Financial Advisor and Managing Associate Sales Manager, MassMutual Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services, age 33
Like many 40 Under Forty honorees, Geoff Croteau found success in a far different field than he studied in college — in his case, graphic design. “I couldn’t find a career in that field to save my life,” he said with a laugh.
So, about a decade ago, he switched gears and became a real-estate agent in Florida, eventually moving up to partner of the firm and recruiting and managing more than 80 agents. But in 2008, he moved back to his hometown of Chicopee and took a job soon after with Charter Oak.
Today, as a managing associate sales manager, he serves as a role model and mentor to new financial-services professionals — in effect, recruiting, training, and developing new agents while running a successful financial-services business of his own.
It makes for a diverse career with plenty of personal interaction. “I would consider myself a people person; all I do all day is talk to people and help people plan for their future. It’s rewarding. I help parents plan for their kids’ education, I help people plan to be able to retire, and I help protect families with life insurance.”
Croteau brings the same passion to his community involvement, notably as president of the Beavers Club, a nonprofit French businessmen’s organization that donates time, money, and resources to projects throughout Western Mass; recent beneficiaries include Sunshine Village, Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen, Holyoke Children’s Museum, the Volleyball Hall of Fame, Kane’s Krusade, Providence Ministries, and Relay for Life. “We have a lot of fun doing what we call work projects,” he said.
In addition, he’s vice president of the Holyoke Community College Alumni Assoc., raising scholarship money and helping students gain work experience through internships, and he also gives time and energy to the Marine Corps League, a service organization that helps disabled veterans and widows, raises scholarship money for veterans’ children, spends time with veterans at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, and helps Toys for Tots collect gifts for the less fortunate at Christmas. “I’m very proud of being a Marine, and I’m passionate about that,” he said.
That’s an impressive palette of work for someone who decided graphic arts wasn’t in the grand design.
— Joseph Bednar