I love Santa Barbara. It’s one of the places in the world that I've wished I could live. The weather is perfect, the people are wonderful and the sunsets are breathtaking, but the real reason I love visiting there is Jeff Yoos.

We met under some unlikely circumstances; he attended a talk I was giving at UCSB to a room full of actuaries. Instead of that scaring him off (as it would most people), he stayed afterwards and we had a great conversation, and that quickly led to forming a business partnership.

For a few years, together we brought a new conversation about wellness to employers in Santa Barbara. I visited once a quarter to meet some awesome people that attended the events Jeff arranged, and we did some very rewarding work together. However, the highlight of each visit was catching up with Jeff, meeting his awesome family and realizing that I’m not too old to find people with whom I can forge a friendship that feels like we’ve known each other since we were kids.

Jeff has since moved on to Alliant where he has broken all records for new business growth for that office. If you know Jeff or are lucky enough to be one of his clients, that won’t surprise you.

Jeff, you are someone I truly admire. There is little you don’t know about employee benefits and wellness, yet you deal with everyone you meet with kindness and humility. We’ve walked into some meetings where the people in the room were clearly dealing with some pretty heavy stuff, and each time we left, they were clearly feeling lighter and more calm. That’s an amazing gift you have, the ability to change the way people feel. I often quote Maya Angelou’s line, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Those words apply so well to how you operate in the world and to each interaction I’ve had with you.

I know our business partnership will not be our last time working together, and I look forward to remaining friends and supporting each other in our careers for years to come.

In friendship and with deep respect for you.