, and know that you will be too.


Susan MurphySusan Murphy – Operations Leader

Telephone: 604.424.8035

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Susan is in motion. Whether she’s riding her motorcycle (looking fierce) or driving our operation, she’s one of those people with a lot of positive energy. That’s one of the many reasons we’re thrilled she’s our Operations Leader.

With a really diverse background, she brings a range of perspective that’s both useful, and refreshing. Susan was the Founding President and helped create the International Performing Arts for Youth organization, has worked with arts organizations across the country and was on the board of the National Association of Performing Arts Managers and Agents in New York City for three years. She’s had several sales roles, in different businesses and has an easy ability to move things from concept to completion.

Like most of us, she’s enjoyed some great successes, and some tough times in her life. Her balanced perspective takes it all in stride and, ultimately, she can’t help but see things as an optimist. That’s why you can expect empathy, clarity and action from Susan.

Cat lover; passionate world traveler; and operations aficionado, Susan gets things done with enthusiasm.