Issue: April 2008 Issue
Joseph LaGuardia, 30
Vice president, Althans Insurance Agency Inc.
“I guess there’s nothing to substitute for hard work. The workday isn’t from 8 to 5. It requires persistence.”Joseph LaGuardia, 30
Are you ready for fatherhood?
I am. I really am. We are so excited.
As a child, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a professional bass fisherman. It’s something I still enjoy today and I look to as an avenue when entertaining. If someone has never [fished], I try to see if that’s something they might like to do. I do golf, but fishing is one of those areas where people tend to say, “I haven’t done that in a long time.”
Your biggest catch?
On our honeymoon in Mexico, we caught a few barracuda and a sailfish that was about 5 1/2 feet long.
Who has been your biggest teacher?
I have to say my father. He taught me how interesting business is, and he taught me about the values of life and family. We are very close. We probably talk no less than two to three times a day.
How would you describe yourself?
Easygoing by nature, but I’ve also got a great work ethic. I’m very entrepreneurial.
Name one person who has inspired you.
My grandma. All of us kids have great “grandma-isms.” There was one that she would always ask: “Have you done good business today?” I think she was always encouraging us as kids to do better.
Over the phone or face to face?
I like the opportunity to sit face to face with individuals. People are great. We are so lucky to be able to meet great people through life. That’s what I really get to enjoy.
What is a typical day like?
Normally it starts with a breakfast meeting, and then I try to back another one behind that as well. I try to meet or talk with as many folks as I can in a day. Two to three evenings out of the week there’s some type of networking event. I try to find the ones that are most beneficial.
What is your biggest challenge?
Time. I feel like I’ve got so many ideas and there is just so much time in the day.
As vice president of Althans Insurance Agency Inc., Joseph LaGuardia deals with “everything in and around risk insurance and health care.” He helps organizations with benefits as well as managing cost and establishing wellness initiatives. Hired at Marsh Inc. after graduating from Kent State University in 2001 with a management and marketing degree, LaGuardia credits his first career endeavor with catapulting him into the insurance business and helping him understand the value of the risk that organizations undertake every day.Reading room:For more than three years, LaGuardia has served on the board of Cleveland Reads — a nonprofit that works to promote literacy in the community. Partnered with the group by chance through Business Volunteers Unlimited, LaGuardia couldn’t imagine a better philanthropic fit. “I am really excited for our growth and development for the future,” LaGuardia says. “They’ve been a great group for me. I am not sure what attracted me, but it has been very rewarding for me to be a board member.”All in the family:The Hudson native grew up “learning about business around the kitchen table.” Both sets of grandparents ran their own businesses. And LaGuardia says his father, Joseph LaGuardia Sr., a former executive with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, inspirated him to head into the business world. “He showed me how satisfying a business career could be,” LaGuardia says. And he is ready to pass along the same principles to his firstborn — a son he and his wife, Amy, are expecting this month.
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