40 Under 40 Class of 2009

Erik Skar

Erik Skar

Age 38: Financial Services Professional, MassMutual Financial Group

Erik Skar has a motto. “There is no try; there’s only do,” he said.

The 38-year-old — who holds degrees in Psychology and Religion and is father to 3-year-old Julia, who speaks four languages, and 6-month-old Sofia — loves life and describes his own as a dream.

“I’ve been blessed beyond my understanding. If it was any better, you’d have to wake me up,” he said.

It’s a reality-based dream, however. Skar is a Pioneer Valley Montessori board member, belongs to the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce and the Wilbraham Rotary, is past president of Quaboag Business Networking International, serves as a Big Brother, and volunteers for Best Buddies of Western Mass. He rediscovered golf last summer and is on five tournament committees.

Skar has traveled the world, lived in Europe, and beat out 6,000 other candidates to appear on Survivor in Norway, which was filmed in Malaysia. “I’ve seen so much and cannot give back enough,” said the Young Professionals Society of Greater Springfield board member, who was on the Junior Olympic Soccer Team in Norway at age 16.

He is overwhelmed by the opportunity to transform lives in Greater Springfield, in efforts ranging from mentoring to volunteering. Everything he is involved in has personal meaning, and even his job isn’t work to him, he says, because selling disability and life-insurance policies changes lives when tragedy happens.

“It’s fun when you finally find what you are born to do,” he said.

For Skar, that means “cramming” as much as into every day as possible.

“There is incredible affluence surrounded by incredible poverty here, and therein lies the opportunity to make a difference,” he said. “Springfield has a screaming need for people who want to make a difference, and it doesn’t take much.”

He finds YPS inspirational and loves being surrounded by members. “They are doing incredible things that are almost beyond the scope of understanding,” Skar said.

That’s what happens when your motto and dream are action-packed.

—Kathy Mitchell