Meet Some Smart People

Bill Watt Tina Coon Susan Murphy Joanne Woodrow Kasandra Wilson
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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 (CFP) as well, because there are definitely times when his clients need to make personal risk management, benefit and planning decisions. Also, he is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FLMI) and is a registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC).

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.

 

 

Tina CoonTina Coon – Case Leader

Telephone: 604.424.8033

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Tina is a leader, and her role is to provide Case Leadership with every client in our firm. She holds our team to an awfully high standard for how we work with each client, how each case is handled, and making sure we’re responsive and attentive.

With 11 years of benefit and retirement planning experience, Tina is deeply experienced in plan design, plan communication and plan administration. When long-term disability claims are denied, Tina is an expert. When it comes to running a plan, it’s her genius. What that means is that, whether she is designing or reviewing a new benefits plan for a client, or digging into a current case that we manage, she brings a level of understanding that many “benefits consultants” can’t bring – namely, how does this thing work?

Tina has the Certificate in Employee Benefts (CEB) designation, is a Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) and is one of the few female benefit and retirement plan designers in the industry. We count ourselves lucky to have her. She’s active in the community, has an impressive collection of shoes, mentors others in the financial services industry and doesn’t let the fact that she’s taller than most men she meets intimidate her or them.

 

 

 

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.

 

 
 

 

JoanneJoanne Woodrow, CFP, CIM, RPA, CMS – Case Leader

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 has attained the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Retirement Plans Associate (RPA), Canadian Investment Management (CIM) and Compensation Management Specialist (CMS) designations, and has completed the Canadian Securities Course, 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.

 

 

KasandraKasandra Wilson – Client Relationship Leader

Telephone: 604.424.8027

Some people will reluctantly “rise to the challenge,” while other people love the challenge. Kasandra is of the latter group.

As our Client Relationship Leader, she spends much of her time supporting our team, so our team can support our clients. It’s a critical role, and it takes a special kind of person to do it.

There are three things that will quickly stand out to you about Kasandra. The first is that she simplifies things. She has a special ability to see through the clutter to the handful of critical actions that must happen.

The second is that she takes action. Kasandra is in motion and likes to make tasks move. We have a busy office as we support our clients. There’s a lot to be done and you’ll usually find Kasandra in the middle of it.

The third is that she has a sense of humour that allows her to take her work seriously, but not take herself too seriously. It’s a great mix and brings a light touch to things when it gets especially busy.

Kasandra has been working in the industry for years, has some very solid underwriting experience working with large plans in the U.S. and Canada including unions, municipalities and large companies. But she’s not all work; Kasandra has a young son that keeps her busy, she enjoys time in the park, and likes to escape with a good novel from time to time.

Kasandra has been a great addition to our team.