Article originally published in Hartford Business Journal‘s Best Places to Work in CT edition.
Connecticut Wealth Management’s (CTWM) unofficial tagline, “Experience Genuine,” is easy to do but difficult to explain, according to the financial services company’s president and CEO Kevin C. Leahy.
He founded the firm in 2010 with partner Denis Horrigan, but doesn’t want the company or the people behind it to be carbon copies of its original leaders.
The concept revolves around how the firm treats both clients and employees with a focus on always doing the right thing, Leahy said.
Some of what they do brings in revenue while other things, like recommending a builder or helping to shovel walkways, obviously do not.
“We genuinely want to help people, whether or not it deals with financial matters,” Leahy said. “It feels really good to help regardless of how you do it.”
Leahy founded the company with Denis Horrigan in 2010. One of the things that impresses him most, Leahy said, is how a diverse workforce — the company employs people in their 20s to their 70s — shares the same goals.
“As a group, we have an insatiable appetite to improve our team and clients’ experiences,” Leahy said. “It creates a virtuous circle. If we take care of our team, they take care of their clients. Both are equally important.”
Having a low client-to-advisor ratio allows for stronger connections, he said, as well as a more collaborative, personalized experience.
This approach is what attracted Chief Client Officer Emily Wood to the firm five years ago.
“Connecticut Wealth Management is committed to true financial planning. Everything we do is in the best interest of clients,” Wood said. She said she finds it “atypical” for the focus to be on the actual advising rather than increasing sales and acquiring new clients.
She also said it’s refreshing how well team members collaborate — as mentors and leaders, helping each other improve necessary skills. It’s one thing she appreciated as a newcomer and woman in a male-dominated industry.
Wood noted that anyone who interacts with CTWM, be it a vendor or client, is made to feel “like the most important person in our world.”
Employees also feel appreciated in other ways. Monday breakfast gatherings mark work and personal milestones and feature positive stories to kick off the week. Teammates use quackers when “Rubber Ducky” awards are bestowed on individuals who embody the company’s mission.
Leahy describes the office environment as “where the magic happens.”
In addition to collaborative workspaces, a recently renovated office environment gave rise to a golf simulator, café with healthy snacks and drinks, and a gym. The company also offers wellness programs and yoga.
Wood said she takes advantage of the “Headspace app” to “clear her brain” and help with self-care.
Leahy noted the new office amenities and opportunity to be together made returning to in-person work attractive, although CTWM still operates in a hybrid model.
Named HBJ’s Best Places to Work from 2018 to 2023, CTWM pays 70% of medical, dental and vision insurance for employees and dependents, fully funds short- and long-term disability coverage and offers options like insurance for pets, critical illness, accidents and hospital indemnity.
Going forward, Leahy said he wants to continually make improvements, large and small, and ensure the company maintains a democratic feel.
“Whether a CEO or recent college grad, you literally have the same desk. There are no executive washrooms,” he said. “We’re all in this together. Everyone has a say and I want everyone to feel like they’re part of what we’re doing here.”