Mike Natalizio, president and CEO of HNI Risk Services

Mike Natalizio

president and CEO

HNI Risk Services

16805 W. Cleveland Ave., New Berlin

Industry: Insurance and employee benefits

Number of Employees: 85

Family: Wife, June; sons, Michael, Dominic and Vince; and daughter, Giovana

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“HNI conducted a deep dive trying to uncover what makes us different in the marketplace and why our clients choose us over our competitors. This valuable exercise sparked a rebranding initiative to better articulate our message in a bold, clear, and different way. The project included an internal launch as well as an external launch at the Marcus Palladium theatre.”

What’s new at your company?

“While HNI University is not new, our renewed commitment to education has lead to deeper and expanded events. This includes live workshops, webinars and on-demand programs focused on issues that are keeping business leaders up at night. Recent topics include health care reform, the power of an effective second command, as well as emerging issues in our industry specialties like CSA 2010. The bottom line goal of HNI University is to drive change through education.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We have already added some key team members to strengthen our capabilities and capacity in the first part of 2010. As clients continue to rebound from the economic punch of 2009, they are utilizing more of our resources to supplement and support their own staff.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“To build collaboration using new social technologies to engage employees and clients. We see real opportunity to leverage this in building employee engagement. Employees across all spectrums still have a tough stretch of highway ahead of them. We need to engage them to help drive the innovation and ultimately enhance the customer experience.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Employers have a growing appetite for insight on how the new health care reform legislation will impact them. We have taken the position that you can either wait for health care reform, or you can do it yourself. An online community has been established to share relevant information and developments in the health care reform journey.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“We have staked our claim that when it comes to business insurance we don’t play the game – we change it. This mantra serves as a rally cry for both our own team as well as our clients to challenge the status quo. Making changes in organizations creates risk. We help clients by directing, motivating, and providing a game plan for change.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I am truly amazed how companies like Apple, Starbucks, and Harley Davidson create cult-like cultures both internally and externally – turning their employees and customers into the ultimate brand champions.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“It’s all about progress, NOT perfection.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“I took Insurance 101 in college. It turned out to be my worst grade ever. I guess I was destined to be in this industry.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I enjoy the opportunity to recharge my battery. Most of my free time is spent with my family taking winter get a ways to Florida or summer golf and water sports in Wisconsin.”

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