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For Kevin C. Leahy, president, CEO and co-founder of Connecticut Wealth Management, the secret to his company’s successful first decade is its employees. Making it a best place to work has paid dividends.

Leahy said he and co-founder Dennis Horigan have been fortunate since the firm’s founding in Oct. 2010. Business has been robust, it has a content customer base, and a strong roster of employees that has grown from seven to 40 today.

“There’s no micromanagement. You live your life and get your work done. We’re in a relationship business. If we’re not enjoying our work and our life, it’s going to be hard to build good relationships,” Trask said.

Connecticut Wealth Management offers generous benefits most companies don’t, including 25 days paid time off after one year of employment.

“It’s not just five weeks vacation but you’re expected to use it. If you don’t use it, it works against you. It starts from the top,” Trask said.

Leahy added that vacation usage is part of an employee’s annual review. Bonuses can be impacted if time isn’t taken off.

“If you work too much, you will get a smaller bonus if you don’t take your vacation. It’s crazy not to make you take your vacation. It changes the person for the better,” Leahy said.

Positive culture

As generous as that is, though, another benefit is the company’s sabbatical program. At the five-year mark, employees get an extra week’s vacation and $5,000 to spend on a vacation. The funds can’t be used to pay down tuition or whittle away at the mortgage. Receipts are required. At the 10-year mark, the sabbatical grows to two weeks extra and $10,000. The sabbatical will grow in time and funds.

“We wanted to provide those who committed to the firm with a sabbatical with their family or whomever,” said Leahy.

Yet it’s smaller gestures that might be more important. Leahy said when the pandemic struck and Congress passed the CARES Act stimulus package, Connecticut Wealth created and delivered individualized care packages for employees, including items like toilet paper, calming tea, comfort food, a stress ball and more.

“It was awesome. People had tears in their eyes,” Leahy recalled.

Trask said Connecticut Wealth Management has managed to balance being an organically- and intentionally-driven culture.

“Leadership has dedicated a lot of resources to make it a fun and engaging culture,” she said.

Leahy piggybacked on that sentiment.

“You can’t say you have a good culture. You can’t buy a good culture,” he said. “You have to show people it’s OK to use the benefits.”

“Our business model and compensation model really allow everyone to work in a team environment, which allows people to thrive,” he added. “We’re not in competition with each other. We’re all rowing in the same direction. That evokes a common philosophy. People take care of each other.”