Nate Lamusga is Director of Member Engagement for Catholic United Financial.
Nate Lamusga was a classical guitar major. â€œI wanted to make music for a living. I never expected to be sitting in a directorâ€™s seat in an insurance company. Nonetheless, here I am â€” and I love it,â€ he said. He is Director of Member Engagement for Catholic United Financial, a member-owned organization that provides life insurance and retirement products throughout Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
â€œWeâ€™re sort of a financial cooperative,â€ Lamusga said. â€œPeople become members by buying life insurance and annuities. They have a say in how we do business. We have programs that we offer to members and parishes, and our members then take advantage of those to amplify their giving.â€ For example, Lamusga said, at the Gather for Good event, volunteers put together personal care kits for homeless shelters. â€œThereâ€™s live music and excitement, and itâ€™s also an opportunity to raise awareness about a serious issue. We fund the entire event including supplies for the care kits. Bringing someone in for an event would be one way to engage people.â€
Involving the next generation is â€œa focus not just for our organization but our industry.â€ One major change has been moving away from a council system, â€œa hierarchical model, with a vice president, a recording secretary, a treasurer. That doesnâ€™t resonate with the millennial mind-set. Weâ€™ve moved to a parish volunteer team. Itâ€™s much more inclusive. The team has a basic structure, but itâ€™s based on skill set.â€
Although anyone who owns their products is technically a member of Catholic United Financial, Lamusga said, the level of involvement ranges widely. â€œWeâ€™ve got people out there who are fiercely loyal, they have been volunteers for 30-plus years, they define themselves as a Catholic United member. We also have people for whom this is on the periphery â€” I needed life insurance, but Iâ€™m not necessarily drawn to be involved. The way I view my job is to move Catholic United up that priority.â€
Whatâ€™s the best part of your job?
The stories, when I find out the good that has come from something we have offered. Each year 80 schools in our footprint get involved in a raffle. Catholics United covers the cost of tickets and prizes, then the schools get the kids going. The school keeps $5 for every $5 raffle ticket sold. All proceeds go back to the school. One school raised enough to add a preschool onto their slate of programs.
Whatâ€™s the biggest challenge?
The part that I struggle with is the entitlement piece â€” people who arenâ€™t willing to get engaged, they just want a grant. I want people to do something great. Thereâ€™s so much we can do. Luckily thatâ€™s a small piece.
What does it take to be good at your job?
Thatâ€™s an â€œitâ€ factor thatâ€™s tough to define. You have to enjoy speaking in large groups, working with people, but also sitting behind your desk planning, organizing, strategizing, looking at data. Thereâ€™s a breadth to it.
Where do you go from here?
I could see this evolving over time. I just donâ€™t know where. Iâ€™m quite happy at Catholic United. My co-workers are fantastic. I have a wife and four kids â€” three daughters and one on the way. I work to support them. The career makes that life possible. Wherever God takes this for me â€” Iâ€™m just along for the ride.
Photo Credit: Tom Witta