Havens & Company: Leveraging certification to expand
By Jessie Wagoner
What happens when you take a successful business, match it with an experienced consultant and apply some out of the box ideas? For Havens & Company, Inc., the answer is a winning combination for growth and success.
Havens & Company, founded in 2007 by President Laura Hall, is an employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm that specializes in non-medical employee benefits such as life, AD&D, disability, dental, vision, voluntary, and executive benefits.
Hall always knew she wanted to pursue HR as a career. She earned a Bachelor’s degrees in human resources and entrepreneurial studies before going on to earn her law degree and ultimately a Master of Laws from Georgetown. When it came time to launch her own firm, Hall tapped Diane Green as Chief Operating Officer, bringing with her an extensive background in finance and operations and experience with both start-ups and larger corporations.
Havens & Company is certified as a women’s business enterprise (WBE) by both the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC). The company is also only one of a few national benefits brokerage/consulting firms with diversity certification, uniquely positioned to align with corporate clients in fulfilling their strategic supplier diversity goals.
Hall and Green share the same business philosophy when it comes to hiring: hire the best people and give them the tools and freedom to do their job. With that as a baseline, Havens & Company is stacked with industry experts possessing years of experience.
“Only hiring employees with this type of expertise sets us apart from our competitors and allows us, as a small WBE firm, to successfully compete with the large consulting houses,” Green said.
With business flourishing, the time was right to expand, but Hall and Green wanted to approach growth from a different perspective. Because Havens & Company prefers to connect potential clients and the experts they will be working with early on in the engagement process, the team did not want to increase its sales force. In search of an out of the box solution for expansion, they began looking for consultants with fresh ideas for the firm.
When Green saw Irwin Drucker’s announcement launching Diversitas, she reached out right away – within minutes of Drucker posting the news on LinkedIn. Havens & Company twice participated in the invitation-only IBM Mentor Protégée Program, run by Drucker, so she and Hall were already familiar with his expertise and eager to leverage it for Havens & Company.
“When we saw on LinkedIn that Irwin had left IBM and started his own consulting practice helping diverse firms, we knew we didn’t have to look any further,” Green said. “Irwin’s history of working for a large corporation was very attractive to us. He educated us on the inner workings of larger corporations’ HR, Procurement and Supplier Diversity departments, which helped us position ourselves better to compete for business.”
Drucker immediately saw the value Havens & Company would bring to his corporate contacts. Not only does the company offer best-in-class employee benefits services, but they are also one of just a few firms with diverse certification.
“I remembered Diane from the IBM mentorship program, and remembered being impressed with what Havens & Company was doing,” he says. “I knew I could connect them with people who would be thrilled to have the option of not just a best-in-class brokerage firm but one with the value add of being a WBE.”
With guidance and introductions from Drucker, Havens & Company is now anticipating year over year growth without sacrificing the personal, bespoke expertise they are known for.
In addition, Hall and Green credit the Fortune 500 corporations committed to supplier diversity for their rosy outlook.
“Gaining their trust in us as a vendor is crucial,” Green says. “Fortune 500 support and attendance at all of the national diversity conferences, and at their own supplier diversity events, makes this possible. We want to acknowledge this growing effort and express our gratitude as a WBE.” n